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Savings is what creates confidence in your financial life. Its presence increases your ability to survive an unknown future, which gives you permission to make other choices from a place of strength and confidence.
Budgeting, cutting back, and spending less, while potential strategies that allow you to save more, are not in themselves the hero of financial confidence.
Paying off all your debt does not create financial confidence. Imagine you have all your debts paid off, but lose your income. How long could you last without major problems? Would you rather have a mortgage payment and 12 years of savings, OR no mortgage payment and no savings?
Savings helps you face the unknown, feel proud, feel independent, and realize your life goals.