I've been slightly under the weather this weekend, so when I couldn't figure out what this Toronto Star column was about, I blamed it on my loopy-headed frame of mind.
If you read the comments, it turns out I wasn't alone. "Not sure whether to classify this article as misinformed, or tongue in cheek," says one. "Or you can live fiscally responsibly, position yourself to be able to live on your own, and then put in the ear plugs to drown out the whining from all those who didn't but expect you to support them!" says another.
The fundamental error in logic here (don't say The Fallacy Detective hasn't enriched my life) is that we're being told it's all either/or. Save your money and be boring and obsessed with saving. Or spend your money and have a life. (That's the part that I wasn't sure whether to take seriously.) "In between birth and retirement comes an actual life. Frightened savers forget this."
The (free) satellite TV channel we watch is loaded with advertisements about foreclosures and credit problems--legitimate fears. But I'd rather be frightened enough to save something, rather than have fun spending and then be frightened by how I'm going to pay the dentist bills, or by how I can get the collection agency to stop calling. [Clarification: yes, those things, and worse, can happen due to circumstances beyond our control. I'm talking here only about what could have been prevented by careful planning and the kind of self-control that the column's author seems to be sneering at.]
Sounds like a pretty clear case of grasshopper and ant, if you ask me.