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Safe haven


“Just let the crisis pass, and then we will…”

If we could only count (perhaps someone has done it) the number of times we have put off coffee with a friend, going to the cinema, the theater or at a game, and how many times we gave up on a potentially interesting trip for various reasons, we would be stunned at how much we put off any situation that would probably be comfortable for us. We would be even more amazed at the reasons why we do it: lack of free time, obligations undertaken in advance, lack of money, laziness, consuming time and content from the Internet or social media that causes even more addiction… The natural state of the body is to maintain the existing state, let’s say rest.

Countless times we have heard or noted how expensive milk, meat, ordinary groceries, clothing, and shoes are… There is no doubt that this is true, just as there is no doubt that it is quite impossible that things will become cheaper. Therefore, prices do not stand still. In the vast majority of cases, personal incomes do not adequately follow this growth (inflation), but I do not believe that they are decreasing, at least in nominal terms. In reality, our purchasing power is occasionally reduced, which can cause an anxious feeling because our freedom is reduced. Above all, one thinks of financial freedom, but general freedom begins with it.

In this gap between needs and possibilities, our desires, or our habits, win over. We often do not what we like but what we are used to, which can be called staying in our comfort zone. Thinking about taking action in any direction often ends in a typical student excuse for inaction: “On Monday, I’ll start studying.”

Numerous students may not start studying on Monday (preferably the first of the month), but most of them do start eventually, as many successfully complete their undergraduate education. Hardly anyone felt unsatisfied after successfully completing their education, no matter how long it lasted. The question arises, why don’t we do things that will make us feel satisfied? Let’s say, for example, to start saving? The answer is: because of uncertainty. Any crisis generates, among other things, uncertainty and a reduction in appetite for any risk. Why should I save for the future when I don’t even currently have as much as I would like, what if I lose my investment, I don’t have enough earnings to save this way, I don’t have the funds available if I need them… There is a wide variety of reasons why an individual will postpone or even never make a decision about savings. There is not enough safe heaven for financial resources where an individual could be completely carefree about them, so he decides to spend them immediately and never make a decision about saving in the end. Because he is used to it, similar to the red deer in Šumava after the lifting of the “steel curtain” in Poland.

After the question “why save?” one can ask “why not save” and “what will happen if I don’t save?” The answers will depend on our habits and beliefs, and to some extent, on our experiences. If they are negative, then it is easier for us to find an excuse not to take action. However, we ignore the fact that life is not perfect or a “safe heaven,” especially not in these parts where we live. Then we cannot have a perfect income, neither now nor in the future. The only thing that is certain is that everything is uncertain and that there is always a risk, which people who bet are most aware of and consciously accept. On the other hand, the bookmakers are sure (and they are obviously right) that there will always be a sufficient number of bettors from whom they will make a nice living, although, theoretically, they too can fail if they don’t bet with anyone.

How to find yourself on the other side, be a bookmaker, and be sure of your decision? First of all, reduce your expectations, and then your greed. Many didn’t get the main prize, the jackpot, but that didn’t stop them from giving up trying, although (I guess) they are aware of the maximum risk they are taking. The more comfortable the environment in which they try to win the main prize and solve all their life problems, the smaller their comfort zone and freedom are, and consequently their wealth. I don’t kid myself that “seeking happiness” will ever stop, but I’m sure that happiness is often sought in the wrong places. I am sure that for future happiness, it would be enough to reduce the stakes and transfer the difference directly to your own savings. Whether it is one or two convertible marks per day, it is completely insignificant, but the significant thing is to create that habit.

For everyone else who doesn’t gamble, especially regular employees, the decision is even easier to make. One of the good ways to increase your wealth in the future is to save in a voluntary pension fund, because you can save from your gross salary if it is higher than the minimum wage. For every BAM you save, the state stimulates you with another 64%.

In bookmaker’s terms, the odds of 1.64 always pass, you cannot make a late payment, and it is safer than any tip.

Don’t try your luck, play it safe.

Author: Zdravko Zečević
The Srpska Times



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