Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Saving Money the Wrong Way

When I was growing up my father was out of work more often than he or my mother would like to admit. We rarely, if ever, had medical insurance; as such getting sick was not an option. Spending money on doctors was just out of reach for us. Saving money was the priority; the little of it we had. The problem, as it happened, was that I got very sick and passed out while at school. I had an ear infection that ended up puncturing my inner ear. Obviously I did go to the doctor as a result and it costs so much more to treat than if I had gone when I first got sick.

This is a common tale.

Many parents are skipping childhood immunizations, well-care appointments, and allergy testing to save money. We're buying processed foods, fast foods, and energy drinks instead of fresh foods to feed our kids because fresh costs more. Times are tough. I get it. But I truly adhere to the old adage - "pay now or you'll pay later." Bottom line is we'll pay, but I guarantee you it will cost more later.

Federal and state budgets of education have been shrinking. Times are tough. I get it. But spending less on education doesn't make sense. It may account for a smaller bottom line in the short term, but we're going to pay more later as our children enter adulthood unprepared. Instead of contributing to society, they will be takers, and that costs everyone more.

The Senate is proposing a bill that will increase spending on students with disabilities. Will it pass in this current climate? I applaud them for the proposal, but recent history has shown that we are not really interested in meeting the needs of the most vulnerable of us. We vote down any increase that doesn't affect us personally. But as I said, we'll either pay now or we'll pay later. Students with disabilities can be contributing members of society; but if we don't support their education now, they will be more dependent on society later to meet their needs as adults.

In order to invest in your future, pay now. The price is just going to go up if you wait.

My recommendation? Go through life with the least amount of regrets possible.