Delayed Gratification: Enjoying the Present Without Sacrificing the Future

Last Updated on November 25, 2021 by Rat Race Running

Have you ever heard the term “delayed gratification”?

It is common advice from personal finance advocates, which, according to them, everyone should practice.

Delayed gratification says that we should put a hold on the things that we think are important now in exchange for better things tomorrow.

Though it is not wrong, I believe it is also not entirely right.

We should learn how to live life in balance. Enjoy our time today while considering its implications for 10-, 20-, or 30- years into the future.

Enjoying Today:

This is not to advertise the YOLO (You Only Live Once) mentality or discredit delayed gratification. The point is, it is important to determine your middle ground.

This is the place of balance-a way to prioritize and compromise between needs and wants while not forsaking your responsibilities and future.

Enjoying today does not mean splurging in the latest gadgets, traveling every month, or even shopping on every sale.

Yes, it would be easier to do many things 5 or 10 years from now because you probably have a higher income. But by then, you will also have more responsibilities.

Remember that the time you neglect yourself, friends, and families are ALSO time wasted.

Enjoying today is not entirely an issue with finances but instead with time.

As the cliche goes, enjoy the little things in life. Watch a movie with friends, treat your family to dinner, go on a simple vacation, try traveling on a budget, hike mountains, and do other simple activities without breaking the bank.

Even with a small income, you may start by setting aside a few hundred pesos every month, putting it in a ‘Guilt-free’ and/or a ‘Travel’ Account, and letting it grow.

Try setting small, realistic, short-term goals, and do it.

Always remember that money is just a tool, so there is nothing wrong with enjoying it now and then.

Enjoying Tomorrow:

This is the tricky part since many employees are in the habit of living paycheck-to-paycheck.

They often believe that they are still young and should not worry about the future, and it would be easier to save when they are earning more.

However, the problem with this mindset is that, as previously mentioned, the issue is not the money. The real issue is time.

Time can be our fiercest enemy or our greatest ally. It all depends on how well we use it.

Plan for your retirement as early as you started earning. It does not matter how much or how little your salary is.

There are so many investment vehicles that you can take advantage of if you start early. Even as small as P5,000 can get you going. Mutual Funds, UITF (Unit Investment Trust Fund), VUL (Variable Universal Life Insurance), and the stock market are the most common products.

Though there is no guarantee, the historical performance says it all. The longer you are invested, the lower the risks become, and the higher the earning potential.

Set your long-term goals. Define them to the specifics. Know how you can get them. Place a price tag. And put a deadline.


Live in the Now and the Tomorrow, with one eye in the present while the other focused on the future.

Regret is one of the saddest words in the vocabulary. So while living in the present, try enjoying it as much as possible and spending time with your loved ones.

Know your middle ground. Prioritize and even compromise at times.

Remember that you don’t need to wait for retirement to enjoy life. Live one day at a time but also think forward.

Most importantly, always thank God for all the blessings that you received and will receive along the way.

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