For many of us, we see something we want and we buy it, without really thinking if we can afford it or not. After all, the decision as to if we can afford it never comes up as we just pull out the plastic from our wallet, swipe, sign and leave with the item in question.
For those that have a solid financial base and for those that have a large net worth, they both have one thing in common ñ they learned the power of patience. What exactly is the power of patience?
It’s learning to delay gratification. Today, we as a society are fixated on instant gratification. We sign up for Amazon Prime so we can have our packages in 2 days. We wait in line for hours or days for the new iPhone.
It’s not even limited to buying things either. We need our news 24/7. We can talk about TV shows or issues instantly with Twitter.
Everything must be known about now and items must be had now. Instant gratification is also a reason why people pass up investing for their retirement. They don’t want to wait 40 or more years to save their money, they want to spend it now.
For others, they do invest, but are only focused on the short-term and end up buying and selling investments like it’s the end of the world. Then they get upset when they never make any money.
If you want to have a solid financial foundation in your life or you want to get ahead and eventually get to financial independence, you need to learn to delay gratification. Here are a few steps to help you achieve it.
3 Steps To Delay Gratification
Wait. Yeah, it really is that easy. Unfortunately, it is easier said than done. Advertisers have spent billions learning about our trigger points and what gets us to buy. They use this information in our weakest moments to get us to spend.
The best thing we can do is to simply wait. When you see something you want, don’t buy it. Write it down, take a picture of it, etc. Then wait a few days to see if you still want it. If you do, then you can assess if you really need it or not. If you don’t want it, congratulations, you just saved yourself some money!
Visualize. I’ll admit, that the waiting game from above doesn’t work for me 100% of the time. In fact, it probably only works 50% of the time. But, I still successfully practice patience. The strategy I use is to visualize.
Sit down and think of what you really want in life. For me, it is to retire early and do the things I love to do: blog, travel, relax, play golf, etc. It is during these times when I am most happy. I then take some time to close my eyes and visualize my life when I reach this point. I’ve even found a few pictures that remind me (and excite me) about this goal too. I take them and put them next to my computer and in my wallet.
Now before I can buy something, I see the picture and it reminds me of my goal. I pause and question if I really need the item in question.
Make Goals, But Keep Them Small. A final way to learn to delay gratification is to make goals. Using the example of early retirement, let’s say you want $5 million. That is a great goal, but it is going to take you time to reach it. If you are like me, you will see your investments slowly grow and get thrown off track thinking your goal will never be met.
This is why you need to make smaller goals in the mean time. Have the end goal of $1 million in 20 years means that you need to have $500,000 in 10 years and just $250,000 in 5 years. Focus in that first $250,000. These smaller goals along the way will help you to stay focused on your ultimate goal and not give into instant gratification.
In the end, if you ever want to be successful financially, you need to learn how to delay gratification. If you don’t, you have little hope of reaching any sort of financial control. Use these steps to help you master your emotions and you will find that financial success will begin to happen.