What is the difference between saving and accumulating money?

Savings accounts can be established for a specific reason, such as vacation or education.

Recent attention to hoarding as an emotional disorder has raised the question of whether there is any significant difference between saving and accumulating money. While the lines between the two can sometimes seem a little blurry, there is an important distinction that revolves around the intent or reason for accumulating financial reserves. Depending on the reason for this accumulation, the activity can be considered responsible and productive, or be extremely harmful to the well-being of the person or family involved.

Hoarding money has no financial purpose, but simply getting as much money as possible.

When saving money, there is usually a specific purpose or intention in mind. This purpose can be short-term or long-term. For example, a family might open a savings account or leverage plug-ins to save money as a means of saving for their next vacation. Alternatively, a family may choose to consistently deposit funds into this account as a means of saving up for a down payment on a home, a new car, or some other goal. Saving for retirement is also considered a goal-oriented strategy that is productive and responsible.

Money hoarders can store money in containers scattered throughout the house.

In contrast, accumulating money has no other purpose than accumulating financial resources. There is no intended target for the funds set aside and no plans to make use of the money at some future time. People who strive to accumulate money often give up their necessities to add a little more to their savings account, such as food or clothing. It is not uncommon for a collector to give up on purchasing health or life insurance, although these features are likely to be beneficial at some point in the future.

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Saving money is usually done with a goal in mind, like paying for college expenses.

Hoarding money involves an unhealthy obsession with accumulating financial reserves. Just as all sorts of hoarding diseases cause people to hoard things they don’t really need, the activity of hoarding money is likely to trigger a short-term burst of good feelings. This is no different from someone hoarding goods by finding a sale and shopping at a deep discount. This emotional euphoria is often followed by a period of depressed thinking, when it is realized that the effort to save has not produced lasting satisfaction.

Saving money is typically goal oriented, anticipating life changes.

For people who suffer from any form of hoarding disease, it is important to identify the underlying causes of the activity. Once these causes are identified and the problems that led to the accumulation are resolved, the individual can return to a better quality of life. For anyone dedicated to accumulating money, this often means rethinking the way they view money and learning how to manage savings and spending in a balanced, responsible way that doesn’t motivate the individual to dispense with necessities or put setting aside money without setting some sort of end goal or use for that money.

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