Since it has taken me a long time to actually start this blog, I thought I should start by talking about procrastination! I admit, I am a habitual procrastinator - inherently if I can put anything off, I will. I am motivated by deadlines but otherwise I can justify doing almost anything else from following my beloved soccer team, Charlton Athletic, to checking e-mails etc.
Originally the word procrastinate, which is derived from two latin words meaning "for tomorrow", would have had positive connotations as was likely very useful to wait to see what an enemy was doing before rushing out and attacking him. However the dictionary currently defines procrastinate as to "postpone or delay needlessly" which has really bad connotations!
So, from a financial perspective, procrastination can often be good as it avoids us making rash and reckless decisions which often, in a financial sense, result in lost money. So it's OK to procrastinate in these situations :
Buying anything from a door-to-door salesman or at a timeshare presentation. Beware the high pressure sales pitch to buy today.
Buying any complicated financial product, be it your mortgage or life insurance policy.
Signing up for any special offers such as a gym membership or Costco executive membership. Take the time to calculate the pay back.
Investing on the basis of a hot tip from a friend or family member.
However here are some situations where procrastinating is downright bad for your financial health :
Delaying contributing to your RRSP. You need to get into the habit of saving and, in my opinion, it is always better to invest now rather than wait for the market to improve/find a better opportunity.
Setting and writing down long term goals. As J.M. Keynes said, "In the long run we are all dead" !
Setting and adhering to a budget. Seriously, what are you waiting for ... divine intervention?!!
Believing that the task is complicated. Yes, some things are complex but many solutions are simple and straightforward financial decisions are absolutely the best.
So sometimes to delay and weigh up all the options is good and in financial decisions this is especially true. However we all have to recognise when we have enough information to make a decision and then act.
So how do I overcome my inherent desire to delay ?
I break tasks into small steps and list them out. That way I get a great sense of achievement when I can cross them off .... and being the personality type I am, just crossing them off is a great motivator !!
I personally follow the KISS (Keep It Simple 'cos I'm Stupid) principle in all my financial decisions. If I can't explain to a family member what I am doing then I probably shouldn't do it.
I keep my long term financial goals in mind with every investment decision I make. That way decisions are always in line with the plan.
I deliberately ask why not do it now ..... amazing how that works !
So I promise to procrastinate no longer and will blog regularly in future !!