Our Top 3 Tips for Combating Financial Procrastination
Life is beyond busy in today’s world. As a result, we all procrastinate. It’s human nature and we come by it honestly, it’s just easier to set aside tasks for later so we can get through today, right? But sometimes, amid all the hustle and bustle, we forget about tasks like planning for our financial future. While we all dream of retirement, our kids graduating from university debt-free, and, living a long and healthy life, planning requires a bit more than mere dreaming. And procrastinating on putting plans in place isn’t good for your wallet or your wellbeing either. And while taking time to think through and consider a decision — perhaps postponing it until after you’ve eaten or slept (and especially after consulting with an expert and your partner) — will help you make the best possible choice, tossing it on your backburner for months or years is a bad habit.
While some people are “pressure prompted” (they need a deadline to do their best work), that notion just doesn’t apply when it comes to financial planning and preparing for your retirement, your kids’ post-secondary tuition, or your death. So, we have to actively put it at the top of our long list of to-dos. Easier said than done, right? How do we carve out the time for financial planning, for planning for a future that seems miles away? And how do we do it amidst parenting, relationships, travelling to and from work, running errands, exercising regularly, meal planning, home maintenance, and resting? We barely have enough energy and time to manage our lives as is, never mind the stress of making room in our budgets for our futures or what ifs.
The key is to stop being financially reactive and start being financially proactive. Here are our top 3 tips to combat financial procrastination — because planning for your future doesn’t have to be a struggle:
1. Recognize that the right time is right now
As humans, we have this terrible habit of waiting for “the right time” or waiting until “we’re ready” to take action in our lives, whether it’s eating healthy, exercising, budgeting, or financial planning. We seem to think there’s a sweet spot for tackling the tough things in our lives, for facing reality. Assessing our current situation and making a plan to improve it means we have to face reality, as terrible or scary as it might be. So to cope with it, we procrastinate, we put it off, we wait for the right time. But the longer we wait to see what money is coming in, what money is going out, and where it’s going, the more precarious our financial situations become. You start by starting, so recognize that the right time, is right now, and get started.
2. Commit to one hour to begin your plan
With the dawn of smart phones, we’re inundated with heaps of apps — some of which are useless timesucks (Candy Crush, anyone?) but some that are incredibly useful like Google Maps, Password Manager, Evernote, or Tiny Scanner. But the best apps for your financial life are ones like your bank’s app, Mint, IOU debt manager, and Good Budget. If you can commit to one hour to download an app and start inputting data, the task is much less daunting, and chances are, you’ll get an hour into it and want to finish it up no matter how long it might take. By making the time to look at your spending and saving habits, thinking about what you want, and planning accordingly, you can create a plan that reflects your values and goals and helps you get there. Which means you’ll find a way to direct funds toward RRSPs, RESPS, and life insurance — you know, the big, important stuff.
3. Utilize an online or robo-advisor
Gone are the days of sitting down for hours with financial advisors and insurance agents looking to make a sale (for their benefit, not yours). Today, technology has created an opportunity for regular, every day, hard working folks to get solid financial advice with robo-advisors. If you’re new to investing, a robo-advisor is a great option since the minimum investment is often lower than with a traditional financial advisor. But they also simplify the process, making it easy to understand and access while also carrying lower fees and being super convenient. For RRSPs, RESPS, and TFSAs check out Wealthsimple, ModernAdvisor, or WealthBar and for life insurance, we’ve got you covered here at GoLife where we’ve simplified what often feels like an overwhelming process, making it easier to assess your needs, offering expert advice, and letting you work at your own pace all for much less than you think it will cost.
At GoLife, we’re all about empowering you to make educated, confident decisions about your future — we’re here to help.