Folgers coffee ran a campaign that really hit home for me and there was very little coffee involved in the commercial. The family wrote something on a piece of tape, which they stuck to the coffee can. The word on the tape was a product they desired, such as a new baseball glove, and the coffee can would hold the money they saved. The family defined a goal and put money aside in an effort to reach that goal. Sound familiar?
This is financial planning at its core. The only difference between saving for retirement and saving for a new baseball glove is the amount needed. I think we should remember that. We all saved for something as children; earning money by doing odd jobs around the house and finding change in the couch cushions.
What happened between our childhood and now that caused us to lose our enthusiasm for saving? Yes, we have more responsibilities, but we also have more money. Can you imagine the conversation with ourselves as a child? Mine would go like this:
Little Jonathan: Wow, Jonathan we’ve done well! What are you doing with all that money?
Adult Jonathan: Honestly, we’re okay, but we’re struggling to save anything. The bills keep coming. I feel like we’re just treading water.
Little Jonathan: Really!? I’ve been trying to save $50 for a baseball glove all year and you make more than that in a day.
Adult Jonathan: Well you’ll see it’s different when you grow up.
Little Jonathan: Why? Can you no longer set goals and work toward them as an adult?
Adult Jonathan: Well….???
That little Jonathan sure was a smart (and handsome) young man. You laugh, but financial “gurus” have made fortunes by preaching this same message. They just use envelopes, not coffee cans. Of course, I’m not encouraging you to save for retirement in an envelope or coffee can. That is crazy and I believe you are capable of more anyway. You can learn discipline and self-control without putting money in envelopes and freaking out because this month’s food envelope is empty. I’ll be glad to coach you on this monthly.
Conspiracy theorists believe we’ll have a cashless society soon and your envelopes will be empty anyway. I don’t want a cashless society, but I’m not going to lose sleep over the possibility either. If “doomsday” ever happens, I’m sure humans will find a way to trade for their needs. Remember, money is a tool we use to trade for goods and services; don’t give it more power than it deserves. Also, by putting holes in a coffee can, you can turn it into a cooking plate over a fire. I’ve had some pretty good grilled cheese sandwiches cooked on a coffee can. Now that is important knowledge for doomsday!
If you would like to know how to make a coffee can grilled cheese, then email me. We’ll also talk about your retirement planning as well. It’s time to get excited about saving again!