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Don't Save for Disaster -- That's What Dad's For

When I have advised in previous columns that people in their 20s shouldn't worry about saving money, I'm flooded with hate mail, some of it pretty nasty, some of it well reasoned. After upbraiding me for failing to understand "the magic of compound interest," the point most people make is that people need to save in order to prepare for the worst.

What happens if your car breaks down and you need money to get it running again? What happens if you lose your job and need to support yourself? What happens if you get arrested and need to bail yourself out of jail?

If you get in trouble and need to bail yourself out, the last thing you want is to spend your own money. The best way to avoid that is to make sure you can't afford to fix whatever the problem is. Young people are better positioned to pass off the cost of emergencies than any other group.

I'm sure some of you are saying, "Here he goes again, another facetious column about why you should behave irresponsibly, and this one probably won't even make Page Six of the New York Post."

I assure you, I'm not kidding.

It doesn't make sense to save money in preparation for problems that you may not have to pay for yourself. The person who puts money away for emergencies is giving up opportunities for free money.

Want more? Check out TheStreet.com TV video. Cliff Mason tells Farnoosh Torabi why an emergency savings account does you no good in your 20s.

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