#37 (Not So) Starving Artist

“You’re so chubbish, a big fat piggy-boo”

A little girl sitting in her room admiring her piggy bank. The shine of pink against the taped paper on her grey walls, the heft of her consistency, and the feeling of pride. The little girl, as little as she may be, felt strong, and confident with her rosy pink friend sitting next to her bed.

Every time she got some money she tucked it away in her piggy bank. Day after day, week after week, month after month, for years and years.

As she grew up she would walk through the mall with her parents, bright neon signs attracting her attention. She would see other kids excited as they bought new toys, but she would only pause for a moment to take a glance before catching up with her mom.

She often walked home from school passing by a convenience store with other kids just like her buying candy and treats. But that wasn’t for her, she shook her head to herself.

Every night she gazes at the walls of her room. The street lights illuminating the walls filled with her sketches, sketches of her brother, parents and characters she creates, canvases of vast landscapes she paints from the memories of family trips and works from her favourite artists.

Every night, she falls asleep staring at the things that make her the happiest.

One Christmas her Dad asks her to write a letter to Santa about what she wants for Christmas.

Her dad could have guessed by taking one step into her room. A happy family and her art are all she cares about.

The little girl grows up a little more. She's old enough to get her first after school job.

Her love for her family and art still live deep in her heart.

She continues to save. But instead of feeding dollars into her fat piggy, she now brings cheques to the bank every two weeks.

One day tragedy strikes.

Her parent’s car breaks down, no one is hurt, but the repair bill means they may have to cancel the family road trip.

This is the car they take all their family vacations in, it’s the car she borrows when she goes out with her friends, and it’s the car that her parents bring her little brother to hockey practice in.

It’s not her responsibility, but she offers to pay for the car repair because she wants to help out. She can help because she has saved all her life for moments like these. Moments where having money can get you out of a jam.

Her brother and her pile into the back seat. The car is fixed and the family trip is saved. Little girl to the rescue.

Driving along the beautiful coastline for hours, they take a break at a rest stop. While their parents fill up the gas and take in the view, brother and sister wander around. They see a cool food stand and want to give it a try. The little girl pays for her brother. It’s a great feeling not having to run to mom and dad for her own happiness.

Nearing their destination the little girl sees a huge billboard advertising a rare art exhibit that happens to be in town for a limited time. She doesn’t even give it a second thought. She leaves her family to enjoy their day sightseeing, while she spends this rare opportunity to take in the art show. A day that she made possible.

A few more years pass.

The little girl isn’t a little girl anymore. She’s graduating from high school soon and wants to go to art school. But art school is expensive.

It’s her dream. She doesn’t want to compromise on her passion.

She doesn’t have to. She can pay for her own school. She can make the choices others can’t. She doesn’t need to ask for permission.

She never knew it.

She never knew that moments like these were what she saved for. Moments when she would have to choose between what’s “normal” or “practical” and “her dreams”.

When the time comes and the opportunities knock will your saving make those moments possible?

Maybe your sister wants to go back to school to get her life on a good track, you can help.

Maybe your brother wants to follow his dream and start a business, you can help.

Maybe you want to quit your job and do something different with your life that everyone will think you are crazy to do, you can do it.

Or maybe it’s something as simple as treating your 90-year-old grandparents to a fancy buffet lunch with dozens of gourmet choices from cooked to order serving stations, something they never could afford, you can do that too.

When you have money, when you save, you don’t have to do it with a specific goal. You never know where your life is going to take you, you don’t know what opportunities, what moments you will be presented with. You never know when you will be presented with a moment so unique you wish you were ready to take it. 

Be prepared for when luck comes your way.

How often will you be so lucky?


Save Money Retire Early is written by Jon Lo, a barely 30 something change optimist, and personal finance guy. I believe anyone can be rich or poor, it's what you save that makes the difference.

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