The Jerusalem Post
Are your finances on selfie mode?
“My father never was and isn’t a mean man. You know, he never was ruthless. And he succeeded in life without sticking it to anybody. And that’s a great example for a man, a strong man, a man’s man, to give to his children. You can succeed, you can be successful, without walking over somebody.”
– Maria Shriver
Imust admit I had no idea that this Sunday is Father’s Day. I only found out as I got a popup advertisement for a Father’s Day sale on men’s clothing when I was online researching a particular retail stock that a client mentioned to me that he wanted to purchase for his account. I would like to take this opportunity to wish my father a happy Father’s Day and may he merit to celebrate many more of these days in good health.
We all strive to be good parents, and sometimes we go out of our way to try and do something special for our kids when the opportunity presents itself. This past Monday such an opportunity presented itself to me. I had just finished a run at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem track at Givat Ram. As I was stretching I noticed a very well-known Israeli basketball player working out with a trainer. As he took a break I went over to him and started talking to him, and praised him for both how he plays in general and how he represents Israel on the national team with class. I also mentioned that my two sons and I really like him even though he doesn’t play for Hapoel Jerusalem. I then asked him if he could record a quick video message to the two of them and he said he would be happy to. I took out my phone and started recording. Now keep in mind the sun was shining bright and it was very hard to see my screen, and I am no tech expert. After recording the message I thanked him and wished him well and let him continue his workout. I went on my merry way and when I found some shade I played the video. His message was awesome, but there was just one problem. I accidentally recorded on selfie mode. Meaning that you see my squinting face and hear some random voice in the background. Great job Abba! The real irony is that I don’t really know how to even take a selfie. Needless to say both my dear wife and children had a very good laugh at my expense. Well at least I tried being a good father.
Spend 5 minutes in a public space and you are bound to see someone taking a selfie. Thanks to Apple and their suite of “I” products, society is all about “I” and caught up in instant self-gratification. This is antithetical to the way you want to manage your finances. You need to focus on the future and not just do what pleases you individually, but take care of the rest of your family and help out society. You can’t just indulge in everything you want now because that will impact your ability to both save for the long term and achieve other short- and medium-term goals that you may have.
I once met with a couple who were perpetually in the minus. The wife, who was in charge of the finances, couldn’t figure out why they were in the minus. It turned out that the husband felt entitled to buy lunch every day and never told her. His selfishness was costing the family dearly. Now don’t get me wrong. You are allowed to spend money on things that you enjoy. It’s critical to make a budget and you can have a line item that relates to purchases that are important to you. Just make sure that it’s accounted for.
In the budget you should have 2 line items that get funded first. First is long-term savings, what I like to call “paying yourself first” and then charity. If you want a secure financial future you can’t rely on the government. Bituah Leumi, Social Security or any other government pension will not provide you with the standard of living that you expect. Try and make sure that at least 10% of your income goes into long-term savings each month. By doing this over time you will generate a very nice nest-egg. Then allocate money to charity. The best way to break the “I” culture, is to give to others. Obviously the more you save over time the more you will be able to give in the future.
It’s time to turn your finances off the selfish, instant gratification mode, and focus on the long term and bettering society.
The information contained in this article reflects the opinion of the author and not necessarily the opinion of Portfolio Resources Group, Inc. or its affiliates.
Aaron Katsman is the author of Retirement GPS: How to Navigate Your Way to A Secure Financial Future with Global Investing.