|I derive satisfaction from savings akin to -- but different from -- what spenders say they get from consumption. I often work on projects in different cities. (Luther Setzer and I met when I was working on the Space Coast, for instance.) Of course,a local bank account is a necessity, and I seldom close one, even after I leave the project. Over the years, I continue to put savings into them. It is a game of sorts. I try to keep them all about equal. Some I ear-mark for various future purchases. Others just sit there. If I get a check for some small project such as a magazine article, I will often send it to one or another of these accounts. I still have the Swiss bank account I opened in 1973 after reading a book by Harry Browne. When I was sent on an assignment in Basel in 1999, I almost drew out some spending money just to do it, but I never got around to it in the few days I had there -- and there it sits. |
As for credit cards, Sam Erica makes an undeniable point. Even so, I do have a couple and at the moment, both are carrying close to their limits. The balances go up and down. Paying them off takes precedence over other savings. The fact is that I see it that way: Would you deposit money in savings if you got 18% interest? Of course! So, paying off the credit cards is a high priority. Even so, I see this as a business decision, a matter of accounting and preferences of time values. Even with that in consideration, there is still the opportunity to put some nominal new earning (again for a magazine article) into some other form of savings. One of the areas I write about is numismatics. I am not a "collector" in the usual sense, but I do buy examples of the coins, banknotes, etc., that I write about. So, some admittedly small fraction of my savings goes into these kinds of channels.
Objectivists place great philosophical, perhaps aesthetic, value in gold. Over the last 30 years, I have always been able to enjoy the opportunity to buy it in some form or other: British sovereigns, French Roosters, or whatever. The stash goes up and down -- not surprisingly in some kind of pattern with those ghastly credit cards -- but I have bought gold when it was convenient, even while carrying a credit card balance. Again, this is something of a consumer item for me, another kind of saving that also satisfies my desire to enjoy something nice, like a Mint state French Angel. If I were coldly rational, I would pay off the credit cards first, deposit into demand account savings next, and then, last, buy gold, which pays no interest or dividends. However, I appreciate the artistry exemplified by the many different forms that money can take. For me, then, this allows "consumption" while also following the discipline of savings.
Also, for me, the money does not come in nice, neat, regular paychecks. Sometimes it does for a longer project. If I get a $25 honorarium, it does not make much sense to me to send that to a credit card company. Instead, I will send it to the savings account with the lowest balance, or perhaps to the bank closest to the town I plan to be in next year for a convention.
My lowest form of savings is a coffee cup on my desk that holds Sacagawea dollars. My daughter does the same thing. She called me tonight and we talked for about an hour about life and everthing else, and we poured out our "Sackies" and counted them up. She won.