The Importance of Saving at a Young Age
Guest Post by John Napuunoa
As I have already mentioned in a previous post, the practical nature of investing as a 25 year old does not seem practical at first glance. So many young people have died early without experiencing what saving for the future can provide. To this extent it is impractical to think that what you save for now will result in financial guarantees.
If anything, we should learn from some of the Founders of the Faith in the Bible on how to look toward the future. In Proverbs 27:1 the Bible says, "Boast not thyself of tomorrow, for thou knowest not what a day may bring forth", which emphasizes the practical nature of human life. Solomon had no doubt seen his fair share of young people die an early death, perhaps in battle, sickness or tragedy.
Perhaps the most important word in that verse is the first word listed, "Boast". According to Dictionary.com, the word boast means “to speak with exaggeration and excessive pride, especially about oneself.” I know the difficulty of handling pride can be challenging as a young person. It is easy to make statements about oneself in order to get a reaction or attention. Yet, this is what Solomon was hoping to stop from happening in his own children.
The same boasting happens in our financial lives. We tend to buy fancy electronics or gadgets in order to seek out attention from peers and anyone who will pay attention. Such boasting often results in much dissatisfaction after the finances are gone and the friends you thought you had were never there to begin with. In order to stave off the pride and dissatisfaction it takes hard work and effort to be devoted to a cause.
I realize there are many pressures that come along with saving money. A few of the challenges are a result of health concerns, college debt, credit cards, mortgage payments, medical bills, daycare costs, school bills and a host of other financial difficulties. For each circumstance there is a way to seek wisdom from the Lord. As a young person there are usually fewer responsibilities, and this is why saving at a young age is important for future success.
Now, this is where our financial stewardship must come into play. As an employee I have the opportunity to invest in a 401k plan. My company has allowed me to invest up to 50% of my income on a pre-tax basis. This opportunity is huge, as it allows me to set aside money that I could do without for the time being. Plus, my company matches up to certain amount of every dollar that I put into the plan.
For many Christian organizations, such as churches and schools, this is not an option. I realize this fact, but there are alternatives to investing. One plan is the 403(b), which allows non-profits the opportunities to fund a plan before-tax.
Missionary organizations often require a certain percentage of support to be saved for their missionaries to retire. Whether or not you agree with this is not the point. What it does mean is that our missionaries have the ability to worry less about their future when they reach their later years. The same belief could and probably should be felt by Christians around the world.
I say all of this to inform young people that saving for the future is important. One day you may have to make tough decisions regarding your parents’ health, how you are going to fund your first house, how you are going to make payments on a car or pay off college debt. Many financial advisors will try to steer you into financial vehicles that will weigh you down financially. Be wise in how you handle financial advice. Though you may not live to be in your 100’s, why not save as if you will?