We all chuckle at the popular videos of people giving their young child a marshmallow and telling them not to eat it. The child is told if they wait they will be rewarded with 2. When left on camera we see the struggle is real! The children are in agony and we can almost read their minds as they look around the room seeing if anyone is looking at them. Some of them give in to impulsivity and eat it. Others wait and are praised by their parents and are awarded another marshmallow.
Aren’t we the same when it comes to managing our money? Yes, it’s pretty satisfying to have something right now and enjoy it. It’s also satisfying to look at what I’ve saved and invested and all the compound interest I’ve earned for the long run as well. Both are satisfying but only one of these will help us meet our financial goals and impulsivity can be a financially crippling enemy.
In our impulsive society it’s hard for us to understand that slow and steady wins the race. Yes, we all read that children’s book with the tortoise and the hare, and we probably even talked about the concepts we were supposed to learn. Slow and steady wins the race, right? Putting these things into practice can be a real struggle for us in our culture with ads everywhere in our faces constantly. Sometimes going against the grain can feel good especially if we have in our minds what our goals are. We even have the opportunity to teach others as we teach ourselves and become excited about doing things differently so we can set ourselves up to win. For example, I can choose to drive an older car and that can be a vital part of my plan to retire early. If someone asks about my older car it’s an opportunity to talk about financial choices and goals. They might even be inspired to make some of the financial choices you’re making!
The bottom line is that managing our money well takes discipline and consistency. These are probably the opposite of impulsivity? We can all choose to get better at adulting every day by selecting maturity and self discipline. We will survive without that impulse, immediate gratification buy. Matter of fact, we can write down everything we said ‘no’ to in a month and even celebrate making progress towards good money management! It feels great to have a fully funded emergency fund! It feels even better to be debt free!
“Discipline is more than motivation. Discipline pushes past the desire to quit when motivation runs out.”
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