Mr Fredricksen Should Have Saved More For His Trip!

After the Aladdin parody, I am on a roll with cartoons/movies and today, we shall be picking up some simple personal finance lessons from the movie “UP”.

“UP” is one of my favourite movies in recent years. Its really a heartwarming show and I happened to have watched it a few times already. The best parts are actually the opening scenes which never fail to induce moisture in my eyes. I have placed a video below in case you don’t understand what I am talking about.

I really feel for Mr Fredricksen and can’t imagine the day when my dear wife isn’t around anymore. Being an old widow/widower without children/close friends is a situation I wouldn’t even wish on my worst enemies. (On a side note, perhaps the local government should buy the rights to these opening scenes and play it at venues young couples patronise. I am quite sure it will encourage couples to have children/more children.)

But all these has nothing to do with personal finance, 15 hour work weeks or semi-retirement right?

Well, what I am also upset about is the fact that Carl and Ellie had to break their piggy banks (money saved for their biggest goal) for almost every small unexpected emergency in their life. The movie did not reveal their incomes and expenditure (those kind of movies doesn’t sell, does it?) But what’s apparent was that they were simply not saving enough.

I am not trying to be too tough on Carl and Ellie since they led a very simple and (most importantly) happy life. Selling balloons and being a zookeeper seems really quite fun and enjoyable compared to my office job. But maybe Carl could have learnt to become a balloon sculpterer to delight more customers and also earn a higher income? Or perhaps they could have downsized their home to unlock their home equity? These are just some suggestions for the Fredricksen family to enable them to achieve their goal of making THAT trip to Paradise Falls. And to do it when they were still relatively young and active.

Okok, I know I am sounding like a broken recorder again, nagging at my readers to save more. I have to admit that sometimes, I am really a bit too fixated on cutting down expenses and increasing our saving rate (wife would attest to that). But seriously, to allow it to jeopardise our happiness and well-being?! You have got to be kidding! Afterall, the aim of an earlier semi-retirement is to actually maximise our happiness and well-being.

Therefore, I am not asking anyone to forego their long-awaited vacations (although you could always go pay a visit to our Southeast Asian neighbours instead of North America or Europe all the time) or shower in cold water (especially with the weather these days). The key is to cut down those frivolous expenses that provide little long-term or even short-term benefits. In fact, some of them even do more harm than good.

Spending $800 a month on alcohol? (As commented by a reader. And yeah, I read every single comment, even when I occasionally don’t reply them). It’s time to reduce the frequency of hangovers. Changing a handphone every year when the latest handset is out? It’s time to read this article and cut down on the amount spent maintaining that mobile line. Unless your ultimate goal is to be drunk every other night or to show-off the latest handphone to the chicks at the pub, it’s time to take out a scissors and snap off these money-draining cords from your life.

Whether it’s fulfilling your promise to bring your parents on an overseas trip, paying off your student loans/mortgage debt, or even saving up for semi-retirement and starting a 15 hour work week, your hard-earned money would be put to better use in these worthy goals. I am pretty sure Mr Fredrickson would have benefitted from this piece of advice.

P.S. Hope you enjoy this shorter (after some seriously long ones recently) post and video!

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2 thoughts on “Mr Fredricksen Should Have Saved More For His Trip!

  1. Jared Seah

    Hello 15 HWW,

    I was just about to comment on your previous post and glad you made this follow up post 🙂

    I think the video says a lot about savings, being the end all and be all.

    1) Life is not a straight line extrapolation.

    Savings are not just for early retirement (your paradigm); it’s also for spending during joyous occasions, to help out love ones during times of distress, and for unexpected emergencies.

    Being miserly and thrifty are not the same.

    2) “But maybe Carl could have learnt to become a balloon sculpterer to delight more customers and also earn a higher income?”

    What happened to tripling of savings rate? (Gentle poke)

    Don’t get me wrong. I’m with you on option 1. That’s part of my journey too 😉

    Imagine you are now earning $40,000 per year like most average graduate your age. How would you feel if someone earning $65,000 per year tells you you should SAVE more?

    How about someone earning double your salary taking pity on you and “suggesting” how you can EARN more?

    3) We can say what’s good or bad for us – it’s our life, who can fault us?

    Unless we have walked in the shoes of others, don’t be too quick to judge 😉

    Different folks; different folks.

    1. My 15 HWW Post author

      Hi SMOL,

      Did this follow up post placate you then? LOL

      For 1), I agree that the unpredictableness of life is what makes it special. And yes, being cheap is uncalled for. However, I still believe in limiting one’s expenses. Otherwise, how can one then have excess moolah to help out loved ones in times of distress?

      For 2 and 3), you are totally right. I am not diminishing the fact that earning more income or having higher returns is important. It is indeed harder for someone earning much less to save more. Even as a %, I agree it’s hard for the bottom 20 percentile (income) to even save 10% of their salaries. Increasing their income would then be the right lever to leverage on.

      Different strokes for different folks. For Singaporeans who are earning a similar (or higher) income with similar commitments as me, I still feel that most of them would benefit from saving more!

      I understand that I might be seen as judging others and some of the content may even appear offensive? But wouldn’t the content be boring if I was politically correct all the way? Maybe if I am more “in the face”, it could help to jolt some readers to take some action and improve their financial behaviour.