Save yourself. An ominous blog post from Jonathan Clements warned yesterday afternoon.
“The Great Recession may have been a wake-up call for American families. But many have since drifted back to sleep.”
How did The Great Recession affect our country’s personal savings rate? In 2012, it reached a two-decade high of 7.6%, but dropped soon after.
Personal savings rates have dipped below 5% for the past three years. Some point to income inequality, others blame our hunter-gather ancestors for our tendencies to overconsume. Either way, we’re not saving enough.
But interestingly, frugality seems to be everywhere.
America’s Fascination with Frugality
Have you noticed America’s fascination with frugality? It’s even become a part of pop culture. Don’t believe me? Look at shows like Extreme Cheapskates and Extreme Couponing. And how many times has it been reported Warren Buffett still lives in the home he bought for $31,500?
It’s also why many personal finance blogs have readers. Let’s face it, we love talking and reading about people being cheap. But how many of us are inspired enough to take action? Are these life-changing stories enough?
Athletes Saving For the Future
Yesterday, a friend shared an article with me on Facebook. Turns out the story was trending. The headline?
Ryan Broyles: Detroit Lions Wide Receiver Says He and His Wife Live on Roughly $60,000 Each Year
Why is this unique? Broyles signed a four-year contract worth 3.6 million. In an industry notorious for excessive consumption, it’s refreshing to hear stories about players living so far below their means.
Last week, I read an even more impressive story about Baltimore Ravens guard, John Urschel. Urschel lives off $25,000 per year and has a roommate to help keep costs down. He drives a used 2013 Nissan Versa.
Side note: he’s also got a master’s degree in mathematics. Smart dude!
Photo credit: ESPN
But my favorite frugal athlete is Toronto Blue Jays’ pitcher Daniel Norris. Despite earning a $2 million signing bonus and a deal with Nike, he lives in the back of a 1978 Westfalia camper he bought for $10,000.
He’s got over a million dollars in the bank and works an offseason job for 40 hours a week in his hometown, Johnson City, Tennessee. He lives off just $800 per month.
Changing the Perception of Frugal
I loved seeing these stories go viral. And the feedback on social media? Pretty encouraging, too. But maybe it’s time to rethink our perception of frugality.
Instead of gawking at our frugal friends like sideshow performers, how about we see it for what it really is? Really freaking cool.
Seriously, what could be cooler than paying off debt, living below your means, and saving for your future? You know what else rocks? Building wealth. But best of all? Financial freedom.
Stepping up your personal savings rate is key to having more control over your life. So, what are you waiting for? Give yourself the gift of an expense audit and find your money leaks. Redefine your needs. Pick up a side hustle. Whatever it takes. Just start saving more!
If professional athletes can avoid society’s pressure to overspend, so can we.
Readers: If we’re so fascinated by frugality, why can’t we save more?