We've all heard the expression "Money is the root of all evil."
After 22 years of counseling hundreds of investors and savers, I'm pretty sure it's procrastination.
Procrastination can kill you when it comes to saving. Putting off saving, investing or planning for the future can be detrimental to your financial health.
You've also seen all the illustrations about how it pays to save earlier, right? That's all well and good, but what is the real reason you are putting it off?
Is it lack of discretionary funds?
Not sure how to start?
Let's explore each reason we all procrastinate with money.
Lack of money to save. If I had a nickel for every time I heard "My budget is tight," I'd be a billionaire by now! Everyone has a tight budget. We all have expenses and bills. Successful savers and investors make a priority to put aside money for the future. They've also lived within their means. If you are at the point where there is absolutely no room to save, then you must reduce your spending.
Find a way to cut something permanently or temporarily from your budget. I've always found it ironic that the same people who complain that they cannot save seem to find the money for other vices like smoking, drinking or eating out. Look at your credit card and bank statements; they will reveal where you have some leaks that can be reduced.
Uncertainty in your life. I really wish I had a nickel for every time I heard people say things like "I just have too many irons in the fire right now" or "There's just too many things going on." I'd be Texas-rich. I really hate to sound unsympathetic, but everyone has some sort of uncertainty. That's just life, period. There's not much in my line of work that I can guarantee. However, I can guarantee that you won't reach your most cherished goals if you keep putting off saving until your life calms down. It's not. There will always be something.
Not sure how or where to start. This one probably is not as valid as the first two. The starting place for saving money depends on the time frame you have to reach the goal. You'll want to consider savings accounts and other safe vehicles for goals that are under say three years. If you have a goal that is over five years, a low-risk investment could do the trick.
I have plenty of time. Much like high blood pressure, this is a silent killer for saving and investing. You tell yourself you have years before you really need to save: I'll get started next year, or in a year or two when I pay this or that off. Those years creep by, and you find yourself with a new set of bills with little to no savings. We all know that the sooner you start, the less money you'll need to save and the faster it will grow. The moral of the story is we all have a limited amount of time; start your savings plan now rather than later.
I've just listed some of the big reasons for procrastination with money. I'm sure there are dozens of other creative reasons like "My pet goat ate the checkbook last night, so I have no idea how much I can save." There will always be an excuse for not saving. Just start.
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