YOLO: The Hidden Price Tag of Living for Today
In this episode, we discuss the dangers and illusions of the “You Only Live Once” or YOLO mentality and how it might be the invisible chain keeping you from attaining real wealth.
We also talk about how to mindfully allocate your finances at any income level, debunk the ‘I’ll become better with my money when I have more’ myth, and share some practical takeaways on how to YOLO wisely so you can set yourself on the right financial path.
Enjoy the episode!
1:42 – YOLO Culture and Its Impact on Financial Well-Being
6:58 – Personal Finance and the Psychology of Saving Money
12:48 – Financial Responsibility and Education in Australia
19:45 – Extro
The term “YOLO” (You Only Live Once) has been circulating for a while now, and it’s become a popular mantra.
But recently, while chatting with my friend Kan, we delved into the deeper implications of this seemingly simple phrase and its impact on financial wellness.
When I first encountered the term “YOLO,” I was admittedly puzzled.
But after some reflection, I realised it’s not just a fad or another pop culture reference. The essence of YOLO is to make the most of the time you have.
However, my bone of contention is when people interpret it as a reason to disregard future financial planning, recklessly indulging in the present without a thought for tomorrow.Read More
The Hidden Costs of a YOLO Lifestyle
I’ve interacted with countless individuals in their later years who once fully embraced the YOLO mindset.
And the reality? Many of them are now scrambling to make ends meet.
The repercussions of this lifestyle go beyond just money.
People often face stress, missed opportunities, and a lack of choice, all because they didn’t plan for their financial future.
The emotional toll is significant, too. Witnessing their peers facing health issues, many start to grasp the finite nature of life.
Suddenly, their financial negligence doesn’t just seem like a money issue; it becomes a quality of life problem.
The Myth of “I’ll Do It Later”
One prevalent misconception is that “I’ll handle my finances when I earn more.”
But numerous studies reveal a different truth: as income increases, so does spending.
This phenomenon, often called “lifestyle creep,” demonstrates how our habits are deeply ingrained, regardless of how much we earn.
Waiting for better financial time or higher income might seem practical, but it’s often just an excuse to postpone good habits.
Kan brought up a great point inspired by James Clear’s book, “Atomic Habits”.
Just like a small task can lead to larger actions (think of starting to clean one corner of your house and ending up cleaning the entire place), the same applies to our money habits.
Starting with a small financial decision can snowball into a more secure future.
The YOLO Conundrum
In my twenties, I, too, was caught up in the excitement of possibilities and the many paths opening before me.
It’s a common phase where you believe the universe will somehow ensure everything falls into place.
But life’s inherent uncertainties make such idealism a potentially dangerous mindset.
When faced with real-life situations like medical emergencies, the need for financial stability becomes glaringly apparent, prompting a reevaluation of our “live for the moment” approaches.
Striking a Balance: Spanking Your YOLO
I’m not advocating for abandoning spontaneity and adventure but rather for introducing moderation and mindfulness into our lifestyles.
The notion that living in the moment means extravagance and recklessness needs redefinition.
Such a mindset, unfortunately, arises from a place of despair and a sense of futility in future planning.
The infamous “avocado toast” argument symbolises this issue, where people dismiss small savings, not realising they represent the broader mindset and habits around finances.
Navigating Financial Responsibility
When you haven’t experienced severe hardships like famine or war and haven’t seen your family struggle to make ends meet, the comforting belief that everything will work out tends to settle in.
While this may hold true for many, there is a growing section of the population for whom it does not.
My message is clear: financial literacy and planning are important.
The optimism in our youth is precious and should be coupled with foresight and consideration for our future selves.
Financial struggles later in life, especially in places like Australia where pensions are scarce, could be reduced with smart money habits and discipline in our earlier years.
Practical Steps Towards Financial Literacy
- Education and Awareness
The first step is education. The lack of emphasis on financial literacy in our educational systems is alarming.
Cultivate an interest in understanding money, its workings, and its implications.
Don’t get intimidated by the perceived complexity of financial concepts; many are simpler than they seem.
- Mindful Allocation of Income
Developing mindfulness around your spending habits is crucial, regardless of your income level.
As Justin Langer emphasised, the pain of discipline far outweighs the pain of disappointment.
Not incorporating discipline into your finances can lead to severe consequences down the line.
- Seeking Resources
Engage with resourceful books like ‘The Millionaire Next Door’ and ‘Rich Dad, Poor Dad’ or pursue courses and programs that elevate your financial literacy.
Embrace the idea that you can orchestrate your wealth and not depend on anyone else.
However, be careful about the advice you adopt, understanding which parts resonate with your individual circumstances.
Remember, the future is shaped by the actions taken today. YOLO is wonderful, but it needs to be experienced within the context of responsibility.
Each choice we make today will impact our happiness tomorrow.
Embrace the vibrancy of life, but temper it with wisdom and mindfulness, ensuring that your journey is not just exciting but also enriching and secure.
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