We live in a subscription-based consumer market. As I write this, I can (and do) subscribe to everything from free 2-day shipping, to television and movie streaming services, right down to the razors I use to shave my face. I've even seen subscriptions to wardrobe services where the latest fashion trend gets boxed and shipped out to me every month, in my size, so I can look my best. All of these subscription services get automatically drafted from my bank account or credit card, and I don't think twice about it. It's pretty awesome, actually. I get excited when a new package is in the mail or on my doorstep. Maybe you do too. I’m even more excited when it has my name on it. It's like getting a Christmas present 2–3 times per week. I love it.
You may be wondering what subscriptions have to do with saving money or even creating a total financial plan. It's simple. I've spent almost the last decade teaching individuals, families, and companies how to save money. In the past, I viewed my competition as being another financial advisor, insurance company, or investment firm. But about five years ago I realized that was no longer the case. My real competition was companies like the online mega retailers promising free 2-day shipping, and the thousands of subscription services making it so easy for people to buy into on a monthly basis. I realized that these types of companies were competing for the exact same thing I was, your discretionary dollars.
It became clear to me that people (including myself) have been sucked in to subscribing to all kinds of different types of services and auto-shipments. But we were neglecting to subscribe to the one thing which would actually benefit us the greatest when we needed it most, our savings and retirement accounts.