How the focus on immediate and short-term is sabotaging your future.
Instant gratification is the desire to experience pleasure or fulfillment without delay or deferment. Basically, it's when you want it; and you want it now.
Modern society and consumerism is built on the foundation of instant gratification. Marketers profit on the shortsightedness of consumers, those who “impulse buy” and focus only on their short-term happiness. Believing something is a “good deal” and only available for a “limited time” or in a “limited quantity” is what makes even the most rational person part with their hard-earned money very easily.
Those who are able to achieve financial independence and ultimately build their wealth always look longer term. They are not prone to buy the flat screen t.v. ( if they don’t have the money) because they recognize that the short-term happiness and “feel good vibes” they will acquire with the purchase will not bring long-term fulfillment.
Wealthy people are able to see the effect that their spending (and saving) habits will have not a year down the road, but twenty years down the road. They can view the “big picture” (and it is not necessarily displayed on a 52” 3-D enabled smart t.v.).
The difference between accumulating debt and building security (through wealth) has everything to do with setting long-term goals, establishing priorities and evaluating every financial decision you make.
It involves making decisions today, with thought and foresight. Spending recklessly, aka: “Living for today” with no contemplation or reflection is a destructive habit that has been marketed to us to squander our money. “You can’t take it with you” is entirely true, but you CAN give to others – donate to charity and leave a legacy. Instead of “living in the moment” why not be “present in the moment” acknowledge that splurging thoughtlessly will not bring you long-term joy but short –term hits of adrenaline which quickly fade. Like an addiction to drugs we are addicted to consumerism. Instead of “buy buy buy” we really need to sit and contemplate, be grateful for all that we have, and shift our focus on how we can be happier with less.
Do I need this?
Will this bring me joy?
What are the long-term consequences of this purchase?
Could this money (that I have worked so hard to earn) be used more productively?
Could it pay off a debt?
Could it be invested for my future?
When we think of all of the unnecessary impulse buys we make in a year ($20 a day/365 days a year) this equates to roughly $7,300 a year. Directing that $7,300 every year in unnecessary purchases into an investment (earning 6% interest) in 10 years could equal over $110,260. Let that sink in for a minute.
Here is a brutal truth: when we tell ourselves that we have no money to save or invest we are lying to ourselves to feel better about our crappy decision making.
Everyone regardless of their situation has the ability to pay themselves first, and create a better future for their self and their family. We just need to take off our short-term blinders and see how the decisions we make today will resonate beyond tomorrow and our instant gratification.
Brooklyn Scott is a Financial Advisor/Mutual Funds Representative for Lewis & Jones Group/Desjardins Financial Group/Desjardins Financial Security Investments Inc. in Killarney, Manitoba.
Mutual funds are distributed through Desjardins Financial Security Investments Inc. For insurance products, Desjardins Financial Security Investments Inc. acts as a national insurance brokerage agency.