Here are some nifty calculators for your enjoyment.  After the calculator gives you the actual number in that sentence at the top, click to expand to see the data and the chart-it's impressive!

I particularly like the "convert discretionary expenses to savings" calculator, in which you enter a regular luxury expense, like a Starbucks or Dunkin Donuts latte, at a cost of $4.00 a day, 30 days a month for 20 years.  Presuming you are in a 35% tax bracket, that sum (if you DIDN'T BUY latte, yet invested that $4.00 per day, 30 days a month for 20 years at an 8% return) equals $62,386!

This really highlights the effect of compounding, especially over longer time periods.  Am I saying you can't indulge in luxuries?  Absolutely not!  However, IF you can cut back on some expenses, or even cut back on the frequency of some expenses, like treat yourself to a purchased latte 3 days a week, (and make your own latte at home the other 4 days a week investing that saved $4.00 per day for 18 days each month, earning 8% annually over the next 20 years) you could amass $37,431 in the above example.   See how moderation works in everyday life and with everyday, simple math?

I love ANY tool that helps us mortals determine the long-term effects of our current decisions, since the marketing swaying our current decisions is powerfully strong; impulse spending is rife. 

I, too, am human, and subject to impulse buying.  Yet I do ask myself the question, "if I love myself and honor my goals, should I buy this now?"  and more times than not, that's just the impetus I need to remind myself that I, too, have medium and long-term goals, and no, I don't want to sacrifice them to every whim of mine.  Just sayin'.

Retirement

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