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Live for today or save for tomorrow?

I recently saw this quote and it really spoke to me:

The Dalai Lama, when asked what surprised him most about humanity, answered “Man.  Because he sacrifices his health in order to make money.  Then he sacrifices money to recuperate his health.  And then he is so anxious about the future that he does not enjoy the present; the result being that he does not live in the present or the future; he lives as if he is never going to die, and then dies having never really lived.”

Living in the present is a very hot topic these days among many people seeking a better life balance.  We strive for success and the dream of a better life.  Some sacrifices are well worth it, but how do we know when it’s too much?  At what cost?  Money is often seen as the necessary evil. 

It’s true that money creates confliction as we struggle between living for today, or saving for tomorrow.  If I have $10,000 should I pay down my mortgage, put money in my TFSA or take my family to Disney?

Everyone’s situation is different but sometimes it’s good to do a little bit of everything – even if it’s to a smaller extent, and even if it takes a few years to attain it by adding a regular plan to it.  Blending your approach can help you attain better balance and make the best use of what you have available to you.

There is wisdom in the old saying, “Nothing in excess, everything in moderation”

Why not put $3,500 in your TFSA, put $3,500 on your mortgage and start with a $3,000 savings for your Disney trip and a plan to save an additional $250/month over the next 12 months towards the Disney trip, and start planning your vacation for next year for example?

The numbers for every family would be different, and their goals and dreams unique to them, but why not create a strategy to balance out your approach?

Enjoying those precious family moments now are important.  So is tucking away a bit of a nest egg to draw on in the future.  Both play important roles for families and the numbers vary by amount and proportion.

While some view vacation as frivolous, it is really very important to your health and well being.  While others view saving as boring, it is really very important to your sense of security for the future.

Sometimes we decide to work a little harder to attain more money and flexibility in our choices, and at other times we forego the additional money and decide to work a little less in order to enjoy something particular in our lives and rejuvenate.

There is much to be said for attaining the ever elusive ideal of ‘life balance’.  And there are times in our lives where a quote like this makes us stop and think about what we’re doing.  These are the moments that help us reflect on our lives and make sure we don’t forget to look at the big picture.


Link to column as it appeared in Elgin This Month June 2014 edition (page 21)


Stephanie Farrow, B.A., CFP.,  Stephanie has over 20 years experience in the financial services industry, a diploma in Financial Planning from the Canadian Institute of Financial Planning, and Certified Financial Planner designation.  Stephanie has been writing a financial planning column for the local business magazine Elgin This Month since 2010 and hosts our Farrow Financial Blog and Twitter @farrowfinancial.  Stephanie and her husband Ken Farrow own Farrow Financial Services Inc., are busy raising three young children and actively involved in the community. Our Farrow FInancial Services Team.