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Jerry Citarella: There’s only one today

Financial Truth

Posted: June 25, 2012 10:38 p.m.
Updated: June 25, 2012 10:38 p.m.

A definition of the word “procrastinate” is to put off doing something, especially out of habitual carelessness or laziness. Even more to the point, is — to postpone or delay needlessly.

The key word in the second definition is: needlessly. So many things that are put off truly don’t need to be. We often look for any excuse to delay a decision, or concoct reasons not to make a choice. Often times we don’t even go as far as making excuses. We simply choose not to make a decision. This in itself, however, is a decision. It’s the decision to do nothing.

The 18th century English poet Edward Young said, “Procrastination is the thief of time.” Even in 1765, people knew that procrastination was a bad idea; so why do we still do it?

Maybe we’re afraid we won’t have anything to do tomorrow if we get everything done today. It’s easier to put off something difficult than to push through it.

Much procrastination comes in the form of simple tasks, such as taking the trash out or finishing a household project. Unfortunately, some very important things also get put off. Here’s a big one: Many people put off their futures; or at least try to.

Although your future can’t be put off, preparing for it can be. Every new moment represents an aspect of your future. At the same time, collectively, these moments also eliminate a portion of your future by becoming your past. Time doesn’t stop because you can’t commit. Opportunities do. Time is one thing we have less of every moment and wasting it can be devastating.

Something I’ve seen quite a bit is procrastination due to procrastination. Here’s what that sounds like – “Well, it’s probably too late now anyway, so why should I bother?” I always say, Yesterday was better than today, but today is still definitely better than tomorrow. When it comes to your financial future, there may be no truer statement regarding the best use of time you’ve been given. Whatever it is you need to do — just do it already. What are you waiting for?

I’ve heard the statement “I wish I would’ve” more times than I could ever count. Those words have most often been followed by the words ”started planning sooner”. Many people’s biggest financial regret is starting too late to plan and to protect their families. Unfortunately, it’s often very late when people realize they’re in trouble.

The very large majority of retired people are not nearly as independent as they’d once imagined they’d be. Many people are just barely getting by; merely surviving. The number one reason I’ve seen for these issues is not a lack of opportunity. It’s a lack of planning.

Whether it’s the economy, your expenses, the markets, or an inability to agree with your spouse, it’s time to put all those excuses behind you and do whatever you can at this point in your life. With patience and persistence, amazing things can happen.

You only have one today and this is yours. Whether or not you’ve done some planning, take a step forward. It could be a new step or your first step. Either way it’s a step in the right direction. I’ve heard all the excuses and none of them sound nearly as good as the words “I know I’m going to be comfortable for the rest of my life.”

What will your words be? The choice truly is yours.

Jerry Citarella is the owner of Infinity Wealth Management 23734 Valencia Blvd., Suite 301, Valencia, (661) 255-9555, ext. 11. He is also the author of The Truth Helps Series of financial planning books. Mr. Citarella’s column reflects his own views and not necessarily those of The Signal. Submit questions to: Securities and investment advisory services offered through NEXT Financial Group Inc. Member FINRA/SIPC. Infinity Wealth Management is not an affiliate of NEXT Financial Group Inc.


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