I have a friend, married but no children, who constantly bombards me with the most unrealistic financial advice imaginable. I live pretty much hand-to-mouth, always one paycheck away from destitution, spending everything that I make. It’s not because I am profligate. Life here, life with children, and life in an environment of declining employability is just expensive. I’m a middle aged man, the age bracket with the heaviest financial load and debt burden - mortgages, cars, taxes, children’s college, business loans, alimony, health insurance, life insurance, mistress, pension, etc. And, my income is highly irregular - very little in winter and summer, versus quite a bit in spring and autumn.
My friend suggests, “Why don’t you save up money until you have enough to pay your health insurance all at once?” I say I can’t do that because there are other bills that have to be paid in the meantime, and so I have to pay bills when I am able, when funds are available - that is, month-by-month.
Then he suggests, “Why don’t you save up enough money to pay your annual resident tax bill all at once?” Not only can I not do it for the reason stated above, but I consider payment by installments more a plan fornot paying my bills than for paying them: a strategy for avoiding payment.
Next, “Why don’t you save up all the money you want to spend on vacation in Canada and then exchange it into Canadian dollars all at once, when the exchange rate is favorable, rather than in installments?”
And after that, “Why don’t you save up enough money now for your funeral in the future so that the cost of it doesn’t have to be paid out of your life insurance, or your estate after you die?”
Or, “Why don’t you start saving up all the money your need for your retirement now?”
By this time I am ready to scream at him, “Where do you think all this money is coming from that I’m supposed to be saving?! There is no money!” Maybe he is secretly rich. Or, maybe from one suggestion to the next he forgets his previous savings ideas. What planet is he from?
Most irritating of all is the constant repetition of “Why don’t you... ?” as if no one before him ever thought of such suggestions, as if I never thought of them, or as if he cannot imagine any reason for not doing what he suggests.
Personally, I don’t think he’s got even half a mind about a budget. The spending picture that he paints, rather than being a model of fiscal control, is more like ejaculatory spending.
“Oh, what a world!” I cry as I slowly melt under a shower of bills and advice.