Dear Barb—Money Handling

Dear Barb:

Hi, I graduated a few years ago and was fortunate to find a decent job with good pay and benefits.  I live a frugal lifestyle, so I have been able to save a lot of money.  The problem is my family and friends think I should be spending more money on trips and clothes and other stuff.  They say we are only young once and that I should be enjoying life more.  I have a fear of ending up alone with no money, so I feel better saving it.  What advice would you give to someone in my situation, should I be spending more, or saving? I am not sure what is the right thing to do. 

Thanks for your advice, Melissa.

Hi Melissa:

Thanks for sending your email.  How we handle our money is a personal choice.  Some like to spend and enjoy life while others want to save for their future, but there is a happy medium.  For many how they handle their money is influenced by their life experiences, but you can change your thinking.  Money is supposed to enhance our lives and if it’s sitting in a bank account doing nothing, it is not improving our lives.  For example, spending money on a financial advisor is money well spent.  Advisors are knowledgeable about ways to invest money, as opposed to leaving your money to sit in a low interest saving account.  Another good way to spend money is on good quality food, which will help you maintain your health and well-being.  In the long run, good health saves you money, as you are not spending money on expensive medications and treatments that may have been avoided by a healthy diet.

But do not hesitate to occasionally indulge in that latte or a meal out at an expensive restaurant.  These are all things that bring joy and contentment to your life.  Being a strategic money handler requires balancing your needs and wants.  To completely deprive yourself of money to save for your old age is not going to provide you with a happy life.  However, saving for a car, or a downpayment on a house is an important step to living a fulfilling life, therefore, to deprive yourself for a temporary goal is a healthy option.  When managing money, the 50/30/20 rule are guidelines to keep in mind.  What that means is 50% of your money should be spent on your needs, like groceries, rent, and utilities, 30% goes to wants, such as vacations, hobbies, and social events, and 20% to savings, retirement, and debt payments.  I believe you should begin by hiring a financial advisor to help plan your future and alleviate your fear of ending up with no money.  I hope this information will be helpful to you Melissa.

Email your questions to Some submissions may be edited for length or to protect confidentiality; your real name and location will never be printed. This column is for entertainment only. The author is not a professional counsellor and this column is not intended to take the place of professional advice.