A very common excuse that I hear when it comes to getting on better financial footing is “later”. “I just don’t have the resources right now” or “I’m focusing on other things right now, I’ll save later”. Consequently; things like paying down debt or saving for retirement often takes a back seat to other things. ‘Later’ becomes our excuse to put off making positive changes. Now sometimes there is a good reason for saying ‘later’ but too often it gets abused!
It never gets easier
I completely understand that in some situations in can be tough to actively save or pay down debt. Sometimes every penny of our paycheck seems to go towards this or that, whether it’s basic necessities like gas and groceries or making minimum payments on your credit card bill. However, we are all creatures of habit, and we get accustomed to a certain way of living. So when we finally get around to have a few extra dollars to put aside (whether by improving our debt/expenses situation or by getting a raise), the funny thing is that more often than not, we’re not apt to put those dollars aside. We’ll instead focus on growing into our new lifestyle. Let’s face it; it will truly never get easier. We’ll always have things calling for our attention (restaurants, clothes, entertainment) and those cries will only grow as our income level does. As our income grows, so does our needs and wants. If you can’t find the willpower to save now; it will unfortunately not get easier later on.
Even a little sets the stage for success
After we get passed the idea that it doesn’t get easier and that one should be saving, the next stumbling block is how much to save. The individual will start saving a little each paycheck, but will often get hung up on how little they are saving. “Is it even worth putting $20 aside each paycheck?” That’s like $500 over the course a whole year…pocket change! All very true statements. Sure, over the course of our lifetime (time value of money), an extra $500 might not make that big of a difference. Assuming your income continues to grow (fingers crossed), you’ll be able to save so much more later, is it even worth saving a little now? Yes! As mentioned in the first point, saving now means you’ll be much more likely to save later. It’s not so much the amount of the saving, but the action of the saving.
Bad habits are hard to break
It takes how many days to build a new habit? At least 21 days, right? Bad habits are probably much harder to break than starting new positive habits. We’re creatures of habit, stuck in our ways. Once we get in the rhythm of doing things one way, we’re likely to keep going down that path. Being in a bad habit of not saving now will be hard to break in the future. Excuses, wants, needs will all get in the way of our saving, and as we’re used to giving in and saying ‘yes’, we’re much more likely to continue doing so rather than saving.
Hopefully this article has chipped away at any desire to say ‘later’. Just remember; it won’t get easier, even a little can help, and bad habits are tough to break. So whether you’re putting a little extra aside for pay down some student loans, or placing a few extra dollars each month into your retirement account; show some willpower and get to it!