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Don’t Forget To Live Today While Planning For The Future.

Retirement, Emergency Funds, Education, Health Care, Life Insurance – the worrying never ends, does it? Most people spend so much time focusing on the future that they forget that their life is happening right now…not tomorrow, not in 20 years, but right now. This is it – this is your life. There are no second chances, no do-overs, no mulligans; so why are you only concentrating on the future instead of living your life today? I am all for trying to make sure I can survive comfortably (both financially and in health) to a nice old age, but I am not as concerned as some people I run into. A few years back I realized that while I was trying to plan for “then” and amass stuff and cash, I was missing out on actually living in the present. “Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.” That was me, and at some point I decided I didn’t want to miss it.

I have a friend who has put off doing the things he loves because he is “saving for the future”. I asked him what would happen if the future never came, and he said he cannot think about that…he just wants to be ready for the future when it arrives. He has many hobbies that he would love to do, but he says he cannot afford them because he needs to save more money. Mind you, this is not a guy who is struggling to get by – he makes a very nice salary. But he is so concerned with tomorrow that he is forgetting to live today. And I think that someday he will look back at all the time he wasted preparing and regret it!

I will sign up for that class next semester.

I will take my kids to the park next weekend.

I will get to my woodworking project next month.

I will get to X, Y, Z sometime later.

These are the types of things we tell ourselves day in and day out – and believe me, I know the habit well! It’s a tough one to break, that’s for sure. But it’s a worthwhile one to try to get rid of. If you spend your entire life planning for “when” and not paying attention to the “now”, you are going to miss out on some spectacular stuff. So don’t get caught up in putting all your effort into tomorrow…as you are living here today. Try to find a happy spot in the middle to work with – plan AND do. Life is much better that way. :)

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Comments (8)

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  1. Hazzard says:

    Amen,
    I spent a lot of time over the years thinking about the future at the expense of “today”. I’m working hard to make sure I enjoy every day to it’s fullest and plan for the future at the same time. It’s all about balance. For me, the important thing has been to make sure I’m funding my future and then have fun with some of the leftover money. I’ve been able to do this by making a pretty good income and keeping our monthly bills low. We live on less than 50% of our after tax income. We are also maxing out our 401k’s and contributing to a ROTH and a 529 plan for our daughter. Even after all of that, we still have a large percentage of our income left over every month. Some people were faulting me for spending money and posting about it on the blog but my point was the same as yours. Life is about balance. Why would it be a good idea to save everything today and not enjoy anything until the “future”? You have to do both!

  2. David says:

    I hear you on that Hazzard! The “future” may never come. I can only imagine if my dad had put off everything until “the future”. He died at 44, so he never would have done anything!

  3. Thanks for a great reminder.

  4. Money Beagle says:

    Hi, just found this website and am now a subscriber! I enjoyed this article because my wife has to remind me of this often. There’s a balance between having fun all the time and having no fun at all because you’re so concentrated on the future. I think it’s a process of evolution that gets you there. Part of the key here is making sure that your spouse/significant other are in line with your goals. That makes the journey SO much more rewarding!

  5. Craig says:

    Agree, simply stated and true. It’s very important to plan for the future but you also have to enjoy your life today and live in the present. Get things set with the future, budget accordingly and get something or go on that vacation you want.

  6. Like Money Beagle, my wife is my constant reminder to get my head out of deferred-gratification mode and live a little.

    Between the two of us, sometimes we’ll be more conservative if I have more passion about something, or more “live for today” if it’s more important to her.

    In the end, we’ve found a balance we enjoy.

  7. Enrique S says:

    “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.” You can’t live a life of postponing pleasure. Life is to be enjoyed. Spending a little money for your enjoyment is good for your spirit.

  8. Pam says:

    Thanks for this post! This is a topic that my husband and I have discussed lately. Now is when our kids are at home and none of us is promised tomorrow. Although I believe that we should be financially responsible today – I don’t think we should put off all fun things for tomorrow.

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