People tease you for never spending money, and you’re pretty proud of that. Maybe you grew up watching a family member in financial distress and swore that would never happen to you, or you haunted lots of personal finance forums when you landed your first real job. Either way, you pour almost everything you make into the future — you fully fund your 401(k) each year and opt in to the company match, have an aggressive emergency fund, tackle your student loans with ferocity, and earmark savings for your future wedding, down payment for a house, and an education fund for your kids that you’ll funnel into a 529 account as soon as they’re actually born. The stock market scares you, because you don’t like what you can’t predict. What if there’s a crash, and you lose everything you’ve worked for? Much better to just accrue interest in your savings account, even if it's minimal.
Spending money in the here and now is difficult, and you’re such a workaholic (gotta get that next promotion!) that your spare time is limited. When was the last time you had dinner at a restaurant, or took a real vacation? You buy everything second-hand and fix things whenever possible instead of replacing them. Craigslist and the Buy Nothing Project are your friends, and days when you spend zero dollars are the norm rather than the exception. Scrolling through your friends’ #SundayFunday pics on Instagram, you feel satisfied knowing that’s money you’re not spending today — even though a tiny part of you wonders what you’re missing out on.
You’ve never spoken to a financial advisor, because you think you can manage your finances better than anyone else can. So you scoff when you read articles suggesting you’re saving hard but not necessarily saving smart. As it turns out, you might be saving too much.