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How Procrastination Dooms Your Financial Future

Financial Symphony / John Stillman
The Truth Network Radio
September 15, 2022 4:00 am

How Procrastination Dooms Your Financial Future

Financial Symphony / John Stillman

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September 15, 2022 4:00 am

People have many reasons for procrastinating when it comes to putting a retirement plan together. Let’s explore some of those excuses and why they can be dangerous, and talk about how to overcome them.


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Well, hello and welcome in to Mr. Stillman's Opus.

He is John Stillman over at Rosewood Wealth Management, and I am Ben George. And talking about procrastination. John, what area of life do you procrastinate in consistently?

Is there one? I don't know. I'll think about that later. I don't really feel like doing it right now. Well played.

Well played, sir. Usually something around the house, right? But a lot of people do it with their finances, unfortunately.

There are a lot of things actually in life that I just need that deadline pressure if I'm going to get it done. Like, here's an example. We have our little blueberry patch area. We've got like ten blueberry bushes, some blackberries in there. Well, the goats love to get in there and eat the blueberry bushes, which, you know, when I'm around and I'm kind of keeping an eye on them, no big deal.

I'll chase them off as soon as I see them get over there. And so eventually I got tired of that, though, so I built this fence around the area. Well, it wasn't completely goat-proof when I built it, but it was enough of a deterrent for them that like I'd see them trying to get into the blueberries and then I could go chase them off. So it bought me some time, right? And I didn't have to watch them like a hawk every time.

And I promise you this story has a point. And so then I was saying, OK, well, I've got to build a better fence that's truly goat-proof that really is going to keep them out so I don't have to I can just let them out and not worry about it. And so I put it off and put it off and put it off. And then right before we were leaving to go on a trip to Portugal, I said, oh, man, I'm about to not be here for a week to keep an eye on the goats and it would not be fair to the farm sitter to require them to watch the goats like a hawk. So, you know, we're flying out for Portugal, I think, at like two o'clock that afternoon. And so before we left for the airport, I'm out there that morning sweating in the 97 degree July heat, getting the fence done so that we could leave for Portugal. So, yes, sometimes I need the deadline pressure and I'll put stuff off. Well, that's good.

That was a nice short trip. So you have to worry about the effects of the labor. Well, some of us do work well under pressure and after procrastinating. But with your money, it's not a position you want to be in.

You don't want to have to worry about trying to make a last minute decision with your money. But many people do quite too often. So we're going to tell you why some people do this, the primary excuses that we hear for doing it.

But also we're talking about how to overcome each one of these things so that if you are procrastinating in these areas, maybe we'll help change your habits throughout the course of this episode. All right, John, I know our parents and soon us will be telling our kids, you know, the way we used to do things. But you might have seen your parents plan for retirement, not do a whole lot, right? They save, they went to work, you know, they worked for 30 years at a company and they didn't have to do any official retirement planning with someone like yourself and everything turned out fine. So the assumption a lot of times people procrastinate because they think, well, I'm in the same boat. My parents did it. I'm sure it's going to be fine for me to just kind of take care of things on my own and it'll all work out.

Yeah. Well, so if you're in your 40s or 50s and you're saying this about the way your parents made retirement work, if you're in your 40s and 50s, that means your parents more than likely lived through the Great Depression. And the way that they treated money in their older years, almost across the board for that generation, the way that they handled money in their later years is completely different from the way your generation handles it. So for one, they just had different spending habits. So you can't compare yourself to that generation in terms of how you spend money and just how you view money, period. The other thing is that generation had a whole lot more help in terms of pensions and things like that. The percentage, I don't remember off the top of my head what the number is, but the percentage of people from that generation, when you're saying your parents, the percentage of them that had a pension compared to the percentage of today's retirees that has a pension is a drastically different figure. And so that's why for them, you say, well, they didn't really have to plan a whole lot. It's true. They didn't.

It was kind of taken care of for them. And so now, let's say you're 30, there's almost nowhere that's going to have a pension other than state or federal employees. If you have folks that are just now reaching retirement age, we still see a few people who have pensions maybe from like an old RTP company or if they worked for IBM or something like that years ago, they might still have a lingering pension out there. But this idea that I'm going to work for Blue Cross Blue Shield and retire with a $2,500 a month pension like I saw my mom do, yeah, that's not really going to happen. So it's just a different landscape that you have to be doing the retirement planning in compared to the past generation that you saw do it. Yeah, so much has changed. I'm sure when we get to that point and our kids are going through that process, it's going to be a lot different for them, too.

So I'm curious how that will look. But again, you can't just assume that just because it worked for your parents, it's going to work for you. So don't put that off any longer. All right. I don't know who to listen to, Jon, right? I like to listen to you.

I think you're someone I could start with. But for people, they just don't know where to turn. There's people everywhere in their ear about finances.

So I'm not going to worry about it right now because I just don't know who I should even listen to. Well, so you can run any financial advice or talk that you hear through a couple of filters. If it's somebody in your life, somebody that you know personally that's giving investment advice in the break room at work or the cookout at somebody's house, look at their life. Do they have their life together financially?

I don't mean do they have a lot of stuff. You don't know if that house and their cars are highly leveraged and really more than they can afford or are they actually in good financial shape. If you don't know what kind of financial shape they're actually in, not what kind of material possessions you see, if you don't know what kind of shape they're actually in financially, then I would be wary of their advice just because you really don't truly know who that's coming from. Now, if it's somebody that you know well enough to know that yes, they are in really good financial shape.

They have made really good decisions. They're somebody that I would consider financially wise. If they are that person, then yeah, a lot of their advice might make sense, but then you have to run it through the filter of, okay, well, does that apply to me?

Is what they're talking about, is that also something that would apply to my life or is my life different in some way that what they're saying is perfectly accurate and makes sense for them, but not for me? So that's for people you know. Run it through that filter of is this somebody who I aspire to be like financially or is this some dude at work that just wants to tell me what the hot stock is or the hot cryptocurrency to get into every month, but he's just constantly trying to get rich quick.

He doesn't actually have a proven track record. So that's what you do for people in your life. If it's people in the media, you have to run it through the filter of all right, what is this person selling essentially? Are they representing some kind of company that sells some particular product or just generally would have a bias, a reason to want you to think a certain way about particular investments or strategies?

Or is this a person who is selling themselves? So they want to establish their credibility and one of the ways that you do that a lot of cases in media, unfortunately, is by having a very strong opinion. And it might be that having a strong opinion is not really the best guidance for somebody on a particular subject because it needs more nuance. It needs more thorough discussion, which doesn't sell itself to a soundbite.

And so in a lot of cases, you just have to run it through that filter. Is this person selling something or is this person more in the entertainment business than they are the financial advice business? The loud voice usually wins in that case quite a bit. Unfortunately, that's kind of where we are in the media landscape now.

All right. How about people that get stressed out by finances? I'm sure this is quite a few people that are comfortable talking about it when they start digging in the numbers, make them uncomfortable, whatever that is. How do you help someone that's kind of get stressed out by finances and puts things off because of it? I know a lot of people like this. We keep a box of Kleenex in the conference room for this very reason. Some people just, when they talk about money, they're going to start crying. We have a few clients like that.

And it's kind of weird. You have to think about what is causing this? Why do I feel this way about money? Why does money create stress and anxiety in my life?

And it almost always goes back to some past experience. Often it's childhood where money was always an issue around the house or in your family. And it was just always a stressor when you were growing up or in your teenage years, things like that. So really the best thing you can do is try to identify why is it that money stresses me out? And if you can identify that thing and start to learn how to deal with it and then have a healthier relationship with money, you don't have to do this unhealthy behavior of putting it off, procrastinating it forever because you don't want to deal with it.

Go ahead and figure out why is it that I feel so much stress when I think about money? Oh, it's because this happened when I was a kid and my life doesn't look anything like that now. Okay. And then you can start to move on, but you have to identify it first. I like that you act as a therapist sometimes too on the side.

I never would have guessed that that was part of the job, but it very much is. All right. Here's one that I don't know that you probably like to hear too often, but what if somebody just tells you, John, listen, I got too much on my plate right now. I'm just too busy to worry about my finances. I'll get to me eventually. But just right now, there's just not enough time in the day.

Well, I mean, I get that. I have many areas of my life that I have put off because I just haven't been willing or able to make time for it. I just went from 2000, probably 2008 to 2021 without going to the dentist. And then I finally went.

For some reason, everything was fine. My teeth were in great shape even after a 13-year hiatus. But it was just one of those things where I I couldn't justify making the time for it, which if you think about it, doesn't cost me that much time to go to the dentist once. I don't even go every six months, just once a year.

Yeah. So putting the time in my schedule for that really shouldn't have been that daunting. But I made it an excuse for a lot of years. There are a lot of things where I'll put it off forever and ever and ever because I feel like I don't have time to deal with it.

Like things related to running the business where I might say, you know what? I don't have the four hours needed to really create a system that's going to make this task easier moving forward. I'm just going to keep spending 20 minutes on it every week. Well, if I would just spend the four hours creating the system, then it would take me 30 seconds every week.

But after six years of spending 20 minutes on it, I would have been much better off to have just pulled the Band-Aid off and spent the four hours getting the system in place and then just spending almost no time on it moving forward. So in a lot of ways, it's the same way with your financial planning. If you can spend the time and put in the effort to get a good plan in place, have systems that are working in your favor.

You're not making decisions every month. You have a lot of things that are automated and you're creating habits and you don't have to constantly think about it. It actually gets a lot easier as you move forward. You just have to do the work up front. And that's, like I said, difficult for all of us in many areas of our life. Yeah. I mean, we all face time crunches everywhere we go. But when it's important to you, you get it done. Right. And that's what we're financial planning should rank on your list.

All right. A couple more here for reasons why we procrastinate. I don't know where to start. So much like I don't know who to listen to. There's just so much out there in terms of research information where you can turn anywhere and find an opinion and get it on something. But I don't know what's accurate, what I should be listening to, what I shouldn't. So how do you know where to start? Well, so this is where having a professional that can kind of assess where you are on your financial roadmap and help you figure out where to go can be helpful because I'll have folks that come in and they can't even tell me how much they bring home in a paycheck.

I ask them what their take on pay is and they look at me like, how could I possibly know the answer to that question? And so I say, all right, well, just just pull up your bank account on your phone. Let's look at your last couple of paychecks.

Let's see how much you brought home. And they don't they don't know how to log into their bank account. Oh, I haven't logged in in months. I don't know what my password is.

OK, well, this is a sign that you probably be need to be paying a little more attention to this kind of stuff. And so we're going to start with the basics. What do you make?

What do you bring home? What does it cost you to live your life as you know it? That's where those folks need to start understanding their income and tracking their expenses. On the other hand, I'll have folks that come in for the first time and they have a spreadsheet where they've outlined every single thing they spend money on every month and exactly how much they make and a detailed synopsis of all of their various accounts, bank accounts and investments and all that.

And some people are really on top of the inventory part of it. They just don't have a clue about when can I retire? And if I do retire, then how much can I spend when I do retire? Right. So that's where they need to start.

Let's figure out, OK, let's just pick a date. Let's say you retired in two years at age 67. If you did that, based on what you have saved now, what you're going to save for those next couple of years of working, what kind of lifestyle does that afford you? For a lot of people, that's a good place to start. Is that an appealing lifestyle or not?

And if so, great. Let's make that the target and let's shoot for it. And maybe you end up being able to retire a little earlier than planned if you save a little more than you expected or the market does better than we hoped for in our projections and things like that.

So where you start is going to be dependent on your financial acumen and experience right now. But that's where having a little bit of professional help can help you uncover that. Well, so we had a couple left, but I'm going to put the last one off for another day, John. We'll just do that, OK?

I think that illustrates the point really well. Let's do that. All right. Fair enough.

Well, look, whatever reason you have for putting things off. Right. It's probably OK.

It's probably defendable. But know that no matter where you are, it doesn't matter. You're not too late. Right, John? I think that's the bottom line to kind of wrap up the discussion is no matter why you put things off and how long you've been putting them off for, taking the next step eventually at some point is going to work out for you and should be the next move you make. Yep.

Very well said. Reach out and we'll help you figure it out. That is the website you can connect with John there. We have another episode of Mr. Stillman's Opus coming soon, hopefully. So make sure you subscribe to the show. We'll talk to you then. Thanks for watching.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-02-25 11:37:54 / 2023-02-25 11:44:56 / 7

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