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Do you always put aside something that you’re supposed to do despite knowing the awful consequence that it will give? Does this happen by fear of doing the intended task or by thinking that there is something more important to do than the first one?
If you always voluntarily delay an intended course of action despite expecting the worst out of that delay, you have a procrastination habit. But you are not alone. Scientific studies suggest that about 15-20% of the general population have a chronic pattern of procrastination. Given this prevalence, even researchers O’Donoghue and Rabin from American Economic Review were not surprised to see the evident relationship between procrastination to unhealthy financial behavior. They saw how people who chronically or constantly procrastinate and indulge in impulsive shopping are more prone to bad credit records and ballooning card debt. The lack of rationality and planning poses detrimental consequences like poor personal finances and reduced appreciation of the long-term implications of their current choices.
Having a credit card is good because it has a lot of benefits. But you know what’s a bad combination to credit cards? Lack of self-control! An article in Economic Notes said that credit card users with low self-control are more likely to carry a massive debt on their credit cards. They only see the benefit and fun of using the credit card on the actual purchase but lack sight of the payment due date. The problem starts when the due date comes in, and the amount due cannot be paid in full until the accumulated balance left gets bigger and bigger.
Dr. Ferrari of the American Psychological Association said that 20% of the U.S. are chronic procrastinators. According to his research, they delay home, work, or school tasks, and they procrastinate their way of life out everything. This is an unfortunate number coming from a nation of “doers” when a huge chunk of the population is actually “waiters” and “laters.” Delaying a task may give short-term satisfaction, but it has a long-term cost on health, finances, work performance, and well-being.
Another reason you are always procrastinating is that you think you still have a lot of time. Procrastination is related to unhealthy personal financial behaviors, such as postponing retirement savings, last-minute shopping, and not paying bills on time. In an article published in Frontiers of Psychology, Thor Gamst-Klaussen and his team presented a paper exploring factors that could explain why procrastinators demonstrate more financial problems than non-procrastinators.
Recent studies explain filing your taxes only when close to the deadline leads to last-minute mistakes and/or overpayments. Procrastinators are also less likely to participate in saving plans. They are less likely to keep a fixed amount every month because they think they can just spend their money now because of next month’s salary. Until this practice goes on over and over again.
When you’re still young, it might seem like signing up for a retirement savings plan isn’t a priority yet. The focus could be on travels, enjoyment, anything that will make you feel you earned your salary. Right now, you might still have 30 or 40 years before retirement, so you might think you still have plenty of time. The catch is that retirement savings have special tax-advantaged accounts. Accounts like 401(k) and Individual Retirement Account (IRA) limit the amount that you can contribute each year.
In 2021, the limits are $19,500 for 401(k)s and $6,000 for IRAs. Suppose you don’t fill up your contribution space each year. In that case, the remainder of that space disappears. You can’t back up contribution space for the future. Every year you don’t contribute, potential tax savings are lost. This also doesn’t account for the time, which is the most powerful force when building a retirement fund.
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Perfectionism can severely impact your finances and health. In a 2016 study conducted by Thomas Curran and Andrew P. Hill, the authors talked about how the proportion of people who exhibited traits of perfectionism rose by up to 33 percent from 1989 to 2016. Perfectionists don’t just want the task done. They want it perfectly done, leading to more work hours rendered for a single activity. Eventually, you lose plenty of time trying to perfect something rather than moving on to an equally relevant activity.
Procrastination is often a symptom of perfectionism. Since these types of people fear of not being able to complete a task perfectly, they set it aside until they can feel that they can perfect it. This stems from the fear of not meeting the goal. Or thinking that there is something inadequate, wrong, or unworthy inside them.
Procrastination is easy to spot. Are you doing what you’re supposed to be doing right now? Or are you dodging it by surfing on Instagram posts, doing laundry, or running other errands? If your answer is “yes,” chances are, you could be procrastinating. It’s more essential to determine the cause of your procrastination. Studies reveal a cognitive aspect of procrastination. That is, people procrastinate when they view concrete tasks in abstract terms. An example is delaying a task that might seemingly take a long time to finish. All of these delays only to realize that it would actually take less time to do it right then and there than to think about it repeatedly.
To clarify, procrastination is not laziness. It’s more of a lost sense of activity rooted in low tolerance for disappointment or mistakes. They sidestep the discomfort through diversion when they see that the challenge is higher than their ability. What’s important here is you address the root of your procrastination and find a way to fix it. There’s always room to start improving yourself.
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