Obviously, we’d all choose to be good at both.
But if you HAD to choose between one or the other, which would you pick?
This will probably come as no surprise, but I think I’d rather be good at saving.
If you aren’t good at saving, you can never earn enough.
As I was pondering this question, the finances of celebrities came to mind.
Musicians, actors, professional sports players…there have been so many of them that have earned unspeakable sums of money and yet have ended up basically penniless.
If you have no savings skills, then you can earn limitless sums of money without ever really getting ahead financially.
The money will just go out as fast as it comes in.
If you are good at saving, then even a little can be enough.
A person who can consistently save 10% of a small income will end up in a better financial place than a person who earns a million dollars a year while also spending a million dollars a year.
I mean, sure, spending a million dollars a year would probably be pretty fun. But being penniless at the end of the year is not exactly fun, so I’d still rather be the saver than the earner.
Besides, a high income is not guaranteed for a person’s whole lifetime. If that source of income dries up, the non-saver is going to be in a lot of trouble. If you spend everything you earn, you are only ok as long as the earnings are there.
That’s a precarious and stressful place to be.
Also, there’s security in knowing how to make do with a little. The million dollar earner/spender is dependent on that high income and is not going to have any financial wiggle room with out it.
But a saver who is used to keeping expenses down will have a cushion and will also be able to make the cushion last for quite a while even in hard times.
Luckily, we don’t have to choose.
Most people are going to be better at either earning or saving, but things aren’t as black and white as all that!
Savers can learn to increase their income, and earners can learn to keep some of their earnings.
Because the very magical spot for happy finances occurs when you can earn more money AND save more money.
What about you? If you had to choose, would you rather be great at earning or great at saving?
P.S. One benefit of being a high earner that I didn’t mention: you’d have a lot of opportunities to be generous with others. Your own financial security would still be terrible, but it would be nice to be able to help a lot of people.