I recently posted a Guest Blog Entry to the Get Rich Slowly Blog titled Why Are There No Ads Urging Us to Save?
Juicy Excerpt: You won’t buy your kid a crummy hot dog? What kind of creep are you? You won’t buy your girlfriend a big diamond? You won’t spend four weeks searching for Christmas presents for everyone who you held more than two conversations with over the course of the year? You’re selfish! That’s what it is with you!
Some commercials make you feel guilty for not spending, but there are different tapes playing through my head. The ads I imagine acknowledge that saving can indeed be done for selfish reasons. If the point of the project is to retire at age 45 and to then spend your remaining days watching sitcoms, the only effective response I can see to the “You’re Being Selfish!” commercial is saying “Yes, that’s true — and it’s nobody else’s business!”
That wouldn’t work emotionally for me, so I’ve been careful to craft saving goals that aren’t entirely selfish. Being able to spend more time with your family is only a partly selfish desire. Being able to do meaningful work is only a partly selfish desire. By devoting attention to the “You’re Being Selfish!” argument when I crafted my goals, I created a saving plan that can easily be defended from attack from emotional arguments for spending rooted in the “You’re Being Selfish!” claim.