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Your Future Self and Money Choices Today

Thanks to my friend “S” for the heads up about this article over on Get Rich Slowly about becoming friends with your future self and resisting splurges today.

What this makes me think of is delayed gratification and how important it is in life and with regards to personal finance. It’s a sign of emotional maturity to make long-term goals and to not give into all our short-terms wants that are most often not really needs. Of course, we need to have some basic things to be happy such as a decent place to live, healthy food, leisure activities, etc but people often get confused between what is a “want” and what is a “need.” The actual needs in my life are very few.

For example: sure, I love staying in luxurious hotels and eating at delicious restaurants when I travel, or getting that take-out coffee when I feel a bit tired, or hiring a personal trainer and joining an expensive gym instead of just going hiking or exercising at home, or picking up a shirt or two when I’m out and about and happen to see something I like, or some new toy or overpriced food for my cats. I don’t know anyone who doesn’t like that stuff. But these are wants, not needs.

I guess it’s just that I have longer-term goals and I truly think that by giving into all these impulses, I’m stealing from my future self. The one that wants to retire early and have the freedom to choose where I live and if I work or not. And this is far more important to me than any of that short-term stuff. And that keeps me motivated to make wise short and medium-term choices.

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