Stick with me on this illustration, and I'll tie it all back together. Let's assume that you have a pig that represents your savings or maybe even your retirement. At first, this pig starts out as a tiny pig, but you have a limited amount of time to work and get your pig fattened up and in shape - to show condition for the pay out. If you were actually showing a pig, they say that the prime condition to show a pig is between 6 and 7 months (see Selecting Your Show Pig for an interesting read regarding the selection of show pigs). You think that 6 or 7 months is a ways off. Maybe a thought crosses that you'll take a day off from taking care of your pig in order for you to go out and have fun. Well, one day isn't going to hurt you terribly, but one day sometimes turns into 2 or 3, and before you know it, weeks have gone by, and the 6 month mark is swiftly approaching. Your goal of having your pig hit its maximum weight is in jeopardy because you've been starving the pig in certain areas. What are you to do?
Well, I think this illustration relates to how many individuals approach saving for the future. We have a small pig, i.e. a small pot of resources available for savings. We look to the future and think, Man, I have plenty of time to save for retirement. Better yet, we think, well I need this now, so I'll forgo feeding my pig in order for me to have what I want now. What a slippery slope we tread when we start thinking along those lines! Before you know it, you might be caught up in the debt snowball effect where you start wondering if you are ever going to get out of your situation. Sometimes, we get caught up in the materialism or I want to satisfy my needs now, that we lose sight of the end goal. Some goals of individuals reading this post might be: live debt free, save for retirement, save enough money to go on a mission trip, save for a new car, save for college, or save for emergencies. Whatever your goal might be, we want you to know that it is possible to accomplish it, but you have to take the responsibility. You have to take the first step, and we're here to provide you with some resources to help you along your journey. Please continue reading...
Ok, so what's your point? Allow me to give some background.
We have been in a recession, and there has been a lot of debate about whether or not we are beginning to recover. I'll reserve my opinions for another time and another place, but I felt compelled to write this blog about feeding our pigs. There are many factors that led to a recession, but one of the factors was that many Americans were living outside of their means - meaning, people were spending or obligating themselves to more than what they could afford. I guess they were starving the pig.
When I graduated high school many years ago, my third grade teacher gave me a piggy bank with the slogan "Banking on a successful future." I still enjoy and use this gift today. Whenever I receive change from a transaction, I feed my pig...get it, piggy bank. While I literally put my coins in my piggy bank, we can also do the same with our left over money in a savings or investment account, AND that's the purpose of my posting. If you may be asking, "What can I do? How can I get off to the right start?" then I have the perfect answer for you: http://www.feedthepig.org/. This awesome program is sponsored by the AICPA (American Institute of CPAs) and The Advertising Council. The goal of the campaign is to encourage and help Americans aged 25 to 34 to take control of their personal finances.
Here's a list of some of the many things that you can do when you visit http://www.feedthepig.org/:
- Pick a personality similar to yours in Me Save? Then choose a set of spending habits you want to change or break and find out how much you can save over a month, a year or even 35 years!
- Sync your Feed the Pig profile with Facebook or your iGoogle Homepage to track what you can save over time.
- Find out how much you can save no matter what course your life takes in the 5% Challenge.
- Take a quiz to see how well you understand the psychology behind our saving and spending habits.
- Get savings tips, which you can rate and comment on.
- Talk to others about how they “Feed the Pig.”
- Watch and listen to Feed the Pig TV and radio ads.
- Learn a ton more about saving through our Resources section and our companion site, 360financialliteracy.org, which has advice for people at all stages of life.
I sincerely hope that you take advantage of http://www.feedthepig.org/. As always, please feel free to post questions or comments, and I'll try to respond as soon as possible.