Finally, the ability to spend money without looking at the price tag. You see the clothes you like, buy! You see that pair of shoes, buy! You see that air ticket, buy! Does this sound like financial freedom? I once heard someone said that you will know you have reached financial freedom when you can buy things without looking at the price tag. However, there's just one problem. You will never get rich or achieve financial freedom if you're living your life like this now.
Not looking at price tags sounds a bit too exaggerating. Most of us do look at price tags before we buy anything. Most of us even compare prices and try to buy at a discount. However, doing all these and you'll realise you're still poor. The problem lies in looking for stuffs to buy. But, its not just that. There's an even deeper secret to being rich.
Delayed gratification is one of the defining advantages in our human life. Somehow, some of us will be able to put off spending now for a better future. Ask a dog or a cat to save money for their future and you'll have to wait a thousand years for it to happen. The signs of delayed gratification shows up early in life. From the way kids behave, we can see if he or she has the patience or the willpower to persevere in times of trials. When given sweats or chocolates, some kids will keep them for later consumption while some kids will take the opportunity to consume everything when their parents are not looking. Kids who are able to hold off gratifying their desires instantly will do much better in life in the future with fewer money and debt problems. What goes on in the kids' brain when they think of keeping or eating the sweats?
Kids have good imaginations. They are also creative at that young age. They can imagine themselves to be super heroes or prince and princesses living in their own imaginary planet and castles. As we grow older, these imaginations start to fade away as we're caught up with the reality of this world. So what separates the instant gratification crowd from the people who can delay gratification? Why some kids keep the sweats while some pop it into their mouths instantly?
A research by the University of Pennsylvania shows that the key to saving money for the future might not be self-discipline, but rather the ability to imagine that tomorrow, indeed, is coming. It was written in an article I read here. Those who could imagine a better future with the money saved now will find that saving money is easier. It is the aspiration of living a financially free life later in the future that prompted many people, including me, to start saving.
A couple of years ago, I found some compelling edvidence that saving and investing money now will indeed reap many benefits in the near future. Yes its near and not when you're too old to walk or travel around. I found out that most people reach financial freedom in their early 40s and some even in their 30s when they delay some of the gratifications when they were younger in their 20s.
Putting off spending will be hard for people who only think of the now. It is always the thought that if I don't spend now, then I won't have the chance to spend again in the future which kills the discipline to save. The future seems far for these people. However, the future does arrive faster than what we thought. Putting off that impulse purchase might not seem much at first but it is the lifestyle that is being built which is important. If you earn $2000 and can survive with just $500 per month, you're saving $1500 a month. When your income increases to $3000 and you still maintain the $500 lifestyle, you now save $2500. Money in your bank account will multiply faster than what you thought and you'll reach the financially free stage much faster than imagined.
So, the next time you have the impulse to spend, think of what your future will be like if you continue living your current lifestyle. Will you retire at a young age or will you work to an old age? Kids have good imagination. Adults or young adults like us can have some imagination too.
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