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Soft saving

Will the soft saving trend hurt your financial future?

If you spend time on social media platforms like TikTok and Instagram, you’ve seen the soft life trend gain momentum. It’s about creating a lifestyle where you prioritize self-care over a stressful life working long hours.

A soft life aligns with your values, where you do what makes you happy and fulfilled, like getting enough sleep, pursuing hobbies and practicing meditation. It’s not necessarily about being unproductive but finding ways to achieve goals without sacrificing your well-being.

What is soft saving?

Now, the soft trend has taken over financial behavior, particularly with younger generations, and is known as soft saving. Soft savers want a balanced approach to personal finances, and they prioritize spending on experiences and enjoying life instead of aggressively saving for the future.

For instance, soft saving emphasizes mindful spending over consumerism. Having a job with a good work-life balance takes priority over climbing the corporate ladder to get the next big promotion.

Whether you got used to a new way of life during the pandemic or have been challenged to save with the rising cost of living, it’s essential to understand the pros and cons of putting the brakes on your savings and financial goals by becoming a soft saver.

What are the pros of soft saving?

Balancing a good life in the present with making financial sacrifices for the future is a common dilemma most people face. Traditional financial advice encourages young people to begin budgeting, saving and investing sooner rather than later to get a headstart on building wealth.

However, many Gen Z and Millennials reject the idea that they should live a hard life today in the hopes of enjoying a soft life in their golden years. A soft savings plan means you might buy fewer possessions, have a minimalist lifestyle or spend money on experiences while you’re still healthy enough to enjoy them.

If embracing soft saving helps you reduce stress and improve your well-being, there’s no doubt it comes with tangible benefits. Boosting your quality of life, health and relationships isn’t something most people regret in old age.

What are the cons of soft saving?

The main downside of soft saving is underestimating the financial resources you may need in the future. Coming up short means you could be extremely uncomfortable in your later years when earning an income may be difficult or impossible.

Soft savers may get forced to work longer than they’d like or rely solely on meager Social Security retirement benefits if they don’t have enough wealth to last their lifetimes.

Roughly two in five Americans say they’ll need at least $1 million to retire comfortably, according to Finder’s Consumer Confidence Index. About 24% of survey respondents say they’re underprepared for retirement, and 12% say they’ll never be able to retire. Depending on your goals, soft saving could keep you from accumulating enough wealth to retire with your desired lifestyle or at all.

In addition to soft saving, there are other trending financial topics on social channels. About one in five (21%) Americans say they get financial advice from social media, according to Finder’s survey. While that may not seem like a lot, it’s only two percentage points behind those that said they rely on a traditional advisor for their financial advice (23%).

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For instance, FinTok, the section of TikTok dedicated to sharing tips for saving, eliminating debt, and growing wealth, is hugely popular with Gen Y and Gen Z. In fact, TikTok is the third most popular social media for people to get their financial advice (50%) and the number one social destination for Gen Z looking for financial advice (59%) on social media.

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And it’s Gen Z and Gen Y driving personal finance trends on social media. Earlier this year “cash stuffing”, a budgeting technique where you withdraw cash and divide it into envelopes for various categories, such as rent, groceries, and entertainment, went viral. The idea is to set up physical cash barriers to overspending so you stick to monthly allocations. In a previous survey, Finder asked whether or not people had heard about cash stuffing, with 16% saying they had. However, there was a massive generational divide, with 58% of Gen Y and 55% of Gen Z saying they either knew about it or have used cash stuffing as a budgeting technique compared to just 27% of Gen X and only 8% of Baby Boomers.

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While you can find excellent financial advice on social channels, be critical and don’t assume everything is right for you. Also, be wary of any influencer who tries to sell you something or makes unrealistic promises about financial gains. Always do your own research and consult with certified financial advisors when you have a significant financial decision to make.

How to boost your soft savings rate

Instead of assuming that soft savings are necessary to live a better life today, it could be possible to earn more on the savings you already have with a better financial product.

For example, consider transferring your savings to a high-interest savings account that pays a market-leading annual percentage yield (APY). And if you have a retirement plan at work, such as a 401(k) or 403(b), with a company match, always contribute enough to get free additional contributions from your employer. That’s extra money you don’t have to do any extra work to earn!

Saving small amounts over a long period is the key to building wealth. For instance, by investing $400 a month for 40 years with a 7% average return, you can retire as a millionaire.

Money is a tool for achieving short-term happiness — but it must also get saved and invested to reach your long-term goals, such as buying a home, starting a business and retiring.

If you’re getting soft on savings, be sure you’ve identified your financial goals and create a plan for reaching them. If you’re unsure you’re saving enough for emergencies and long-term goals like retirement, consult a financial advisor for help creating a budget and a financial plan.

About the Author

Laura Adams is a money expert and spokesperson for Finder. She’s one of the nation’s leading personal finance and business authorities. As an award-winning author and host of the top-rated Money Girl podcast since 2008, millions of readers, listeners, and loyal fans benefit from her practical advice. Laura is a trusted source for media and has been featured on most major news outlets, including ABC, Bloomberg, CBS, Consumer Reports, Forbes, Fortune, FOX, Money, MSN, NBC, NPR, NY Times, USA Today, US News, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, and more. She received an MBA from the University of Florida and lives in Vero Beach, Florida. Her mission is to empower consumers to live healthy and rich lives by making the most of what they have, planning for the future, and making smart money decisions every day.

This article originally appeared on Finder.com and was syndicated by MediaFeed.org.

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