Delayed Gratification: Balancing Today and Tomorrow

Last Updated on: September 26, 2023

Have you ever heard the term delayed gratification? It is standard advice from personal finance advocates, which I also believe everyone should practice.

Delayed gratification says that we should put a hold on the things to reward ourselves that we think are important today in exchange for a better and higher value of things in the future.

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

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

Part Of Delayed Gratification Is Enjoying Today
Photo By Renda Eko Riyadi On

This does not advertise the YOLO (You Only Live Once) Mentality or discredit delayed gratification. The point is that it is essential 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 on the latest gadgets, traveling every month, or even shopping on every sale.

Yes, it is easier to do many things 5 or 10 years from now because you 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 wasted time.

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 a ‘travel’ account, and letting it grow.

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

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

Enjoying Tomorrow

Enjoying The Future Is Also An Important Aspect Of Delayed Gratification
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Enjoying the future is the tricky part of delayed gratification since many employees are in the habit of living paycheck-to-paycheck.

They often believe they are still young and should not worry about the future, and it would be easier to save when 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 start earning. It does not matter how much or how little your salary is.

You can take advantage of so many investment vehicles if you start early. Even as small as P100 can get you going. The most common products are mutual funds, UITF (Unit Investment Trust Fund), VUL (Variable Universal Life Insurance), and the stock market.

Though there is no guarantee, the historical performance says it all. The longer you invest, the lower the risks 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.

Final Thought

Live in the now and the tomorrow, with one eye on the present while the other focuses on the future.

Regret is one of the saddest words in the English 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 can enjoy life before retirement. Live one day at a time but also think forward.

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

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