I currently save 80% of my pretax income. This should make me feel great, but I have a constant lurking fear that it is all in vain. Like any day now, the world economy will collapse and currency (ie USD) will be valueless. I'm currently stashing money away in Vanguard's very broad stock and bond index funds, following typical golden rules. But, I am sacrificing the next 4 years of my life (minimum) at a job I hate (software engineering) to amass enough savings to branch out and find something I actually do like, whether that be another job or something like self-sufficiency/permaculture. Do you think I'm working/saving in vain?
Is saving money worth it?(41 posts)
First, the world economy is not going to collapse. More importantly, we get the question exactly how much sacrifice is too much, a lot.
My preference would be to spend more time reaching the goal that to do something I detest. I wouldn't strive to minimize the time to FI at all costs.
There are several ways to do it
1) No savings/investments at all, but seeing that expenses are low, part time work or consulting will be enough.
2) Some investments, even less work is required.
3) Saving ten years of expenses would give plenty of time to find something else.
4) The full FI.
We only live once and part of my way of life is that I'm probably going to earn some money in some way but not necessarily. I would thus not stick with a bad situation just because of golden handcuffs. Five years isn't a long time looking back, but it is looking forward.
The more you save the more choices you have .eg If you want to be self sufficient its going to be a whole lot easier if you can buy your own plot of land and the required infrastructure.
In the mean time try and identify how you would like to fill your days if you were not at your current job. When you were a child what made you really happy? Building huts? Digging in the dirt?Painting? Reading? Pets?....the chances are that the same things will still make you happy today, you've just got to make sure you build them into your life.
What if you drop dead in a few months or a few years? Enjoy your life. There are always ways to live for close to free and ways to make money doing things you love.
One thing I (used to) think about a lot is what is "money" (saving money?)? What if you save in a manner that turns into toilet paper a few years down the road? hmmmm...
It's not just about the saving % but also what you choose to save/ invest in...
Since none of us have a crystal ball, diversify until further notice (that is, not 100% in USD, not 100% in Greek bonds, etc etc etc)
I often feel like my saving is in vain. This has been due to naive (not necessarily poor, but underperforming) investment choices combined with an investment environment that has not met expectations for my entire professional career. I figure I'm slightly negative for the last 10 years compared to cash under the mattress, which is a far cry from where the Bogleheads of the world told me I should be. Looking back on the last few months is the same way -- I've been pouring my salary into investment accounts that don't seem to grow. Of course, when those investments do turn around (October, for example) everything seems awesome.
I assume you are considering earning less, rather than spending more. If you think spending more will make you happier, then you're operating on a different playing field. If you hope to spend the same but work/earn less, then we're on the same page. I'm not sure I have an answer to the problem, though. Right now I don't hate what I do, I just hate the lack of free time.
As NZ said, you get more options the more you save. For me, that means I should save a lot and keep working while I am lucky enough to have a job where that is possible. A more entrepreneurial spirit might think "there will always be opportunities to make money, so I should move on at the first hint of dissatisfaction." The optimal strategy might be in between, and is likely highly dependent on your personality. Why are your reasons for staying at this job you hate?
As for wealth preservation, have you looked into the permanent portfolio? I'm sure there are many different approaches to this, but the PP is what I'm trying now. Alternatively, you could look at TIPS. I agree with others that the dollar probably won't collapse overnight (barring certain scenarios.. like House MD, I discount the apocalyptic scenarios because if that happens, my planning will be useless anyways). Maybe you will feel better to have an escape plan in place.
The fact that you can live on 20% of your current salary will help you also if the world collapses. I also don't think it will, by the way. One more way to feel safer could be to spend some time learning new, and broader, skills, like fixing things, home decoration, cooking from scratch, etc. That will also make you more prepared for whatever the world has to offer in our future.
I'd like to underline and elaborate on some of what dragoncar said.
There's a world of difference between the mentality of the "salary man" who can only think of employment/jobs as a source of income and what I called the "working man" (you could also call this a small-business, self-employed, entrepreneur---I used "businessman" for someone who's leveraging other people's money and other people's labor) who can easily pick up money from various sources.
It's really a very different frame of mind and it takes some practice to change over. I've moved from salary to renaissance and have also dabbled a bit with pay-for-work. However, I'm still a far cry from thinking in ways that would allow me to hire people for a "business"---my first tendency would simply be to do more hours myself.
Dabbling with the other fields in one's spare time is a recommended exercise.
I have been saving into a 401k for many years, and on good days I break even in value of the account versus how much I put into it. I used the index approach and a balance of funds which focused on small, mid and large cap stocks.
When the future of the fiat currency is in question, it really makes you wonder if holding equities is the right way. I am still working and have now focused my surplus monthly income on paying off my home mortgage, which should take 2 to 3 years.
I switched to paying off the mortgage rather than investing because I fear that in a few years inflation will kick in and I would then find it harder to cover monthly expenses leaving less surplus savings. With a paid off house, I will have some security that I won't lose my home, and my expenses will drop by quite a bit. I will be in a good position to handle inflationary times.
I am still investing but it is down to about 10% of my income. When I focus on investing again, it will not be in a 401k, it will be in an account where I have more flexibility. It will probably be in dividend stocks and whatever is attractive at the time (today would be REITS). The limits on the type of 401k funds you can invest in does not make up for the tax advantage, in my opinion.
With regard to spending all your time at an unsatisfying job, I am there too. My escape is to try to learn things like gardening to prepare for when I have more time for it. I also built a sailing canoe, which is somewhat of a joke because I don't have time to use it. But it was a focus that kept my mind fascinated on something I like. Brewing beer is a good hobby that saves money unless you start gear tripping or drink too much. I'm not sure what I will do this winter but will try to find something to keep life interesting and meaningful while spending my time accumulating capital.
@riparian: What a wonderful question... "What if you drop dead in a few months or a few years?"
I've been saving money since I understand what money is used for. When I was 8 years old, I bought my first bicycle with the money I saved. Even my parents were surprised that I could save that much money.
It's been a habit for me, and I asked the same question to myself "What if I die now?"
The thing is, I'm 30 years old and I didn't die.
All of my undergrad friends started working right away, and I'm the only one who could buy a house. Everyone of them is paying huge amounts of rent, whereas I'm rent free for the rest of my life.
I could spend my salary to the things that gives instant pleasure. But I postponed some of the things I want to do, for the sake of doing them better in a couple of years.
Now they have to think about buying a house with high mortgage interests, or going on a vacation abroad.
I don't think about it, I just have my vacation without worries.
I've experienced this feeling more than a couple of times, and it makes you feel in comfort and makes you confident. THAT is a really good feeling.
That's why I continue saving... It made me feel good before, and that's why it continues to make me feel good.
From a statistical point of view: The chance of death significantly reduced for the last 50 years, thanks for improvement in surgery techniques, drug research, safety rules in transportation etc. That's why the world as a whole gets older.
We're no longer facing the risk of a wild animal attack, dieing because of a broken arm getting infection etc.
Therefore from a statistical point of view, saving money is one of the most logical thing that you can do.
Otherwise you're going to have a poor life when you get old.
I completely agree with founding jacob. No societal collapse. As humans we always go to extremes. In good times "they are never going to end" and in really bad ones "the END is coming." Doomers are the I "knew it" crowd right now, but they won't be forever. Even in really really bad times like the fall of the Roman Empire or the Dark Ages it wasn't as bad as the basic crapy school texts would have us believe. So, saving is a good idea. Where to invest is a little trickier, as the plain vanilla advice (indexes, diversify, etc.) won't work in times like these.
You need to determine what your ultimate goal is and then how you plan on getting there. If it's suffering through 4 years of a high paying job you hate or working at a lower paying job you don't hate, but don't love for 10 years (assuming if you could get a high paying job you loved you wouldn't be asking this question). Either way you need to make a concious decision and not just allow things to happen to you. I know that helped me. If you wake up every day saying, "I hate this. How do I get out of it?" You will be really miserable, because it will seem unending and something you have no control over. If you chose to do it, even if it sucks, it will still be better than just allowing it to happen to you.
"I am sacrificing the next 4 years of my life (minimum) at a job I hate (software engineering) to amass enough savings to branch out and find something I actually do like, whether that be another job or something like self-sufficiency/permaculture."
Unfortunately, only you can figure out the answer to the above.
I have the same fears that my savings is in vain and that someday my dollars will be worth less, but my fears are centered on inflation and on involuntary wealth redistribution. I'm not anywhere near as concerned about the world economy collapsing as I am about people who feel they are disenfranchised choosing (via the political process) to lay hands on my savings instead of doing the hard work to build wealth of their own. It's always easier to steal than to work.
As far as not liking your job, I have fallen out of love with mine over the last few years as well (also software engineering) as my priorities have changed: I'm a mom first and a worker second. I'd rather be home with my kids. I don't feel as though I'm working/saving in vain, though. I'm working to get free.
If you haven't already done so, go through the 7 steps of "Your Money Or Your Life" (YMOYL) by Robin and Dominguez. It may help you crystallize in your own mind why the steps you are taking are so important for you and why they are worth it. The steps are outlined here on their official web site:
Do you have a better alternative?
But, I am sacrificing the next 4 years of my life (minimum) at a job I hate (software engineering) to amass enough savings to branch out and find something I actually do like, whether that be another job or something like self-sufficiency/permaculture. Do you think I'm working/saving in vain?
Well. If you died in 4 years. I'd say yeah, it was all in vain. I think that's the early retirement gamble. It's pretty good odds though. Unless you didn't discover ERE until you were in your 70's...
Maybe you could hedge your bet by finding some really amazing charity to bequeath your savings to. So even if you do die just one day before retirement, at least you can find solace in the idea that your hard work and sacrificing of expensive trips, nights at the bar, fancy cars, or extra time off (or whatever you're doing without) will have at least done some good, and hence, not been in vain.
@Akilligelisim, my mother took a similar path to you, holding out at a job that made her miserable anticipating a financially perfect retirement. Six months before retirement she was diagnosed with a rare form of breast cancer that has a 25% survival rate. Stress affects your health.
I've taken a path in life of committing to never do anything that makes me miserable. I've travelled and studied and primarily invested in becoming a more and more awesome person, and that's made people want to pay me more and more in a couple different fields. I paid cash for my first house when I was 19 (after having moved cross country 7 times and worked in 7 different fields in the 3 years prior). I currently have no mortgage on 160 acres of wilderness and a lovely riverfront home that incurs zero monthly bills.
Certainly both paths can result in ER, but why be miserable when you can make other choices?
It’s always nice to save money, but if piling up a hoard faster and higher becomes the goal, life will pass by no matter how long you live. What’s called golden handcuffs in polite company, and money-slavery in less genteel terms, does not make for a good life, regardless of the goal.
There is a Chinese saying about paper money; the rats eat it. As to investments, Joe Dominguez (YMOYL) had a collection of Czarist Russian bonds, with all the coupons duly clipped and presumably redeemed for interest right up until 1917. So yes, money and investments will never provide true security.
If I hated my work, getting out would be the goal and the sooner the better. I like Jacob’s list of alternatives to full FI, and have found that pushing out the financial Horizon of Doom about 10 years into the future, whether through savings, income or reduced expenses, is more than enough to make a move.
If you really would prefer permaculture/self-sufficiency, you can start down that path *today*. There are jobs on farms/communities that include room and board and entertainment. You can quit and do that right now; there's no need to save up money first.
You can always come back to software engineering if whatever path you go down fails. Most people in other careers have a hard time wrapping their heads around this, but the fact is demand for software engineers is growing way faster than the supply. I think you should definitely try something else. You really have nothing to lose, because you can so easily get back to where you currently are.
PS: your investment choices (prosperity biased stocks and bonds) are inconsistent with your predictions for the future (USD fears, economic collapse)
@dragoncar - I've noticed that a good percent of the posts on the Boglehead forum are advice on how to tell newcomers how to invest their money the Boglehead way and another good percent are posts lamenting how much money they've all lost in the last day/week/month/year/decade/name your time frame.
I think if you keep your expenses low and your job earnings high, you don't really have to gamble in the stock market. A lot of people do just fine with TIPS, CD ladders, annuities, etc. and maybe a small amount of stocks for counter balancing the fixed income investments.
I absolutely hate the possibility to be forced to work at a job I don't like. As other said, the more money(investment) we have, the more options we have and I like it that way. You said you hate your job right? When you save/invest enough, you can quit it and work at a lower paying and less stressful job or even early retirement.
I think saving all the money and not spending and not investing is not worth it.Money is just media of exchange. It's not wealth itself. I think the right way is to save and invest and use the profit from the investment to provide you with the freedom to make choices.
I invest 120% in stock market because I have low income and 1.5% saving interest rate is not going to get me anywhere.
Don't even mention apocalypse e.g 2012 for that matter, when it happens, you lose the same doesn't matter what you do. Don't believe in apocalypse, it's fear mongering. Currency collapse doesn't change the fact that you're owner of a business. The business can adapt the new currency if the current currency indeed collapse.
It's funny to read the "if you get hit by a bus tomorrow" arguments.
In poker, you fold when the present conditions warrant it. The cards that come next (after you have made the right decision) aren't relevant.
Is saving the right thing to do RIGHT NOW? Tomorrow is not relevant (it's fictional). If you're dead, NOTHING you did during your life is going to matter to you. YOU'LL be dead! Maybe hit by a bus! Having fun right now is not motivated by suddenly being dead, if you're dead, it won't matter!
Anyway, I'd say suffer a bit in the short, for big gains in the future. If you don't think the future is coming, then live it up! Quick!
Whereas in chess you must make a move and the possible moves that follow your present move are fully determined and countable. The next move must be strategically optimal in the sense that it is the one that improves your next position the most as far as you know. Also your present position is an outcome of your past moves.
One way to think of chess is that it is deterministic but no human (or computer) is able of deriving the outcome completely. The winner will be the one who comes closest to the ideal game.
Incidentally, I think neither poker nor chess is a realistic model of ... uh.. reality.
Fantastic post. Your thoughts on this matter have become my own over the last few months.
After Steve Jobs died (not that I'm a huge fan or follower) it occurred to me that it really didn't matter that he founded Apple..that he was worth billions of dollars, or that he could do anything he wanted...as he lay on a hospital bed dying, and eventually dead, what did anything matter? If you live to 30 or 90...when you're dead, you're dead. It doesn't matter anymore. You won't be here to see the world turn or reflect on what life handed you.
Sometimes I sit on the bus, on my way home from work..and I watch the people in their cars talking on their cell phones, or fiddling with their makeup..or eating a burger on the go. But, really...when they're dead..those conversations didn't matter, that makeup didn't matter and that cheeseburger doesn't matter anymore either. Makes you think.
I guess this gets a bit philosophical, and into the "meaning of life", but I suppose the question posed by the OP was a bit philosophical.
Interesting thoughts. I really liked your post!
Whoa! I think we're getting into solipsism here.
Things matter because after one dies the rest of the world goes on. It matters to those who are still alive. The impact of one's life doesn't stop with one's death.
"In poker, you fold when the present conditions warrant it. The cards that come next (after you have made the right decision) aren't relevant."
I think what the OP was saying is that their present conditions are intolerable. Since, like you say, the future is irrelevant, it isn't logical to be miserable in the present for the sake of a hypothetical future.
@jacob, damn, you and all the other smart people draw parallels between chess and life. Must learn chess.
@riparian - One of the INTJ descriptions discuss how we see life as a chessboard. I presume what is meant is the [excessive] contingency planning that goes one all the time: If this happens, then I'll do this; If that happens, then I'll do that; If something else happens, then I'll do ...
Seriously, even when I walk the dog, I think about what I'd do if he takes off into the street, walks the wrong way around a tree, leash angles, the fact that I can't push on a line, etc.
From my conversations with others this strategist way of thinking, where everything is thought out in advance, is not normal.
PS: I've played some chess. I've never played poker. I think MagicTG is a good compromise in terms of modeling the world.
My father died this year with $10,000 worth of railroad modeling kits mostly still in kit form. He missed out on enjoying his favorite hobby by amassing kits for someday. Instead he spent most of his days in front of the TV. He was retired from 55 until his death at 70. He was super frugal. Owned no car. Could acutallly live on his social security benefits. And died with a reasonable chunk of change in brokerage accounts from working 7 days per week for years at a time. He took few risks. Had no intimate partner for a good 20 years.
I am working toward an early retirement or even semi retirement. Because I absolutely love working in my business I am fairly happy. The work I do teaching is the most rewarding. Like Jacob said, I like making a difference. I would love to have more time not working to pursue my other passions.
That said, I think doing work you love has great value. You could die sooner than you expect. Simplifying life and reducing expenses to get at what you love faster seems like a good idea.
I decided to not save much more than a small emergency fund until I pay off my mortgage. I am not sure if this is the best bet. But I think the interest I pay is higher than I might gain in the stock market.
I read/heard some advice once that you can have only three kinds of problems: financial/job, health and social/relationships.
Looking through the other end of that telescope, there are only three kinds of needs. You must have some level of each, although it could be quite minimal.
Health is critical. As several have said, "when you are dead, nothing else matters". And if you are in bad health, you might not be able to enjoy anything.
I like the three categories you mentioned. I sometimes view it all through one telescope as you suggest; the one of health. It seems like part ofthe modern day disease of stress/chronic illness. Working longer days to get ahead of the race. Along the way destroying our health with sleep deprivation, poor food quality, lack of exercise, the stress of debt, etc. I have thought of working 70 hour weeks like many business owners in our seasonal community but I cannot bring myself to forfeit my health.
Chess is a game of perfect information, meaning that all players can see the complete state of the game at all times. So playing well involves thinking through potential moves and contingency plans many layers deep, and thorough attention to detail so you don't overlook anything.
Poker involves very imperfect information. You know which cards you have, and often know where a few other cards are, but the rest are unknown and random. So playing well involves empathy, in the sense of inferring other peoples' mindset and motivations based on their actions. And to a lesser degree, an intuitive sense of how probability works.
I agree that real life lies somewhere between these extremes. I would add that, the more one understands how the world and human nature work, the more life resembles a game of perfect information where eventualities can be predicted. So perhaps one reason we're motivated to learn Renaissance Man skills, is to make our life work more like perfect-information games, which *NT*-types excel at.
*sigh* I'm INFP and I'm great at poker and have never won a chess game in my life.
'I'm great at poker'
i seriously doubt it
I think Billiards is a better analogy than chess or poker. Poker is too random (card shuffling) and chess is too perfect (piece always lands on the square you intend). Billiards is mostly the aquired skill of getting the balls to land where you intend to optimize the next move, but some randomness is present from the difference in tables, cues, opponents, etc.
To the OP: If someone offered you a job digging ditches (or whatever) and told you if you just did it for four years you could quit forever, would you take it? If you would consider saying yes, it might not be all about your current job. Maybe it's your disappointment that the job is not what you thought it was going to be.
Ha. Sorry for tearing the thread in this direction. My only point was that personally what I do wont matter when I'm dead. While we can make the world better for those that inherit the earth, it probably only matters to me in relation to my decedents (family, kids). However, since I'll be dead, I wont be able to enjoy this. So using that as a reason for doing isn't proper in my mind. This isn't to say that you should destroy the world while you live, just because one day you'll be dead as doing this might make you feel pretty awful about wrecking your current conditions and that of those who inherit the planet from you, but only WHILE you are ALIVE. When you're dead, NOTHING will matter to you.
I just think you should do what you think is best for the current conditions knowing there is a good chance you'll be alive tomorrow and the next (even until you reach your 70-80s). So that's enough reason to save for the future, because it's very likely to happen based on probability.
If you have family, maybe saving for the future can benefit them if you die and this might motivate you to save in the present. I do. If I die, my son and wife will be taken care of, and so I can use this argument in my favour when "spend it now and be damned" people chirp in and tell me I might "someday get hit by a bus." Aside from this, I doubt I could get any significant amount of extra enjoyment from blowing my wad right now anyway, but this is much more difficult to convey to a spend it now-er.
Here's my short answer: What you did during your life won't matter to you when your dead - you'll be dead.
Will it matter to other people, of course.
Good question- I've wondered this myself. I like the answer Jacob (founder) said: the world probably isn't going to end, on the one hand, and on the other, figuring out how to live on a little can unlock the golden handcuffs of some imagined financial independence. How about is you live on 20% of your income- are there other ways to replace that income? How about ways to replace that plus another __% as a buffer? Very possibly, for many people. Can you make that much (little) money doing something you like better?
And I agree with Chad- determine where your agency lies, and hardship can feel less like suffering. If you can wake up and say that you are actively choosing to defer your satisfaction in order to achieve something you want on a deeper level, that feels different than feeling trapped because maybe you feel inextricably obligated to achieve FI in X number of years.
And as for doomers, I like what Ran Prieur says (paraphrasing): ' Everyone likes to believe they're living at the end of history- religious millennials, primitivists, techno-utopians, etc. I like to think we're in the middle of history, maybe even close to the beginning. ' That is, stuff will keep going on, even if in some respects we can call it cataclysmic- therefore our adaptability is paramount. Don't ever become convinced there's only one way to do something- think broadly and see opportunities in new places, and be wary of sacrificing today on the imagined alter of tomorrow.
And finally, on a personal advice level, I concur with riparian- I don't want to do something that makes me miserable. I try my best to make decisions based on what is inherently satisfying, not on what guilt or obligation dictates. I don't want to regret not living in a way that works for me. Fortunately, I've aligned my lifestyle with my values- I get an active rush when I can throw a portion of my paycheck to savings, and or when I get rid of needless stuff and approach elegant simplicity, or when I can slow down and hyper-mile past 40mpg. If I died tomorrow, I wouldn't curse my grave because I forced myself to endure these austerity measures. In fact, I'd love to leave those ordinary victories as my legacy,
I'm not interested in dying right now, but wife and I have set aside funds for our final expenses. The funds are adequate irregardless of the rise in funeral expenses. These funds are in addition to any other assets we have. At the end of the visit to the funeral director, either of us simply writes a check for whatever services we have selected. As I said dying is not currently on my immediate radar. It could happen before I finish this post, and if you don't actually see the post you will know I am gone. So when will I be interested in dying, checking out of the net, dropping the ball, or whatever you wish to call it? Well, let's see where I am now. I am 67, and have probably 90% of the capacity to do things I always have had. I can brush my teeth, dress myself, and still have a ravenous desire for all the good things of life, like good food and sex and watching college football, to name a few. As I age further, and lose more of my prowess, I will wane towards relaxing a little, and considering the purpose of life as they say. I will be one of many who don't go down quickly, and will fight to maintain everything I can. Of course I am not exempt from the "surprise onset" of some terminal illness. However, I will be one who fought the good fight, and hope to live to be as old as one of my greatest heros who just passed: Andy Rooney. In the meantime, I will be making, collecting, and saving and investing money, money, and money!
My main concern is not "economic collapse" per se, but government and inflation stealing away the savings I make while sacrificing these next few years. It seems like the vocal majority in America don't care about savers in general because they're not in our shoes. I think most Americans are in debt, so they vote in politicians who make laws that are favorable to themselves (i.e. things like student debt forgiveness). Also, the government is massively in debt itself. These days, it seems like there is no investment vehicle that is safe and can outpace inflation.
Btw, working conditions at my job are ideal. Great work/life balance, great boss, great environment. But I still hate it. I don't think people were meant to do one thing 8 hours/day, 5 days a week for life.
I don't know whether this is the same in the US, but over here in Europe (Belgium to be more specific) inflation is mostly rising due to higher energy prices. So the less energy (oil, electricity, gas,..) you consume, the less you need to worry about that inflation. Inflation is more of a worry for people consuming a lot than it is for people that don't!
Regarding a government taking away your money.. It happened in the past and it is likely to happen in the future (somewhere on earth). But nothing will stop you to leave the country and 'start over' (in the best case with most of your belongings and the worst case from scratch). Being able to live of 20% of your money is a skill nobody can take away and will always get you ahead of the majority (whichever the country, the economical system - think black market -,.. you live in)! The same goes for whatever skill you have. That is why investing in your skill set is always a good move. Skills are safe and will outpace inflation every time. As with everything, you should also diversify a bit or at least choose skills you can use in different situations. Being a specialist in some niche of IT is great.. as long as that niche exists/is needed by somebody else.. and there is electricity around to keep the machines running! Being able to create great smart phone applications is not really useful if you end up in the wilderness!
People are simply not 'built' to do the same thing during 8 hours a day and 5 days a week for at least 40 years. Such a thing can't be seen in nature. People that think otherwise, will come to the same conclusion one day or another. It is better this happens when you are 20 years old than on your dying bed.. and hopefully without getting a burn-out! As it looks like you have almost every reason to be happy at your job, it might be a nice idea to try to find out what exactly you are missing to make it a nice temporarily pass time! I know this is not easy, as I have been/am struggling with the same thing (being a person working in IT myself, so it might have to do something with IT ;-)). The good things about savings as that you get to have more opportunities. As most people don't have sufficient savings, they are stuck in whichever job they have.
> These days, it seems like there is no investment
> vehicle that is safe and can outpace inflation.
There never has been such an investment vehicle, but we've often had the illusion that such investments exist. Investments live in a range of possibilities, from knowing the exact amount that will be returned (barring a government collapse) but is likely to lose to inflation, to complete uncertainty as to the amount returned with the liklihood that it will handily beat inflation.
And then there are the investments that pretend to be the latter, but are really worse than the former because they actually offer no chance to beat inflation and leave you with total uncertainty on the future amount returned to you.
> I don't know whether this is the same in the US,
> but over here in Europe (Belgium to be more
> specific) inflation is mostly rising due to
> higher energy prices.
We also have medical inflation and tuition inflation, both rising at rates faster than general inflation. Presumably ERE candidates are past tuition inflation because they're stockpiling their cash now rather than making a bad tuition deal.
Since the US doesn't treat medicine the same way we treat utilities (granting limited monopolies in exchange for price caps), our medical costs are unpredictable. We've already proven that free market medical services create unsustainable inflation rates, but our voting public can't come to terms with that fact.
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