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Attention recently given to hoarding as an emotional disorder has raised the question of whether there is any significant difference between saving money and hoarding money. While the lines between the two situations may at times appear somewhat fine, there is one important distinction that revolves around the intent or reason for the accumulation of financial reserves. Depending on the reason for that accumulation, the activity may be considered responsible and productive, or be extremely detrimental to the well-being of the individual or family involved.
When saving money, there is normally a specific purpose or intent in mind. That purpose may be short-term or long-term in nature. For example, a family may set up a savings account or leverage money saving plugins as a means of saving funds for an upcoming vacation. Alternatively, a household may choose to consistently deposit funds into that account as a means of saving a down payment for a home, a new car, or some other goal. Saving for retirement is also considered a goal-oriented strategy that is productive and responsible.
In contrast, hoarding money has no other purpose than to accumulate financial resources. There is no intended goal for the funds that are set aside, and no plans to make use of the money at some future point in time. People who engage in hoarding money will often forgo necessities in order to add a little more to their savings account, such as food or clothing. It is not unusual for a hoarder to forgo purchasing health or life insurance, even though these resources are likely to be beneficial at some time in the future.
Hoarding money involves an unhealthy obsession with the accumulation of financial reserves. Just as all types of hoarding illnesses prompt people to accumulate things they don’t really need, the activity of hoarding money is likely to trigger a short-term burst of good feelings. This is not unlike someone who hoards possessions when encountering a sale and making purchases that are at a deep discount. This emotional high is often followed by a period of depressed thoughts when the realization hits that the effort to save did not produce longer lasting satisfaction.
For people who suffer from any form of hoarding illness, it is important to identify the underlying causes for the activity. Once those causes are identified and the issues that led to the hoarding are resolved, the individual can begin to enjoy a higher quality of life once more. In the case of anyone who engages in hoarding money, this often means rethinking the way they view money and learning how to manage both saving and spending in a manner that is balanced, responsible, and does not motivate the individual to do without necessities or put aside money without establishing some type of eventual goal or use for that money.