Instant gratification is defined as “the desire to experience pleasure or fulfillment without delay or deferment”. In other words, it’s the mindset which dictates that if you want something, you must have it now. Undeniably, this approach is most often displayed among millennials.
This manifests itself most palpably on social media, with people posting their entire lives online and immediately receiving “likes” and comments. Sadly, this also bleeds into the youth’s spending habits. It is not uncommon to see young people spending big bucks on material things and consumable items. Whether it’s shopping the current designer fashion trends, hitting different bars and clubs every weekend, blowing every other paycheck to travel with their friends, or spending way too much at bi-weekly brunches for overpriced avocado toast, millennials are frequently very cavalier when it comes to spending.
Some may argue that it is okay – even admirable – to spend for irreplaceable experiences with friends or treating yourself to, say, a nice pair of shoes. After all, they worked hard for that money and should be able to do with it as they please.
While it is perfectly okay to have fun with friends and treat yourself every so often, this mentality should be balanced out with some semblance of forethought and life planning. After all, your hard earned money should be going towards something bigger and more long-term than expensive brunches and spontaneous trips to Bali, right?
If this short term spending mentality continues down the line, millennials are in for a rude awakening when it comes time to retire. I know it seems like too far-off a concept to be worrying about, especially for a generation that is more or less new to the working world. However, it is highly advisable and encouraged that people start investing in and planning for their future, including (and especially) retirement. For people to ensure a better and brighter future for themselves, it’s time to start taking financial planning more seriously.This starts with being smart with your money.
Believe it or not, most people don’t know the first thing when it comes to financial literacy or planning. The public must be educated on the proper methods and techniques to handle their finances, since this would be very helpful to the generation of millennials who are just starting to make a dent in the work force. Small efforts now will pay off big time later.
There are literally countless ways for millennials to learn more about financial planning, covering a variety of materials and resources. One of the most engaging and informative campaigns that is currently making a huge impact among young professionals is Philam Life’s “Live Ready” campaign. Unlike other efforts that are overwhelmingly technical or too textbook-like, Live Ready leverages on real life experiences, situations, and solutions delivered in digestible servings. From what I know, Philam Life has taken this campaign across key cities in the Philippines.
The thing is, even the best campaigns will not have any effect unless the message is applied. As such, millennials should start by shifting their short-term mindset towards the long-term, and understand that today’s spending habits will have implications tomorrow. Moreover, always bear in mind that “instant gratification” usually leads to “prolonged perspiration”. Indeed, while it is true to say that you only live once, you’ll spend the rest of your life in the future.