When I was in primary school, I enjoyed reading Aesop's Fables. One I remember is the story of the grasshopper and the ant.
The fable concerns a grasshopper that has spent the warm months singing while the ant (or ants in some versions) worked to store up food for winter. When that season arrives, the grasshopper finds itself dying of hunger and begs the ant for food. To its reply when asked that it had sung all summer, it is rebuked for its idleness and advised to dance during the winter.
The story has been used to teach the virtues of hard work and the perils of improvidence. Some versions state a moral at the end along the lines of "Idleness brings want", "To work today is to eat tomorrow", "Beware of winter before it comes". (Source: Wikipedia).
It is easy to be lulled into a false sense of security when everything seems to be going our way. We must always save and make contingency plans for when things go wrong. When things go wrong, they often do without much warning.
This is one way I like to approach the topic of savings and investment whenever I get to talk to anyone about the importance of financial planning. Unfortunately, there will always be some who say that life is short and they should enjoy it while they can. If things go really bad and they have no options left, they could always end their lives. Really, I have been given such a response before not by one person but by a few people.
In a recent study, it was found that suicide rates often spike during economic downturns, and recent studies of rates in Greece, Spain and Italy have found similar trends.
Every rise of 1% in unemployment was accompanied by an increase in suicide rate of roughly 1%. (Source: The Business Times, Nov 6, 2012.)
We should all be ants instead of grasshoppers. Work and plan for the future.
Related to this, I just found out that I have been labelled a person with a peasant mentality when it comes to wealth building. A peasant "is a member of a traditional class of farmers, either laborers or owners of small farms... The majority of the people in the Middle Ages were peasants." (Source: Wikipedia)
Unfortunately, I was not born with a silver spoon in my mouth. Well, I could have had a silver spoon in my mouth but two generations ago, that spoon went to another branch of the tree. So, I am definitely of the masses and I can only do what I can with my limited resources to move upwards.
For me, to move from a time when I was dependent on my monthly wages to meet my living expenses to now when I no longer have to is an achievement. It could be a modest one in the eyes of noblemen and aristocrats but I will be happy enough to own a fully paid apartment, a fully paid car and to be free of all debt.
So, to the people who called me a peasant, you are probably right in your description. I am a peasant and will probably remain a peasant but I hope to be a happy peasant.
Wage slaves should be fearful.