Whoooooooooosh! That’s the sound of life — and money — passing you by.
Three out four people say the fast pace of today’s society is making it harder for them to focus and stay on track with their long-term goals, including family, fitness, their job — and money, according to a recent survey by Northwestern Mutual.
The good news is that, when it comes to setting goals, financial goals are No. 1 — 72 percent said they set financial goals, according to the survey. Nearly two-thirds set family and fitness goals, while 55 percent set work goals and 54 percent set diet goals.
So, essentially, we all know that money’s important, but we’re just not making the time to focus on our goals.
“I’m not surprised at all,” said Galia Gichon, founder of “Down to Earth Finance” and the author of the “My Money Matters” kit. “I see it all the time: Bills get paid late or people deal with them at the last minute.”
Gichon says 75 percent of the clients that walk into her office have had to pay late fees of some kind due to their procrastination.
It’s like we’re kids and dealing with money is homework: We procrastinate these unpleasant tasks until the absolute last minute. If we have any free time, we’d rather go shopping, play golf or go to the beach. So what most of us really need is a parent to come by and tell us we’re not allowed to go outside and play until after our money homework is done!
The money problem compounds itself: You wait so long that you think, “Oh, I should spend all day Saturday dealing with my finances.”
That’s setting yourself up for failure, Gichon says. If you’ve procrastinated that long, then there’s a huge chance that you’re not going to spend all day Saturday — especially during the nice weather — dealing with your finances.
Instead, set a “money day” every week, where you take 15 minutes to just focus on money, Gichon advises. During that time, you pay your bills, give yourself a weekly cash allowance, check your balances, read one personal-finance article and set one long-term financial goal. Gichon says her “money day” is 8am on Monday. So start the week off right, and check “money management” off your list first.
Then you can go outside and play!
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