Book Study
Lesson 4

Save For Your Future Self

You, as a saver, can see your future self as a:

OR

Right now, how connected are you to your future self?

1: Total Stranger.....5: A very distant friend.....10:Totally United

Your Future Self Video

Self-Control

A famous Stanford experiment involving having children wait to receive an extra marshmallow showed that children who have self-control predicted higher SAT scores and healthier body-mass indexes (among other benefits).

Self-control is an often over-looked fruit of the Spirit.

When it comes to saving, we rarely exhibit self-control:

  • 42% of Americans have less than $1,000 in savings as of 2022.
  • The average American savings account balance is $4,500.
  • Between 1959-2022, the average U.S. savings rate has been 8.96%.
  • The average household savings rate in the U.S. was only 5.1% in the second half of 2022.
  • Only 28% of Americans could survive three months on their emergency savings.

What can be done?

3 STEPS to more self-control so that you can save: 

  1. Connect to your future self
  2. Add automatic rules
  3. Visit the eighth wonder of the world

STEP 1: Future Self Continuity

Future-self-continuity (FSC) is an area of research that has been popular recently has policy makers and academics have tried to understand why people are not saving for their elder years. If you don’t feel connected to yourself in the future, you lack future-self-continuity.

“For those estranged from their future selves, saving is like a choice between spending money today or giving it to a stranger years from now”

See exercises at the end for how to better connect to your future self, which will provide a higher motivation for saving.

STEP 2: Automatic Rules

Every person is conflicted by two different time horizons within them: a “doer” and a “planner.”The doer seeks to maximize the enjoyment of the present moment while the planner seeks to maximize enjoyment over whole life period, which requires exerting costly self-control that restricts spending.

Given that most people lack the required willpower to consistently overpower their fun-loving “doer,” most people lack the self-control to be able to save without some kind of help.

One way to trick your doer into doing things without exerting any willpower is to set up automatic deductions from your paycheck for savings. Once you set this up, it takes willpower to stop it, so you turn the tables on yourself and make it hard for you to stop saving since that would require you to exert costly willpower to change the automatic rules you have set up.

Use your employer or bank to automatically deduct from your paycheck or checking account money into a savings account.

STEP 3: Visit the Eighth Wonder

Compounding interest = interest earning interest.

Compounding interest is the eighth wonder of the world

Albert Einstein

Why did he say this?

Compounding interest grows exponentially, not in a straight line (i.e., simple interest).

This is incredibly powerful.

What else grows exponentially?

Cell growth of a baby in the womb.
Covid-19 started with 10 individuals and within a few months touched billions.
12 disciples became millions of Christian

An exponential function is not impressive in the beginning, but becomes very impressive if you just give it a little time.

Compounding interest is a powerful tool for achieving goals.

It is often the only way for people to achieve big saving goals.

GOAL

Build reserve for elder years of $1,500,000 in 30 years, earning 10% per year.

  • Save per month without compounding: $3,750
  • Save per month with compounding: $664

GOAL

Build a $1,000,000 inheritance in 25 years, earning 10% per year.

  • Save per month without compounding: $3,000
  • Save per month with compounding: $754

Roth IRA

When saving over a long period of time, a Roth IRA is a good vehicle to hold your savings.

WHY?

  • The primary reason: grows tax-free, which will steepen the exponential growth of your account balance.
  • Also: Roth IRAs are taxed now and then not ever again. Traditional IRAs are not taxed until the money is taken out. Students have very low tax rates now, so it is best to get taxed now on contributions at a very low rate, and then not have to worry about getting taxed later at higher rates.

Heavenly Compounding

Because compounding interest is so powerful, should we all focus on growing money, and giving the larger amount at the end?

While compounding interest is powerful, there is actually another process that is 100,000 times more powerful:

“Your Majesty looked, and…while you were watching, a rock was cut out, but not by human hands….It struck the statue and became a huge mountain and filled the whole earth.” Daniel 2:31-35, NIV

Save Today

To take advantage of exponential growth of interest

Give Today

To take advantage of the exponential growth of the Kingdom

How do you choose between saving and giving? You work through what it means for you to use spending and saving as tools to ultimately “excel in giving.”

Personally, for me, to “excel in the grace of giving” means to find the savings amount that I consider the “minimum amount” to save that allows me to maximize my yearly giving over my whole life.

Once I begin saving, where should I put it? Bitcoin? Stock market? Bank account?

The levels of investing

LEVEL 1

Eliminate high interest and short-term debt 

  • Stuck in the mud until you do this
  • Risk-free, high-returning investment

LEVEL 2

Create emergency fund 

  • Avoid future debt

LEVEL 3

Major purchases

  • Irresponsible to invest in risky ventures when you know you need to buy things that are required for your daily living. 
  • Pay for cars with cash. Rarely a good idea to lease a car. *

*While a car lease is convenient, there are several reasons to avoid them:

  • It’s a wreck if you wreck it, or it’s stolen.
  • Best deals mean limits on how much you drive every year (i.e., 12,000 miles).
  • Damage fees get very expensive and are very stressful.
  • Interest charges add up, and are usually hidden.
  • Hard to cancel without harmful consequences when life turns sideways.
  • Requires good credit.
  • Lots of fees.
  • If you lose your income, you lose your car the moment you need to use it to find a new job.

LEVEL 4

Meet Long-term Family Goals

  • Save to replace lost income during elder years – use the stock market to grow money.
  • Purchase a home.
  • College education.
  • Launch business.
  • Change lifestyle.

LEVEL 5

Experienced, Active Risk Taking

  • Stock investing.
  • New business investing.
  • Real estate investing.
  • Gold, silver, collectible investing (including Non-fungible Tokens (NFTs))
  • Currency and blockchain investing.*

*Bitcoin should only be considered if Levels 1-4 are taken care of. Once you are at Level 5, there are many concerns about investing in Bitcoin (or other Blockchain currencies):

Spiritual Concerns:

  • Are you content with God’s provision for you? If not, then by pursuing a highly risky venture, you may be chasing after wealth. Chasing after wealth is a timeless trap. 
“Those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.” 1 Timothy 6:9, NIV

Emotional concerns:

  • Psychologically, gaining easy money is one of the worst things that can happen to you. You may change as a person if you get easy money.
  • It lays the seeds for future gambling addiction and discontentment.
  • There is no cure for gambling addiction. It has been called the #1 hardest addiction to overcome.

Practical Concerns:

  • Unregulated (many powerful players can steal, cheat, and manipulate the system, and that may cost you a lot of money).
  • Risks unknown.
  • Must be approved by power institutions to truly be legitimate.
  • Hurts the environment.
  • Primary currency of child sex trafficking, terrorists, and drug lords.
  • Highly complex storage requirements.
  • Not a good barter option during plague/war/famine – gold would be better.

Activity: Save for Your Future Self

You May Complete Activity on PDF Worksheet

Connect to future self

  • Diagnose your current future self continuity.

0: Don’t care about my future self; total stranger

10: I completely care about my future self.

  • Use an aging phone app so that you can take a look at your future self.
  • Write a letter to your future self, explaining what you want to do today that will benefit your future self.
  • Draw your current reality versus your future, idealized reality. This does not require drawing skill. See video below for ways this can be done.

Open Account

Open an account and contribute a small amount into it. Only consider regularly contributing into this type of account if you:

  • Have no consumer debt.
  • Have an emergency fund built up.
  • Have enough cash savings to replace your car, computer, and clothing (in order to avoid future consumer debt).

Remember that any money in a Roth IRA is not meant to be accessed until your elder years. Penalties and extra taxes may apply if you try and take the money out prior to age 59.

Elder years reservoir

Your elder years is a predictable time where you will have lost income that will need to be replaced.

STEPS for Calculating Savings needed for Elder Years Reservoir:

(1) Find expected salary:

(2) Use retirement calculator:

Nerdwallet calculator:
Bankrate calculator:
Dinkytown calculator:

 

Annual/monthly amount to save for elder years reservoir:

$______________

Automate Savings

Out-fox your present-self into caring for your future-self. Use an app that automatically moves money into different types of savings/investing accounts. 1x per year, move the savings into Roth IRA account if you don’t need it.

Chime

A great banking app with a slightly lower yielding savings account that has many tools to automate your savings: https://www.chime.com/automatic-savings/

Opportun

Oportun is an automated savings app that analyzes what goes in and out of your checking account. It then moves funds periodically from checking to savings in amounts its algorithms believe are safe to save. https://oportun.com/

Qapital

Like Opportun with more ability to set up savings rules. https://www.qapital.com/

Acorns

Once you link a debit or credit card to the fintech app, Acorns will round up your purchases to the next dollar and invest that spare change into a diversified investment portfolio based on your goals. You can also set up a recurring transfer into Acorns. https://www.acorns.com/

Surrender Savings

Look at any savings balance once-a-month and declare to Him that this money is His, for His purposes to help fulfill your financial mission given to you by Him. And that you do not want to miss out on being a character in the story of God’s Kingdom coming to earth, whether that means keeping the money until later, or surrendering it to His purposes today.

Find a financial professional

See Chapter 15 of the Appendix on this website.

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