Are “Extreme Savers” sacrificing too much?


Clark loves people who save their money responsibly. But when is enough enough?

A recent article in the Los Angeles Times caught Clark’s attention. It talked about David, a 44-year-old schoolteacher who, though he’s never earned a large salary or inheritance, has managed to save millions of dollars by spending as little money as he can. He’s an “Extreme Saver.”

Extreme Savers are those who save over half of their pay at all times. Clark himself is in this club, saving 2/3 to 3/4 of his income every year. But at what point is it going overboard?

The story’s angle suggested that this fellow was denying himself a good life–that he really needed to lighten up. But David replied that even if he had $10 million dollars, he wouldn’t live any differently, because money doesn’t make him happy. It’s just how he’s wired.

Some of us are pre-disposed to spend every penny that comes into our hands. Others have the opposite problem. If you’re on either extreme, it just may be a good idea to modify your nature a bit. How do you do that?

Baby steps.

When Clark hears from extreme spenders, he puts them on the 1% plan, where you begin by saving just 1% of your salary per month. Then, after 6 months, increase that by another 1%, and so on, until you get to 10%. If you still aren’t feeling the pain, allow yourself to save even more!

The strategy for becoming a successful saver is very similar to the idea behind weight loss: it’s a marathon, not a sprint.

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