Understanding and Overcoming Financial Procrastination

Pro·cras·ti·na·tion (prəˌkrastəˈnāSH(ə)n) – the action of delaying or postponing something. We’re all familiar with procrastination; whether it’s a particular household chore or those financial tasks we all know we should be doing. When it comes to our finances the source of the procrastination could be a lot things. We may feel like we don’t know where to start, worry about our lack of financial knowledge, overestimate the amount of time we think it will take, or we may just be afraid of making a mistake. And the longer we put it off, the worse it seems to get.

Here are some of those financial chores people most often avoid, and tips for how to finally get them done.

Not setting up a rainy day fund. If you don’t have some money set aside for unexpected car repair, broken appliance, or medical bill, you’ll end up using more expensive ways to pay like a credit card or high interest loan. Set aside $500 to start with and keep it separate from your regular checking account if possible.

Not paying off a credit card. It’s easy to keep paying just the minimum every month and end up owing way, way more than you spent to begin with. Make a plan to pay down the debt by reviewing your budget and treat paying off credit cards as a required expense every month, just like your electric bill or rent.

Not saving enough for retirement. Getting a late start on saving for retirement means losing out on the benefit of long term compounding interest. Time is one of your greatest assets. Unless you invent a time machine there’s no better time than today to get started.

Not reviewing your monthly income and spending. Reviewing your financial transactions each month reminds you where your money went and gives you a chance to ensure there are no errors or fraudulent charges. If you see that you’re spending more than you’re making each month, or not making progress on your financial goals, creating and reviewing a budget can help keep you on track.

Not updating financial plans. When you open bank accounts and enroll in certain employee benefit plans (life insurance, 401(k), HSA, etc.) you’ll be asked to name a beneficiary in case something happens to you. If you have minor children, you probably have a will that states who will be the guardian of your children. Have you reviewed or updated these lately to reflect any changes in your life? If not, now’s a good time to revisit these. If you’re not sure what we’re talking about, even more reason to check into this.

Still procrastinating? Need help or an accountability partner? BrightDime is here.