Working Wealthy – Can I Spend My Own Money?

How little a thing can make us happy when we feel that we have earned it.” – Mark Twain

How do the Working Wealthy think about spending their money? From our experience at BDF, we find that many Working Wealthy actually think about spending only after they have funded their savings goal. Or in other words, pay yourself first.

But what happens when all you do is save, and you never take the time to appreciate your hard work along the way? Is it possible to save too much and miss out on parts of life that you can afford and enjoy?

Yes.

We find that saving is like all habits—even good ones can be taken to extremes. Don’t misunderstand my message. Saving is important, but a life spent in the toils of thrift in the name of a more than bulletproof retirement may have unintended consequences.

At BDF, we work with our clients to understand how much is enough. And this applies both to saving and spending. We set goals for our savers so they know when they have topped off their goal for the year and can then perhaps enjoy the fruits of their labor in real time.

Here are a few steps to consider if you’re finding that your focus on saving is impacting your lifestyle and you are avoiding the things in life that truly make you happy:

  • Set a savings goal for the year, including both tax-deferred and after-tax income, and monitor your progress.
  • Set a wish list for the year and jot down a few things you’d really like to do if you hit your savings goal.
  • When you reach or surpass that savings goal, consider whether you want to apply the excess to a head start on next year’s savings or do something from your wish list.
  • Allow yourself the enjoyment of either indulging in one of the wish list items or feeling content about pre-funding next year’s goal.

The Working Wealthy create their financial independence through many means, but the most common ingredients are hard work, discipline and a long-term vision. With those elements in place, it’s important to allow yourself to enjoy a morsel of your success along the way.


Nick Cosky, CFP® is a Wealth Manager and Owner at BDF and is responsible for educating and introducing prospective clients that are considering hiring BDF for their wealth management needs. In previous roles, Nick has served as the head of BDF’s Financial Planning Committee and has participated on the Business Owner Team and Women’s Service Team. Nick is passionate about the planning that BDF does for its clients and enjoys every aspect of the client-advisor relationship. Nick graduated from Lawrence University in Appleton, Wisconsin, with a Bachelor of Arts degree in History and English. He is a CFP® professional and is a member of the Auxiliary Board at the Art Institute of Chicago.