Procrastination is a common nemesis that derails many plans and can sabotage your financial success. It whispers false promises like “there is plenty of time” and tempts us to engage in actions that provide instant gratification rather than help fuel our future growth. Allowing this parasite to infect you can cause paralysis and potentially a fatal blow to your financial life if you aren’t careful. Let’s dive into why financial procrastination happens.
Why do people procrastinate when it comes to their finances?
#1 It is depressing.
Perhaps you are not as far along or haven’t been as successful in your financial journey as you’d like to be, so you avoid it completely. It is a natural human tendency to avoid activities we deem unpleasant. We would much rather focus our energies on things that invoke positive feelings and give us a sense of accomplishment. However, if you make a list of the benefits you will derive from putting the time and work into your financial health, it will become clear it is a mindset issue, and that you are the only one standing in your way.
#2 It is intimidating or overwhelming.
Many people view finances as complex. You may not have a solid understanding of it and perhaps have little confidence in your ability to learn/comprehend it. Many tend to shy away from areas of weakness rather than explore them. There are many tools and resources available to help in areas such as budgeting. There are many apps that help you get organized, visually see where your money is going each month, and hold you accountable.
#3 Financial discussions may lead to disagreements with spouses/significant others.
The vast majority of people prefer to avoid conflict. Knowing a certain topic may provoke heated disputes or act as a catalyst to the potential dissolution of a relationship may cause individuals to abstain from having any conversations that touch on such topics. Keep in mind that conversations do not have to be adversarial. Remaining calm and laying just the facts on the table opens the door for healthy communication. Explore steps you can take to stop fighting over money.
#4 Live in the now syndrome
It is easy to be seduced by the allure of instant gratification. We are faced with choices every day. Some feed our immediate needs and wants, and for others, the reward will not be realized until much farther down the road. In a world where we are constantly being trained to select whatever provides an immediate increase in dopamine levels (social media, technology, buy now/pay later…the list goes on), it can be challenging to remind ourselves there needs to be balance. If you can find balance and make choices that will yield long-term reward, your future self will thank you. Many people underestimate the value of compounding. Compounding is when an investment earns a return and the gains on the initial investment are reinvested and begin to earn their own returns.
#5 Lack of time.
We have all used the age old “I don’t have time” excuse. The truth of the matter is we do have time – we are just choosing to do something else with it. Schedules are busy. Our days are like an incessant conveyor belt pushing more and more items on our task list. What we fail to see is that we are in control of the conveyor belt. We can push the stop button at any point in time or make the decision to replace an item with something different. Tony Robbins makes a great point when he says, “life happens for us, NOT to us.” We are the architect of our lives making conscious decisions every day. We choose how and where to devote our time. So, think long and hard about your priorities and choose to devote time to those things that will yield growth regarding your personal development, while also supporting those goals and priorities you have outlined.
Financial procrastination can take a toll on your finances. If you are interested in working with a fee-only registered investment advisor fiduciary to help you navigate your finances, please contact us at 410-840-9200 or visit us at www.mainstadvisors.com.
Forbes. (March 2021). 6 Ways Procrastination Robs You of Time, Money and Opportunity
Forbes. (November 2023). Best Budgeting Apps of November 2023