Is There a Cultural Difference When it Comes to Saving?

I was fortunate to find the time to visit family recently and I must say that I enjoyed it immensely. This get together made me realize that there seems to be a penchant in my family for the guys to marry women from European decent. My wife is Portuguese, my brother’s wife is Italian, and my aunt is English. Despite our commonalities, I know there’s a prevalent cultural difference in the way we manage money and use banks for our investments.

The proliferation of credit and the ease to which we can access it has resulted in the perfect storm, whereby some people are living beyond their means through the accumulation of debt, yet others well within it. Those who have amassed debt only mask the relative wealth they feel they have. These people have many things, but they also owe a lot on them. This results in a zero or negative net worth. Our net worth is when we add up all of the things we own and subtract everything we owe (this includes loans, mortgages, credit card debt, etc.). The problem is that because we have things; we have the false feeling that we’re worth more.

The problem is not with the banks, rather with how we ‘view’ money. Banks serve a very useful way for people to save, invest and pay their debts. Sometimes we forget that we’re the customer and the banks serve our interests. We need to change our view to seeing them as partners in our money management goals. For example, I know I couldn’t have bought a house if the bank wasn’t willing to give me a mortgage. Yes, I negotiated by asking questions about what they could do for me, rather than just settling on the posted rates. It sounds simple, but few people leverage the banks to better manage their money whether it’s by asking for lower rates, strategies on investments, account types, or tools and information. I’ve saved thousands of dollars simply by asking questions.

There’s a way to rein in this spending behavior and change our perceptions of money. All it takes is a first step, and it isn’t that complicated.

  • The first and most obvious is to begin to pay down your debt. We’ve all heard the banks say it, now its our turn, put more than the minimum payment down and consolidate debt where it makes sense to lower your interest costs. Yes, it’s that simple!
  • Start to save. Pay yourself as you would pay a bill. For me, I’d be looking for the best savings and investment account anywhere from Texas to Vancouver.
  • Reduce your housing costs. Don’t become house poor.
  • Put your credit cards on the side and begin to pay cash. Only spend what you have now, not what you expect to make in the future. This will stop the financial blood-letting. Unless of course you have the self-control to use the credit cards to your advantage, gaining points, and always paying off your outstanding balances.

Now, I’m not a big saver; rather an investor. What ever you do it’s important to ensure that you don’t live beyond your means.

How do you know you’re living beyond your means?

  1. You have less than 5% savings based on your gross income or you’re not saving anything.
  2. Your credit card balances are growing instead of shrinking.
  3. Over 30% of your income is being directed to your home.
  4. Your bills are rising or you’re getting new bills.

What makes a good investment is when what we receive is greater than the investment we put into generating it. I only need to learn from my Aunt’s British conservative side to set me on the right path.

Are you taking the right steps to saving to stop living beyond your means?

Money Today, Gone Tomorrow

I got lucky today when I was told I could cash out some unused leave or leave it and cash it out when I quit or retire. At first, I wasn’t quite too sure what to make of this good fortune. With 10 years left to retire, I thought about leaving it alone. I figured that my salary would surely be higher than today thus increasing the actual amount of money that would come my way. I looked at it as a long-term savings plan. But, then again, I could find ways to use the money now. I was in a conundrum. What to do?

How do I know the value of the money I have now and in the future? To figure this out, I turned to my good Spanish friend, Martin de Azpilcueta, who developed the concept of the time value of money to help understand what our money is worth today and tomorrow in relative terms. Incredibly, he developed this concept hundreds of years ago in the early 1500s.

The value of money today has a future value that’s the same as today. Let’s look at what this means. For example, $100 today, invested at 10% for one year will be worth $110 one year from now. Most of us would assume that the value of the $100 invested at 10% and paid in one year is now worth more than the $100 I started out with. Not so. If we compare these two, the $100 today is the same value as the $110 paid one year from now. Why is this? It’s because of the notion of the value over time. This core principle is that, as long as you gain value or earn interest (to increase the value of your investment), any amount of money is worth more the sooner it’s received.

This is an important aspect to understand. It’s an aspect that will help you break free from your long-held notions of postponing your life well into the future. Taking the money now will be worth more the sooner you begin to put it to use. So, there I had it. Thanks to Martin de Azpilceuta I decided to take the money now and live for today.

Do you have a time value of money problem?

Other Time Trading Gurus


Jana presents How To Align Yourself To Your Work And Achieve More posted at Blog, saying, “Oftentimes the things we want to achieve can be achieved with less action and more alignment. Here is how to align yourself to your work and achieve more by doing less.”

Marjorie Kowalczyk presents 5 Steps On How to Make Time For Yourself Even If You Are Busier Than the Busiest Bee | Daily Workhorse posted at Daily Workhorse.


Aloted Omoba presents Achieving Work Family Balance posted at Super Working Mum, saying, “Maintaining a a healthy work family balance is one concern almost every working mum I know has. You probably worry about this as well. Here are some tips to consider.”

Shaun Rosenberg presents Is Motivation A Trap? posted at Shaun Rosenberg, saying, “This article look into one of my favorite quotes of all time. “The whole idea of motivation is a trap. Forget motivation. Just do it.” by John C. Maxwell.”

Bryan Chau presents Essential Skill for Success – Critical Thinking! posted at Success Pen Pal – Bryan Chau.


Eran Eyal presents 6 Reasons why outsourcing development sucks for Startups posted at StartupHat – Eran Eyal on startups, raising funding, design, UX and Innovation, saying, “There’s a reason that the concept of  ”Hackers and Founders” is entrenched as a concept – burned in the mind of all entrepreneurs in the tech space – it’s because not having a tech co-founder often drives the founder to outsource development.”

Jason Hull presents Why Didn’t My Company Grow Bigger Faster? posted at Hull Financial Planning, saying, “An evaluation of why the company I co-founded didn’t grow bigger, faster before I sold it.”

Theresa Torres presents Pay Off Debt or Save: Is It Better to Save Money? posted at Tips, saying, “Undecided whether to pay off debt first or save? Here are some figures and scenarios to guide you.”

Mr.CBB presents Life, Money and Retirement~Skype Doesn’t Reach Heaven posted at Canadian Budget Binder, saying, “Sometimes we need to ask ourselves why we work so hard for all the money we make and whether we are spending our time wisely. Pouring your life into one basket risks leaving behind potential memories that you might not be able to go back and get. Take time to evaluate your life, your priorities and your future.”

Dream Process

John Schmoll presents Taking the Plunge: What the Hell Have I Done?! posted at Frugal Rules, saying, “You learn a lot about yourself when pressed up against a wall. I found myself in this situation last summer after starting our business. By persevering through it I was able to grow and seeing the value of not giving up on oneself”

Dale Shanklin presents Even the Best Get Rejected at the Wrong Time posted at Dale Shanklin’s Personal Development Blog, saying, “Good timing is perhaps the most crucial aspect of success. Dale Shanklin shares a story from Hollywood that proves this point. Even the best ideas can get rejected at the wrong time.”

James Hamlett presents We Make Our Own Breakthroughs! posted at James Hamlett.

Nelson presents THE YOUNG ACHIEVERS GROUP: Facts about success posted at THE YOUNG ACHIEVERS GROUP.

That concludes this edition. Submit your blog article to the next edition of
work life balance and goal setting using our carnival submission form. Past posts and future hosts can be found on our blog carnival index page.

Finding Value

As I sit in a leather chair, sipping tea, and gazing around the library I can’t help but feel somewhat mesmerized by the knowledge resident in the musty and torn books lining the shelves, row upon row. It’s a funny thing when you look at it. Here, as in many towns and cities, is a community gathering place full of history, knowledge, and information. Each day people peruse through the holdings, some stressed as they frantically search for a book to cite for an overdue paper, others meandering from shelf to shelf, just hoping to find something interesting, and still others determined to seek out missing information or just curiosity. Yet, really what everyone is looking for is value.

Just as people look for value hidden in the library, people look for value in their lives. Some are fortunate to discover this value early, others spend a life time. And, as the library, the value is usually right before our eyes, we just need to know what it is we’re looking for.

We all possess the ability to find what we’re looking for; it’s just that most often we work all our lives without really knowing the value of life that is front of us.

Let me demonstrate. It’s like the person who buys a building without knowing the ‘real’ value that lay beneath it. In time he turns the building into a restaurant, and the land on which it sits is in the downtown core. He toils away over the years in the restaurant business, but times are tough. The number of clients is down, profits have disappeared, and he’s on the verge of bankruptcy.

After some reflection, he decides he must sell the restaurant. So he hires a real estate agent to sell it. After many months of no offers, he lowers the price. Several months later he lowers the price again. It’s difficult to sell a restaurant in tight economic times. He’s now so desperate that he’s willing to just give it away to stop paying a mortgage on an empty building.

One day, while walking, he had an epiphany. The restaurant was what he was trying to sell, but this wasn’t where the real value was. It was the land. The land had always been there, but he only thought of it as a restaurant. The land was suddenly discovered and the value utilized. He demolished the restaurant and listed the land for fifty times the price that the restaurant was listed for.

It sold the same day. Why? The restaurant had limited value. In economic difficult times, people don’t eat out as often, thus the value declined. When he truly began to discover this by himself, he realized that the land had more value than the restaurant. The property was located in prime real estate in the center of a bustling city. The location was ideal for condominium development. The land had significant value to developers, not a restaurant, as they were in the building profession, not the restaurant business.
By discovering and utilizing the value of the land, which was always there, he was able to sell—not the restaurant, but the land, and for significantly more.

To find the real value in life it’s important to reframe your perspective to discover and utilize the value of things in your comfort zone. Beneath the surface of everyone there’s a latent capacity greater and more valuable that has yet to be discovered. It’s a great day in one’s life when they truly begin to discover themselves.

Have you been able to find your value?

Feel free to share your answer in the comments.


Other Time Trading Gurus


John Schmoll presents Is Your Retirement Planning Frightening? posted at Frugal Rules, saying, “Looking at the statistics, many people are behind in a big way in terms of saving for retirement. Don’t allow yourself to be another statistic and start now, even if small and it will help that discipline of saving money over time.”

Shaun Rosenberg presents 14 Simple Steps to Overcoming Laziness posted at Shaun Rosenberg, saying, “We all have goals we want to do in life, but we can’t do them if we give into our inner laziness. Here are some tips to get motivated to work on our future when we just want to sit down and watch t.v.”

Jon Rhodes presents How To Instantly Relax In Any Situation posted at HypnoBusters, saying, “This article shows you a wonderful and highly effective technique that helps you relax in any situation. It really does work, and is totally free!”


Jason Hull presents Your Business is Always for Sale posted at Hull Financial Planning, saying, “From the moment you’re open for business, it’s for sale. People say they’d never sell their businesses. They’re wrong. Everybody has a price. Here’s how to prepare for selling your business from day one.”

Theresa Torres presents When You Can’t Pay Them All – Deciding Which Bills to Pay First posted at Debt RoundUp, saying, “Here’s a guide to help you decide which bills to pay first if you find yourself in financial difficulties.”

Jesse Abbey presents The Rich Mindset posted at JBMA, saying, “An article on wealth and oddly enough…cheese sandwiches. If you want to read a humoristic article on money, people’s responses to it and how to get the rich mindset, come check it out!”

The DREAM Process

Jana presents Being Rested: How It Sets You & Everyone Around You Up For Success posted at Blog, saying, “Contrary to popular belief, when we put ourselves first, and take care of our own needs (like being rested), we set ourselves and everyone around us up for successful results.”

That concludes this edition. Submit your blog article to the next edition of
work life balance and goal setting using our carnival submission form. Past posts and future hosts can be found on our blog carnival index page.