Since the dawn of mankind, when the ability to acquire food and use tools that could help man subsist for those periods of time when resources were sparse was priceless, the question of how to budget and save one’s resources has been preeminent on the minds of human beings. Today, in a world that has become increasingly globalized and driven by the blundering, juggernaut force of free-market capitalism, budgeting and saving one’s individual resources has become an extremely complex and somewhat terrifying endeavor.
What’s more, it seems that most everyone has a different view on the best way to go about pooling resources for the proverbial rainy day. This is made further troubling by the fact that most ordinary people in North America make only enough money to put small portions of cash into money-making assurances like mutual funds or other investments. Because of this, people are right to be extremely wary about where their money is going, and whether or not they can trust whether or not their best interests are being considered when they hand it over to someone else.
It is complex but hardly brand new stuff. After all, the essential dilemma of the necessity of budgeting and saving goes back to the fable of the grasshopper and the ant, which is no doubt as old as the first storytellers who spun wisdom around the virginal campfires. We all know the story, or at least the bare bones of it. The foolish, unwise grasshopper, lavishing in the comfort afforded by the summer and its abundance of resources, fails to plan for the future while his counterpart, the thrifty, intelligent ant realizes that the winter months will be lean and so saves up materials for darker days. Come the future, and the winter days of freezing cold and depleted food sources, the grasshopper has no home and nothing to eat and starves to death in the cold while the ant, having constructed shelter and saved food, is well-fed and warm.
The fable is simple, and yet incredibly true. The failure to budget and save, for the grasshopper, was fatal; and in most of today’s Western countries, where wealth is abundant but mostly at the behest of individual achievement, much the same is true. You know how much of this works in the present-day situation. Every self-proclaimed expert with a soapbox and an Economics 101 course under his belt will tell you that if you put away the price of a cup of Starbucks coffee every day you could return thousands on interest in just a few years – just think, then, what the daily price of a grande, low-fat, half-caff, no-foam, Gingerbread Latte could get you! But a self-proclaimed expert is not much compared to an actual one, and so your best bet is to seek out a financial advisor who can help you plan for your future or if you prefer to take matters into your own hands, lay out a comprehensive plan for prudent budgeting and setting aside income and then have the will power to stick to it.
This can lead you towards the financial security that ensures that, to the best of your abilities, you will end up retiring in comfort like our fictional ant instead of seeing your livelihood dry up before you like the grasshopper.