As a volunteer budget adviser, I often see clients that ignore their debt problem. Their theory is, “If I ignore it then I won’t know there is a problem.”
I have had clients come into the office with a pile of unopened envelopes. They know it is bills inside but by not opening the mail, they convince themselves that there are no bills to pay and there is no problem. But guess what? It doesn’t go away.
The bills keep coming. The mail keeps being delivered. The debtors keep chasing you. Just because you close your eyes, it doesn’t make them disappear.
This doesn’t just occur to those in debt though. Just because we don’t have debt doesn’t mean we don’t have other problems we are ignoring. Our national savings rate is hovering around minus 1% of our income. This isn’t enough to retire on.
We can’t ignore this fact.
If we are not saving at least 10-15% of our income, then we are not saving enough for retirement. If you ignore this then you will have problems later in life.
The easy thing to do is ignore our future selves. The harder thing to do is to make the hard choices now and don’t delay them. What is most worthwhile is often also the hardest.
It wasn’t until my late 20’s/early 30’s that I started making the hard choices. Previously I was spending all my money without a care in the world. That was the easy choice. I ignored my future self. I ignored how much I needed to be saving. I had a monster mortgage that was weighing heavy on my mind so I made the hard decision to downsize houses and buy a house half the size and in a less desirable suburb. Then I injured my back and had to take months away from work, putting a massive strain on my finances. I was stressed and worried where my next dollar would come from.
The drum beat was getting louder and louder until I couldn’t ignore it any more. I then built up some emergency savings, cut expenses, and started saving 40% of my income. I am relieved I made this change in my 30’s and not in my 60’s. Even better though, would have been not to ignore the noise in the first place as I would be in a much better place today.
My lesson for you today is to make the hard choices now because your problems will not go away no matter how hard you try to ignore them. In New Zealand we have a “she’ll be right” attitude. The problem is it won’t be right just because you think it will be. You must make it right, and not wait for someone or something else to make it right for you because you could be waiting forever. You are the owner of your life, so stop being a passenger.
The information contained on this site is the opinion of the individual author(s) based on their personal opinions, observation, research, and years of experience. The information offered by this website is general education only and is not meant to be taken as individualised financial advice, legal advice, tax advice, or any other kind of advice. You can read more of my disclaimer here