To overcome procrastination, we have figure out why we procrastinate in the first place. Is it because we find it overwhelming? Is it because we over-analyze it? Or are we simply just scared? We have to be honest with ourselves and find the source of our procrastination. To figure it out, sometimes that means talking it out with someone, whether it is a trusted confidant or a professional. But once you figure it out, the truth will set you free.
Procrastination ultimately prevents you from taking action, and not taking action prevents you from building wealth. When building wealth, time is your biggest friend, and you…that’s right, you…can be your biggest enemy. Why is time so important? Well, look at it this way.
Hypothetically speaking, say you save and invest $3,600 a year (which is a measly $300 per month), retire at age 65, and earn a modest 8% annual return on your investments in your retirement account. If you start saving and building wealth at:
- 25, you’ll have $1,007,211 at age 65
- 35, you’ll have $440,445 at age 65
- 45, you’ll have $177,922 at age 65
- 55, you’ll have $56,323 at age 65
Or we can look at it from the opposite way. Say you want to save $1 million by 65 (realistically, you’ll probably need way more than that, because a million bucks just doesn’t go as far anymore). You earn 8% annually on your investments. How much do you need to save per month to accomplish this goal? If you start at age
- 25, you have to save $287 per month
- 35, you have to save $671 per month
- 45, you have to save $1,698 per month
- 55, you have to save $5,466 per month
Wow! Knowing this, it makes us wish we started saving out of the womb. Why does time make such a difference? It’s the power of compound interest. It was Albert Einstein that said, “The most powerful force in the universe is compound interest.” But if you haven’t started saving yet, the most powerful force in your universe is procrastination. It’s time to turn that around and listen to Albert.
What if after thinking about it, looking at the numbers, and even a bout of therapy, you are still stuck? Well then it’s time to take a different approach: Don’t think about it. Just do it! Set that appointment with your financial adviser or accountant (and yes, you have to show up. Setting the appointment and not showing up doesn’t do much good). Sit yourself down and set your goals for the year. File through your receipts and organize your budget. That single step will take the monkey off your back, and start your 1000 mile journey.
Keep in mind, there’s no need to try to do everything at once. Just take it step by step, even if they are small steps. It’ll make your finances much more manageable.
Ultimately, there’s no excuse to procrastinate when it comes to your finances. If you can’t do it yourself, there are people who can help. The key is taking it one step at a time. Ask yourself this: now knowing what you know, can you afford to keep procrastinating?
Dustin S. Ma is an independent financial adviser and president of LampPost Planning. He based out of the Bay Area, CA, and can be contacted at (510) 488-3634, firstname.lastname@example.org, or 2010 Crow Canyon Place, Suite 100, #404, San Ramon, CA 94583.
These are the opinions of Dustin S. Ma and are for informational purposes only. This article should not be construed or acted upon as individual investment advice. Please contact your financial professional to discuss these topics. Registered Representative, Securities offered through Cambridge Investment Research, Inc., a Broker/Dealer, Member FINRA/SIPC. Investment Advisor Representative, Cambridge Investment Research Advisors, Inc., a Registered Investment Advisor. Cambridge Investment Research, Inc, LampPost Planning, and shesgotgrove.com are not affiliated entities.
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