DELAY YOUR GRATIFICATION TO SUCCEED FINANCIALLY
The ability to delay immediate gratification has been observed to be a trait exhibited by many financially-successful people.
At its most basic premise, delayed gratification refers to one's capability (some say skill) to put off the realization of something pleasurable or rewarding at the present moment in order to wait for something that may give you greater rewards at a later time.
The concept of delaying gratification is increasingly becoming important in the financial planning space due to the effect of impulsive and even capricious consumer behavior in quickly depleting people's limited financial resources.
For instance, the explosion in the popularity of many consumer goods or merchandise...from Apple's iPhone and iPad...to Starbucks' gourmet coffees and teas...to even Disney's latest movie tie-in toys, typically induce people to abandon their sense of self control and their ability to think straight.
Something as simple as buying cellphone load even when the family budget for food and other basic necessities is compromised is a cause for worry.
They instantaneously make the decision to purchase and then try to think of how to re-arrange or re-configure their budget later. Worse, many often resort to borrowing from family and friends. This puts them in a vicious debt trap that will be hard to escape from.
This type of money behavior, when repeated often, is bound to take you to the waiting gates of financial collapse very quickly.
So what are some of the steps to take so that you can incorporate the concept of delayed gratification into your financial decisions? Here are some suggestions:
(1.) Always think of your long-term goals for you and your family. Compile a list of the things you'd like to provide for your family in 5 years, in 10 years, in 20 years. Place the list somewhere you could easily see it so that you do not easily get distracted from your goals.
(2.) Know the contrast between needs and wants. Always prioritize the need. If you determine something is a want, wait a while longer before actually making the purchase. That way, you allow yourself a bit more time to crystallize your thoughts and hopefully make the right decision.
(3.) Make your extra money as hard-to-access as possible. Place your expendable money in a mutual fund, UITF or even just a time deposit account. That way, it is not immediately accessible and you may need to wait a few days to get your hands on the cash.
(4.) Always bear in mind that today's fads will soon become outdated. Remember that you will be stuck with something that nobody will think of as cool in the future.
(5.) Do not spend beyond your means. This is one of the cardinal rules of personal finance planning. It remains a major pillar in the concept of delayed gratification.
Delayed gratification is quite hard to practice especially if you are not used to it. However, it is well worth learning.
Each one of us is unique. Everyone needs to figure out what will best work for oneself.
Is it envisioning your children's future? Is it seeing yourself in retirement? It really is up to you.
But if you keep on making impulsive purchase decisions and fail to delay gratification, you’re damaging the future for yourself, your spouse and your kids.
Save and invest as early as possible. And always look out for your future.
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Edwin T. Bartolome
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