One of my favorite movies of all-time is American Beauty. The 1999 award-winning film stars Kevin Spacey who played Lester Burnham, a 40-something guy who hated his job and was on the brink of a mid-life crisis. The inflection point was when he saw his daughter’s gorgeous 16-year-old cheerleader friend, Angela Hayes (Mena Suvari), perform during a half-time dance routine at a high school basketball game.
Lester becomes so infatuated with Angela that he began having sexual fantasies with her. He becomes obsessed with youth that he started to live his life like he just graduated from high school. And when he was told that he was about to get laid off, he instead blackmailed his boss for $60,000. He then quits work anyway choosing to work as a crew in a fast-food chain instead– the position with, in his own words, the least amount of responsibility.
But what really caught my attention is the scene where Lester Burnham wonders in his cubicle while seeing a reflection of his image on the monitor, which resembles a guy trapped in a jail cell. With the numbers on the spreadsheet forming the jail bars in his mind, it’s pretty obvious that he felt imprisoned by his job and wanted an escape. A feeling that many people can sympathize.
Whether to prioritize a retirement saving or pay off debt is a vital question to assess for people who are in debt. Some people think that paying off debt first makes sense. But what about the retirement? If you don’t save for your retirement, you may have to work for a longer time than an average retirement age.The dilemma is genuine.
On the other hand, the conventional wisdom says that people should start saving money for their retirement before paying off debts. Because, the sooner you start saving, the more time your money will get to grow.
If you have multiple debts with a higher interest rate, then the debts are costing you more money every day. Because it is a matter of assessing the interest rate that you are accumulating. You are actually losing money by paying the interest rate on the debts. You have to take initiative to pay them off to save money on the painful interest rate.