Have you ever done something, either nefarious or hilarious, to someone else? Something that almost certainly means payback is in order? Usually you don’t know how or when payback will find you, but you know it’s coming. And all you can do is wait.
It’s a terrible feeling. Constantly looking over your shoulder. Being suspicions of almost everything and everyone. You walk on eggshells, just waiting for the payback to happen till eventually you end up wishing for it to happen so that you can just get on with your life already! The anticipation is awful.
Yes, payback sucks. Do you know what else sucks? Paying back. As in debt.
Payback is a Bitch!
Debt sucks and unfortunately it’s a feeling that you’re probably familiar with. At some point in the past you’ve probably bought something on credit. Something that you wanted immediately and were unwilling to wait for. Rather than putting off the purchase while you saved up enough money to pay cash for it, you borrowed the money instead and got yourself some instant gratification. Paying back the debt would be dealt with later – for now you got what you wanted, and that’s all that really matters. Right?
But, like it always does, the debt eventually comes due. The piper must be paid. So from this point forward, from now until you’ve fully paid off your debt, a portion of every dollar you earn actually belongs to someone else. You now must go to work each day so that you can earn money for someone else, to pay for that thing that you financed.
The more debts you have, the less of “your” money you get to keep. So you go to work, and someone else gets your money. Sound good?
HELL NO! That doesn’t sound good – that sucks hard core and that’s why, as the saying goes, payback is a bitch!
“The jerk store called…”
There’s no easy way to say this: you’re a jerk. At least, you used to be. Decisions you’ve made in the past must be paid for today, and guess who gets to pay up? You do. Think about some of the things you’ve done in the past that have put you behind the eight ball today:
- Old you bought and enjoyed a new car. Current you gets the older, less valuable version.
- Old you got to go on that vacation. Current you gets to pay off the credit card bill that allowed it to happen.
- Old you stayed up late watching TV. Current you has to get up early for work.
- Old you pounded an entire bag of Doritos while watching football. New you is out of shape.
- Old you spent all of his money. New you has nothing in savings.
- Old you didn’t exercise. New you has a killer dad-bod
- Old you is a jerk! Current you can put an end to it all.
Short Term Pain, Long Term Financial Gain
All you need to do is take one for the team (i.e. future you) and do something to help yourself out today. It’s called Delayed Gratification:
“the ability to resist an immediate reward, in order to receive a larger, or more enduring reward later”
Would your life be better today if you’d bought a used car instead of a brand new one? What if you didn’t eat that entire bag of Doritos while watching TV? What if you walked to the store (or rode a bike) instead of driving? What if you paid a little extra on a debt every month? What if you upped your 401(k) contribution by 1%?
Stop playing the what-if game. Quit being a jerk to yourself and do something today that will better your tomorrows. In the comment section below, a fellow personal finance blogger, The Green Swan, points out that delayed gratification not only has the power to make your tomorrow better, but that you get to enjoy MORE tomorrow thanks to the power of compounding interest.
How To Not Be A Jerk
This post labeled you as a jerk because you’ve done things in the past that make your current life more difficult. Stop doing that – today!
Quit going to work for someone else. Get yourself out of the hole that old-you dug, pay off your debts and start to keep the money you make. That’s how you reach financial independence and retire early (and coincidentally, it’s also how you can stop being a jerk to yourself).
- Spend less than you earn
- Invest the difference
- Eliminate, then avoid debt
- Avoid lifestyle inflation
When it comes to debt, abstinence is the best policy. Keep the money you make – don’t give your money to someone else. Don’t pay interest on a loan. Invest that money instead and let it go to work for you!
Getting rich quick takes time, but it doesn’t need to take a lifetime and there’s no better time to start getting rich than today.
Have you ever been a jerk? Hopefully you’re still not being one! Any examples of delayed gratification in your life you’d be willing to share in the comments.