Delaying gratification can be tough. The things we want right now are SO tangible. For immediate wants, you can vividly imagine taking that international trip next month, or renovating your bathroom this year, or just enjoying a night on the town.
But it can be hard to prioritize future goals such as:
- Having flexibility in your 60s and 70s to work less and/or retire
- Doing extended travelling
- Paying for kids’ or grand kids’ education
- Buying a second/vacation home
In a recent Journal of Financial Planning article, researchers found that “the ability to visualize and specify goals positively influences whether people delay gratification…if clients are giving generic reasons to save, this may be a red flag that they cannot visualize their goals and feel disconnected from their financial future.”¹
So, in a nutshell, if you struggle to prioritize future goals, your issue may be that you’re not dreaming specifically enough! Vividly imagine what you want your future to look like – the targeted goals will be MUCH easier to visualize and save towards.
See below for examples of how you would further visualize/improve the initial goals I listed.
- Retire at age 62 with $100,000 per year income and the house fully paid off
- Take a 3 week international trip every year (costing about $15,000 per year)
- Fund 4 grand kids undergraduate education at an in-state school (costing approx. $88,000 per child)
- Purchase mountain house in Colorado costing $750,000 to use 4 months of the year
See how you can more vividly imagine the more specific goals? Specific goals get results. Vague goals collect dust. If you want more financial freedom, get specific with your goals!
¹ Zepp, Phillip P. and Heckman, Stuart J. “Clients’ Perceptions of Their Financial Futures Predict Choices.” Journal of Financial Planning. May 2018. 38-47. Print.