Two months ago, I was in Peru giving money management workshops to local artisan women. We covered the topic of savings for a few weeks. My audience was a group of women to whom the concept of saving was a new one. Until then they hadn’t had much stable income for saving to be a priority. It has been an interesting experience for me to take a step back and adjust my thinking to that of someone for whom saving is a completely new concept. As I prepared for my first talk, I looked up the definition of the word to save or ahorrar as my workshops are in Spanish. The word ahorrar comes from the ancient Spanish and arabic words meaning liberty or to give freedom. I found this striking and quite accurate. Why is it so important to save? Saving gives us financial freedom to say yes or no when we want to. Yes, I want to buy this today. No, I want to put this money towards a vacation. Oftentimes savings sounds like a burden, like putting limitations on myself but when I change my thinking to what I’m saving for it becomes a freeing activity; it opens up a whole new world. Now, I can be forward thinking.
Inherently, saving also prompts us to think of the future. If we are saving we are thinking that there is something in the future that is worth waiting for. We begin to place value on ourselves that may not have been there before. In the future I will be in college, in the future I will buy a home, in the future I will need to upgrade my wardrobe –all of this because in the future I will be something or more of what I am today. I care enough about me today that I want to make sure that I can still maintain my lifestyle in the future. In the future I will be retired or I will need more medical support or I might experience a job loss but I am saving today because I care about what will happen to my future self. I save because I have the freedom to do so.
What will you choose to do with your freedom?