Everyone knows someone that constantly says YOLO. For those of you that live under a rock: YOLO stands for “You only live once”. The saying typically urges people to rationalize reckless or impulsive behavior. “I went to the concert even though I can’t afford it- YOLO!”. While it may feel like it’s making your life more fun, there are many reasons why future you is going to hate YOLO (and not just because it sounds dumb).
I get it. It can be incredibly easy to justify bad financial choices when you’re tempted with an impulse purchase. That $50 you’re about to spend does not feel like it will have long-term effects, while being the only person in your social group to miss the concert feels immediately bad.
It’s easy to choose something that you view as having benefit now, and it’s very difficult to sacrifice something today that will benefit you 20 years down the road.
It’s similar to why people make terrible choices when it comes to exercise, eating habits, sleep, etc. You know exactly what you want right now, and how it will feel to not get it. You cannot actually visualize the long term effects your current choices will make though.
Some of my favorite YOLO quotes include:
“Travel because money returns, but time doesn’t”
“Better an oops than a what if“
“Live for the moment, because everything else is uncertain”
Every day you log onto social media and see images of people “living their best life”. It’s so easy to get wrapped up in thinking that every day should feel like a party, and if it doesn’t, you’re doing something wrong.
We don’t choose our futures however; we choose habits and patterns NOW that dictate what our future ends up becoming.
Those day to day choices add up. Big time. When you make an irresponsible choice that increases your debt, you may enjoy that purchase or experience for a brief moment. However, when the bill comes due and you’re in so much debt you cannot breathe, that care-free attitude quickly escalates into panic.
Nobody wants to need to continue working in their 70s because they cannot afford to retire. Yet avoiding that takes planning and conscious choices. No one is coming to save you. It’s your future and it’s worth creating.
You might only “live once” but if you’re lucky it’s going to be a damn long life. Don’t mess it up when you’re just starting out.
How to balance YOLO with creating a healthy future:
I’m genuinely not advocating for you to be a crazy penny pincher who has zero fun now. I believe in living your life. I personally love dinners with friends, hiking/climbing trips in the mountains, and quality coffee & wine.
One of my favorite quotes is: “You can have anything you want, but you cannot have everything you want”
I’m simply asking you to remember that there will come a day (if you’re lucky) when you will need to live off of your savings (aka retirement). Putting your head in the sand won’t make that any less true.
Simple ways to create a healthy future while still loving today:
- Start contributing to your retirement accounts, even if it’s a small amount.
- Complete your “10 things exercise” and determine what really makes you happy. Take note of the ones that are free; do those a lot.
- Create a budget you’ll actually stick to! If you notice in mine (follow that link to see how I spend my money) I actually budget for fun every month. Could I add that money to debt payments? Sure, but I don’t want to. I want to have a life, but keep it balanced! That $200 is money that I’m not allowed to spend on anything except good times. It keeps me sane on my journey to becoming debt free.
- Really, really wrap your head around the fact that saving and spending are NOT opposites! You’re saving money now so that you get to spend it later. It’s not just a pile of money destined to collect dust; it will be used. Thanks to the power of compound interest, saving money now actually means you’ll get MORE to spend later. Win win.
Make conscious decisions; intentionally live your best life, not just your best NOW. Choose happiness now and for the rest of your life.
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