My future self and I become closer and closer as time goes by. I must admit that I neglected and ignored her until she punched me in the gut, grabbed me by the hair and turned my butt around to introduce herself.
Well, at least that’s what it felt like every time I left the convalescent hospital after doing skills training for a certification I needed to help me start my residential care business. I was going to be providing specialized, 24/7 residential care and supervising direct care staff for non-verbal, non-ambulatory adult men in diapers! I ran to the Red Cross and took the certified nurse assistant class so I would at least know something about the job I would soon be hiring people to do and to make sure my clients received the best care.
The training facility was a Medicaid hospital. I would drive home in tears after seeing what happens when people are not able to afford long-term medical care and the government has to provide that care. But it was seeing all the “young” patients that brought me to tears.
The 40 (something) year-old father and husband, no longer able to speak, feed himself or use a toilet after having a stroke. The family picture of him, tall, strong and healthy looking, with his wife and young children, the get well drawings in crayon.
The 50 (something) year-old single professional lady who refused the twice weekly shower, could care less if her diaper was changed and refused most meals and activities because she would rather die than be humiliated for not planning for this scenario.
And I had thought that only the elderly lived like this in convalescent hospitals….
I am fortunate to have good health but this experience showed me that there is the unexpected.
So I drove home each day in tears, promising God out loud, over and over again, that I would take care of my health and take care of my finances. That is how I met my future self. She was like, don’t let this be us girlfriend and stop crying!
But, according to studies, we humans have a hard time empathizing with our future selves. Could you even imagine your 30 or 40 year old self when you were in elementary or even high school? It’s like picturing a stranger.
This difficulty explains why some people tend to favor short-term or immediate gratification over long-term planning and savings.
Take time to picture the life you want to live in 5 years, 10 years, and 40 years, and create an emotional connection to your future self. Visualize the things you enjoy doing now, and think of retirement saving and planning as a way to continue doing those things and even more.
However, research shows that people who interacted with their future selves were more willing to improve savings. Just hit me over the head, why don’t you!
I do understand that some people can’t even pay attention or aren’t even interested in putting money away for their financial future because they have so much going on and so little to work with that they feel like they can’t even listen to or have a conversation about money.
But there are things you’re doing that are not helping your financial position and could be trouble. You could be moving in the wrong direction.
The goal is to get out of debt, increase your collateral capacity, use your own money in the most efficient manner and make financial decisions that will move you forward instead of backwards.
Also make sure you are getting answers specific to your financial situation instead of blindly guessing! Contact us. We will be happy to help!