I feel stupid for not saving more money

I used to have it all: a nice house, a reliable car and everything I wanted. I’d save money here and

I used to have it all: a nice house, a reliable car and everything I wanted. I’d save money here and there sure, but I was about enjoying the money while I had it.

I always wanted the best for my children – I wanted them to go to a good school and have all the best things. We had good quality furniture but there were some times when we didn’t have enough money to put good food on the table. Looking back, I was more concerned with how my family looked to others, rather than how well-nourished they were or how much I put away for their future. I had credit cards and debts, sure, but I felt on top of things and even took on some part time work during the day.

Fast forward to me now at 67 and I have nothing to show for those years of work and collection of “things”. I ended up bankrupt at 40 and I still have no real clue how that occurred or how I could be so stupid. I just was a fool with my money and like I said before, material things were what I thought was important. Now, I live off the pension and have no car, no house and barely enough to get myself by. My super I did have I gave to my son to get by and I’m kicking myself. It’s almost as if I was going through life with blinkers on – I had no idea what I was doing and had no guidance money-wise.

The pension is barely enough to get by week to week let alone for the next however many years. I dread to think of my 70s and 80s where the cost of living will just get higher and higher and I’ll barely have 5c to rub together.

My epiphany about money didn’t come until my daughter gave me a real wake up call. When I asked her why she didn’t have a nicer couch, she said “this one is fine!”. I remarked that it looked about 10 years old and she said “if anyone has a problem with how old my couch is, they’re no friend of mine”. I mused that perhaps a friend could comment on it merely because they didn’t like it but she stood firm and said that it didn’t matter in the slightest. It was a trivial conversation but I remember having a meltdown 20 years ago when some neighbours came for a Tupperware party and said my sofa lounge matched their curtains. I made my children’s father go out and buy another before our next party. It sounds stupid now but at the time, keeping up appearances was crucial. If you wanted to look the part, you had to play it… and pay it. I was basically poor behind closed doors but my God, I looked good!

My daughter came to visit last week and said she wished I could drive to her. It made me very upset because not only is it impossible for me to purchase a car now, public transport to visit her 30km away is the difference between dinner for me. If only I had saved my damn money instead of making inane purchases. I’m hoping that the younger generation can wake up to their spending habits before it is too late…. like it is for me.


Tell us, do you wish you had been more savvy with your money when you were younger? Is it hard to live off just a pension now?

  1. So easy to think retirement age is so far away, wish I still had my home and not travelled. Having typed that I certainly had a good life though

    • I have a good job, savings, lovely pooch, car and peace of mind for now, trouble is we do not know whats around the corner. That what scares me

      • Jan Edwards  

        I think I know how you feel, I too have my house, my near new car, my dog and have had the house on market because I am thinking of downsizing but even that costs money and buyers can be very fickle. I have travelled though and I have worked and struggled and I still have some money left. I don’t regret having travelled. I am not here to impress people though, my couch is ten year old and it is still fine.I do like decent food, love to cook and buy trendy if not expensive clothes though. The thing is if I sell I still have to find somewhere else and I hesitate to move into a retirement village as I can take my dog but I won’t own it and end up paying an exit fee. Maybe I shall just stay here and pay someone to mow the lawns. A crystal ball would be so handy wouldn’t it?

  2. The best investment is property,as you and no other leach gets the advantage, the benefit is designed to slowly screw you to the grave

  3. I have spent up to my income but I was putting into super all my working career so that I retired with a regular income. I was not a good saver but I spent mine on travelling more than material things. My book shelves in the spare room until a few years ago were still bricks and planks. I have downsized and gave away most of my books so didn’t need so many bookshelves.

  4. I am in exactly the same situation. However, I did save, and I did try very hard. I am in this situation by making poor decisions and always putting others before myself. If I had done what I wanted and not what others wanted, I wouldn’t have been rich, but I would have been better off than I am right now. But the decisions were mine and I never regret what I have done. I will not spend time worrying about what I ‘could have done’. It’s done and gone and you can’t change it. Make the most of what you have wjile you have it. Learn from your mistakes and above all else, enjoy your life.

    • Oh I so relate to this..you give day after day just because you are a person who hates to see others struggle in life..not only monetary but also of your time and yourself. .and as you say the decision is yours..I always say if we could have had a practice run in this life…but this is it….I have learnt now as I watch those around me that health is sooo important..if we have that then we are so very lucky…money just makes life a little easier.

    • I am extremely lucky. I made a point of not giving my son everything he wanted. Mainly because I couldn’t. But I was lucky in the fact that even when he was little I could talk to him about things and he understood that we couldn’t afford things. I also have never believed it is a good thing to give kids everything. You want something, you earn it. Even now my son seems to like me and even though we are half a country apart, he’s still my friend. I’m also lucky in the fact that his partner seems to likeme and we all get on very well.

    • Refreshing comment Gail. We seem to so easily blame everyone else when things turn out other than we expect but really our life is the sum of OUR decisions and choices. You are rich indeed in what matters. You seem to have invested the important things well and that’s resulted in a loving relationship with your Son and his family. I think we are so bombarded with ads and infomercials telling us if we don’t have this much money by the time we retire we won’t be able to live in the style required. We forgot that there was a time when as long as we had enough and our family we were happy that’s all we needed. I look around and see many families I know with LOTS of stuff but not happiness or gratitude and often significant family issues. Wouldn’t it be great if we could find the right balance???

    • We do what we do. I’ve never been materialistic, changing jobs for job satisfaction rather than high salary. You never know how life will turn out. I’m still trying to find a decent job after a life threatening illness. Considered too old now, so face a life on the pension renting. That’s life!

    • Same here Kerrie, but we’re still here and we get to wake up every morning and I figure that’s always a good start. No matter the situation, there is always someone worse off. Remember to enjoy each day, laugh often and share smiles with the world…..I know I have an overly simplistic outlook, but that’s okay…I can cope with that!! 🙂

    • Keep searching Kerrie. In my early 50’s I was given a job that I really wasn’t qualified for by a great young guy who put his faith and trust in me. He needed someone steady. 8 weeks later he offered to walk me to the station as he wanted to discuss something with me. I decided I was about to be fired but instead he thanked me for my efforts and told me next time he saw me he wanted to know how much PH I wanted in a raise to my wages. So grateful to that young man and this old dog has learnt a lot of new tricks. Believe in yourself!

    • Well done Katrina…great story. I totally agree… never stop trying and make the most of every opportunity.

    • Can’t tell you how many Saturday’s I snuck into work to finish unfinished work because I’m a two fingered typist LOL! Makes me grin now to think of it.

  5. I have a full belly a warm bed a roof over my head that doesn’t leak and loving family and friends. That’s all I need

  6. Retirement means letting go of all that “gotta have/wanna have” mentality for me. This is the time to enjoy what I do have and as long as I have a roof over my head, food to eat, some type of transportation, healthcare, and friends and family…that’s enough. Saving for retirement was never on my to-do list. Enjoy what you have while you have it because retirement may not last as long as you think it will. There are no guarantees. Including money in the bank or investments.

  7. yes we all want the best in life but this often comes at a cost & then retirement looms & gee where am i . if only i had.nt used that credit card so much ? . ( these are a real killer approx 2/3 of our debt is interest related ) makes y think eh.just remember once labour get back in things will change .ie pension age pushed out & means testing for starters.beware you younger ones ?

    • Don have you been missing in action for the past few years or so? Both Governments have a lot to answer for make no mistake.

    • trish hi i understand each govt has plenty to answer for but read my post again allpoints made are very valid & relevant yours in action sincerely

  8. You know what? I am able to manage with care and greatful that I have a beautiful little home and everything I need.
    Sure, there are things I might like, a new car would be wonderful and I have spotted a superb lounge I would almost sell my soul for. But generally I am happy with my lot.
    No savings, but I am a live in the now type of person.

  9. I am in the same situation but no I dont feel stupid. I lost all my savings through health issues and choosing the wrong man who ripped me off.

    • Same situation, got beaten up by drug addict, two years of hospitals and family and so called friends, borrowed and borrowed, now although l am the one who suffered brain injury, they are the ones with the poor memories on loans. Now struggle to live on pension with on going medical and drug costs, eviction next

    • We lived in an era where we trusted one another. Deals were made on a handshake. People changed over the years, many of us didn’t see it coming, and next thing we know we are the ones ripped off, because we still clung on to this ‘trust’. Time to let go, trust nobody and be wary of even your nearest and dearest. And enjoy and live your life for yourself how ever best you can.

    • Unfortunately too many people are to quick to judge. I was once very wealthy and held good jobs and had a house and saved my money. I am not what some people have called “Riff Raff” Just think there for the grace of God go I, and good on you if you have a home and savings. Maybe life has been a bit kinder.

  10. don  

    one of my 3 sons a twin was killed at work 12 years ago at the age off 21 I lost the plot I was alone and lonely so I sold my house to travel our great land .. it was the silliest thing I have ever done I am now 67 with only a campervan no money and just surviving on a pension…. save when you are young you cannot do it when you are old

    • Jan Edwards  

      I am so sorry to hear about your son, Don. There’s a saying I think is true, we are always wise after the event. Not much comfort I know. I suppose that the major thing that affects us as we age is health and being able to pay for health care while keeping a roof over our heads.

  11. I am also in the exact same situation, I had to go out and find fulltime work. Do you now how disheartening that is, depression set in quite badly.

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