Has society convinced us that we need not wait for what we want?

Venture into any specialty food store, trendy coffee shop or hip downtown restaurant and you’ll find them. People with what appears to be plenty of disposable income. They don’t seem to blink at a hefty price tag attached to a bottle of Barolo, a designer baby stroller, or the latest ATV. Grande Lattes for everyone! Inspect closer and the reason comes into focus. Creditors are funding their purchases.

Society has convinced us that we need not wait for what we want. We need everything now. Social media confirms this to us daily. The four-letter word “save” is an old school way of thinking. Armageddon could happen any day now and you may regret not having your desires immediately fulfilled!

Creditors make funds readily available because they understand this. Credit allows the ability to get what we want now and affords us time to accumulate money to pay for those purchases. Creditors even award us for spending in the form of points and discounts. Apparently, we need credit to improve our credit score to obtain more credit. So, what’s the problem?

There are many successful and financially responsible consumers that have clearly defined financial goals and know how to properly manage their income. There are unfortunately, an equal number of consumers who live well beyond their means. Many find themselves frustrated that they never seem to “get ahead” and yet they continue to consume and their debts keep mounting.

The idea of “keeping up with the Joneses” or “FOMO — Fear of missing out” has never gone out of style. It’s as popular now as it was in the past. Perhaps more so given social media and since credit provides us the opportunity to obtain what we desire now instead of saving for the future. If you thought as an adult you would no longer be coerced by peer pressure, think again. Simple weddings have gone by the wayside thanks to reality bridal shows. Chances are if your friends lead a lifestyle filled with the latest tech toys, big screen TV’s, designer wardrobes and the latest vehicle you will be influenced to do same.

Setting and planning financial goals should be a priority. So much of life is planned and yet our financial road map often gets diverted as we fixate on our short term wants. Without a plan, we roam through our days without an agenda and are surprised when time passes as quickly as it does and what we hoped to achieved has not yet been accomplished.

Spending should be much more disciplined and savings made automatic. Paying down debt should become a top priority especially on high interest credit cards. It’s ok to say ”no”. It may be time to accept personal responsibility for your spending choices and forget about social media and other media advertising pressures saying “you deserve”. Start looking for ways to tighten your belt and stop feeling like you are missing out if you don’t spend, spend, spend.

Like planning for a trip, we need to plan the things we want in life. Pack the right items, discard what we can do without and start looking forward to the adventure. Enjoy life but not at the cost of a financially stable future.