Saving Money is a Privilege

This month marked a great milestone for me. Nine months after starting on the moonstruck journey that is financial independence, my investment passive income now brings in over £365 per year – that’s £1 a day! A small amount, but one that I am incredibly happy to have reached nonetheless. To achieve such a milestone is an amazing feat, but it got me thinking about how fortunate I am to even have the opportunity to do this.

You see saving money is a privilege. One that many people on this planet cannot afford. If you have the ability to save any extra money – even if you have had to cut back spending to do it – you are in a far better position than those that cannot. The world Bank reports that one in ten people in the world live on or below this amount of £1 per day, and I have the luxury of saying that I can earn this passively!

I know many people do not like the word ‘privilege’, least of all being told that’s what they are. It is a word may be perceived as a disregard on the value of the hard work that was done to get to their position. So let me be very clear; I am not saying people who save money do not have financial issues or face difficult decisions. Nor am I doubting the hard work that probably went in to getting to where you are/where you want to be. But the decision to buy Sainsburys salmon vs Tesco tuna is a comfort many of those living on less than £1 per day would love to face. Even simply having internet access and the ability to read this post puts you in the top 40% of the world’s population!

As people with the ability to have ‘any extra cash’ we have a responsibility to help those who do not have this burden. Too often I hear suggestions that the poor are poor because they are lazy or because of bad decisions. But when 80% of your income goes on food for your family, the idea of not being poor is as fantastical as my dreams of becoming a Jedi! It’s therefore our duty to dispel such ideas and support those less fortunate where we can.

As such I have decided that when I become financially independent, I will dedicate a day a week to helping people less fortunate than I. I already so a bit of charity work in my job and the freedom that financial independence can give me will allow me to do more. I don’t know exactly what I will do, all I know is that the fact I was born where I was, was able to go to school where I did, and get the job where I am is largely down to a dumb luck of the draw.

As always, I’d really love to hear your thoughts.

23 Comments

  1. Really intresting take on the privilege of being able to save, puts into perspective how fortunate we are.

    1. Hi Darren! Thanks so much for reading and yeah I 100% agree – but you already know that haha!

  2. Excellent retirement idea. Do you think any amount of charity work will bridge the gap between the poor and the rich?

    1. Hi Ellie, thanks for reading! I really think it depends on what you do. There are loads of people that give money to charities but do not really care about where their money ultimately goes – it’s just a small monthly cost to them. But then you see people in the news like Akon who is well on the way to provide lighting and basic electricity for 600 million impoverished Africans using reusable energy and it gives me hope that more can be done.

  3. Such a good post MTM! I hope I too can give something back to the world during my retirement as I feel very privileged to be in the position I’m in.

    I may be bias but I think you’re being a little modest with the final sentence of this post. Your sucess isn’t ‘largely down to a dumb luck of the draw’. I know you worked hard to get to where you are today & that was down to YOU not your circumstances. You were lucky to grow up in the UK & to have some amazing role models around you, but things could have been very different if you weren’t so determined!!

    1. You flatterer you! I know, and I am not saying that I wouldn’t be where I am if I didn’t work hard. I am just saying, that there are people in this world working far harder than I for far, faaaaaar less. It just so happens that they are probably more geographically challenged =/

  4. This is a humbling post to read and very true. There are times I wonder why we save or have moments where it seems burdensome, but remembering that saving truly is a privilege is a quick remedy. Thank you for the thoughtful post!

    1. Hi Mrs. Adventure Rich, yeah it really is. It can also be a big motivator that can drive you to make the most of such a gift =]

  5. Great point! It’s crossed my mind before while typing how much I’ve saved, that there are still people out there working hard just to get the bills paid – or perhaps even in more dire situations.

    I think being in a position of privelige by being able to save isn’t a bad thing, and it certainly doesn’t undermine the hard work you’ve done yourself. It just really puts it into perspective.

    1. Couldn’t have said it any better. In fact hard work just reinforces that we are not wasting this position of privilege! Thanks for the comment – I always appreciate hearing thoughts

  6. I had this point driven home a couple of years ago when I entered into a contract for a young couple with four children to purchase a rental home I inherited. My husband and I flippantly called it “the hovel” and wondered how we were going to unload it. This couple were the tenants and they approached us about buying it. They couldn’t qualify for a traditional mortgage so we would have to sell it to them by contract. Now, as you can tell from the name we gave the place, this house was not something I would ever consider living in. Yet, the renters/buyers were thrilled to be able to buy this house. We entered into a contract that was truly win-win for both parties. They will end up with a house they sincerely are happy to get, and we get rid of a place we considered a burden. It was humbling to see someone so happy with so little.

    1. You know what they say about one person’s trash… But you’re right Kathy, it is humbling. And in that simple act, you sparked hope for people in a less fortunate position than yourself. You should be proud!

      Taking a few minutes every once in a while to remember what others go through can do a lot to aid our ability to emphasise =]

  7. Excellent post and thank you for sharing. One dollar a day is encouraging. Keep up the great work. Any suggestions as to where I can invest with a small amount that doesn’t require much brainwork or time?

    1. Hi Linda, I will assume by the fact that you said ‘dollar’ that you’re American =]

      I’m actually British, but the investment structures of the two countries seem very similar from what I have read. Speaking to loads of other financial bloggers (a lot of them from the US), maxing out your 401K appears to be a priority, followed by S&P income-focused tracker funds. Try looking at TD Ameritrade, Fidelity or Trade King.

      The fact that you are interested in doing something with “a small amount” puts you in good stead. You will find very quickly that EVERY investment (even the little ones) can go a long way =]

      Thanks for reading and I hope this helped!

  8. Some very good points. However, I would also add that First World Poor is definitely not the same as Third World Poor. Many First World poor people really are lazy and have bad habits. That’s much less true for 3rd World Poor.

    1. Hi Mysticaltyger, firstly what a name!

      I completely agree that the poor of developed western countries do not experience the same degree of poverty as developing nations. In fact to equate them would almost be an insult to the children dying in famine, war or worse…

      However, having grown up in a poor family in London (it was just me and my mum), you find out that people are poor for a plethora of reasons. In London, 1 in three households with children under the age of 10 live off below the national living wage… 33.3%

      That’s not to mention those that do have to leave work out of illness or to look after a loved one…

      I do see your point, but the people that max out credit card after credit card on things that they simply cannot afford, digging a debt grave for themselves are not the people I was talking about in the post. In fact, they are in the same privileged position as the rest of us but have squandered the opportunity placed in front of them.

      Thanks for reading and would be happy to hear more of your thoughts =]

  9. I’ve upped my charity giving x10 over the last couple of years as I’ve been getting more aware that being able to save/invest is a great privilege. Whilst I do agree that some of the poor might be lazy with bad habits, others are in a bad situation through no fault of their own. When I no longer need to work full time, I hope to be able to volunteer some of my time to be able to help these people.

    Anyway, congrats on that £1 a day, here’s to making it £2 a day!

    1. Hi Weenie! Thanks for reading and that sounds like a great plan. Giving a little back just add more fulfilment to the early retirement dream! =]

  10. You’re definitely right. We are so lucky to be in the position that we are in – not just financially, but being born in England, being alive in this time of the world. We are luckier than we realise, although it’s sometimes easy to forget that 🙂

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