It’s Sunday late afternoon, heading into early evening. The neighborhood’s been quiet all weekend but suddenly the sound of lawnmowers ruin the tranquility. You look out and see people in their yards rushing back and forth behind the mowers, sweat pouring from them, and an anything but happy or peaceful look upon their faces. In fact, they look worn out, they look downright miserable because once they’re done with this chore, it’s a quick meal and then to bed, ready to get up the next morning and head to work.
Why do these people leave the lawnmowing chore until Sunday evening, and why the less than happy look?
They’re the victims of instant gratification. Their the owners of not one, but two homes. The second one is miles away where on Friday night, after they leave work, maybe they got a late start because of a meeting, they head out in heavy traffic. Weekends are filled with chores at the second house, the feeling of dread of figuring out how they’re going to pay for two homes (maintenance, insurance, taxes). The realization that they really hate that long commute back home only to face a job that’s draining their soul but they need it to pay for the two homes and the lifestyle that society has convinced them they need to be happy.
We’re creatures of habit and we like instant gratification. The above scenario isn’t just an example. It happens in my neighborhood every weekend. If these people would have opted not to buy the second home, and instead, saved or invested that money, they would be on their way to financial freedom. They might have been able to retire early. They could live happily ever after in the house on the lake or the beach, the one that they don’t have to speedily exit every Sunday lunchtime because they have to head back to the city, cut the grass, pay the bills on the first home, and the next morning, head to the terrible job. No wonder these people never smile.
My question to you is will you let instant gratification ruin your plans? Will you let that little voice that says, I need the beach house now, no waiting until later, take away your goal of financial freedom?
It took me many years to figure out that it’s the I want it now attitude that gets lots of us into trouble with money. It’s the I’ll have it now, pay for it later, that derails the best of dreams. Don’t let it happen to you.
Sit down and make a list of all the things you’ve purchased because of instant gratification syndrome.
Now say three times, my financial independence means more to me than the….you fill in the blank.
From now on think before you buy anything that takes you off the path to FIRE.
And before closing out this post, I’d like to tell you about a couple on YouTube who I’ve been watching for close to three years. I followed Steve’s blog when he was getting ready to retire at age 35 and then followed his journey along with his wife, Courtney, (she also retired early), as they moved into an Airstream trailer and traveled around the country. They recently purchased land and an off grid house in Arizona. Steve has also launched a money advice YouTube channel. I know you’ll find this couple an inspiration and you’ll see how FIRE enables you to live the life you love. Their YouTube channel is AStreaminLife and Steve’s channel is Steve Adcock – No B.S. Personal Finance.