One Reason Most People Are Financial Failures

Avoiding pain today guarantees pain later.

We live in a world of immediate gratification.

If you want something right now, you can get it. Your wants are a click away on your smartphone; clothes, groceries, dinner, and more.

Building wealth is not so easy.

The journey to financial success requires discipline and time. You have to focus and feel the pain to be successful with money.

Most people want results right now. It makes sense that research shows the attention span of a human is now less than that of a goldfish.

The long, bumpy road of delaying gratification for financial comfort later is diametrically opposed to the dopamine-infused existence provided in our always open society.

Saving money for the future is painful.

People purposely avoid pain.

When you face making a sacrifice for future gain, you often choose to avoid the pain now. You know that going out to dinner with friends will impact your ability to hit your monthly savings goal. However, you go out with your friends instead of staying home and eating ramen noodles.

This makes you feel good at the moment. Eating out with friends is fun. The restaurant meal beats crappy noodles.

And at the end of the month, you’ve saved nothing for your future. You move on to the next month, more strapped for cash than the last.

Ultimately you feel pain from your money decisions.

The relentless pursuit of pleasure and avoidance of pain, leads to pain.

Anna Lembke, Dopamine Nation: Finding Balance in the Age of Indulgence

If you cannot break free from the Paycheck to Paycheck money cycle, you will forever live with money stress. Your efforts to avoid immediate pain from not spending today result in lifelong pain from financial instability.

Carpe diem doesn’t mean blowing all of your money today.

Life is full of compromises.

Sure, YOLO.

You need to live in the moment of today. When you only focus on the future, you give up on moments you will never get back. However, you cannot completely ignore the future.

Realizing that a solid financial future will provide even more opportunities to focus on the now is essential. You have to be willing to make some sacrifices today to improve your future.

Very few people are willing to do this.

According to a Bankrate survey, more than half of Americans cannot fund an emergency requiring more than three months of expenses.

This subset of the population is set up for tremendous pain when they need to rely on their savings to cover an emergency.

You don’t need millions to be a financial success.

People are intimidated by the amount of money required to fund a retirement.

Using the 4% rule, you need $1M to fund every $40,000 of annual spending. That’s a considerable savings goal that may be out of reach for your situation.

That doesn’t mean that saving for your future is pointless. Creating a financial portfolio of any size will help you. While you may not be able to quit your job, your savings can provide optionality.

With some savings, you can choose less stressful work that you can continue as you age.

Those who fail to build savings get stuck in their jobs with few options. And, if your work is physical in nature, you will have more difficulties as you age.

No secret sauce will deliver wealth without work, pain, and time.

If you want to improve your money position in life, you must work to achieve your goals. That is a hard truth.

The world is full of snake oil salespersons that will tell you what you want to hear.

You can be rich with no pain and no work.

Nothing could be further from the truth.

The more you avoid immediate pain created by a savings habit, the more it will hurt later. When you fail to tame debt, it will overrun you.

Compounding interest will ensure that fate.

Your situation becomes direr the longer you delay action.

An emergency that hits when you are already buried in debt will be suffocating.

You need the discipline to build a savings plan and stick with it even when it hurts.

There will be times when your efforts feel futile. The compounding interest effect on debt is hard to defeat. Progress is slow. You will feel like giving up.

Stick with it.

Don’t let yourself be like most people. Have the courage, dedication, and strength to absorb money pain today for a brighter future.