What is delayed gratification?

Elaine King

When it comes to financial decisions, the concept of delayed gratification is especially important. Due to the influence of mass media, we are used to immediacy: buy, buy, buy! You'll be happier if you have a new pair of shoes, or a cup of Starbucks coffee every morning, or if you go to a 5-star restaurant. The truth is that advertising executives play with our desire for immediate gratification and turn it into great profits to the corporations they represent.

To exercise delayed gratification involvesexercising our right to decide. That is why it is important to have clear goals when it comes to our financial decisions. If we are clear about why we work and how we intend to achieve the goals, it will be easier to avoid spending on things that we don't need.

Think for a moment, where are you hoping to be in five or ten years? Maybe you hope to have a home or a business? If the answer is yes, the most important thing is to establish clear goals to be achieved in shorter periodsof time that you can measure. This way, you can keep track of your progress, andwill begin to see results.

Regarding children’s financial education, delayed gratification plays an important part. Ask them, rather than spending now on candy, why don’t you save your money to buy that video game you like so much? It is important to give them the space and opportunity to be held accountable on what they want and to learn that their goals can be much more satisfying than the candy they want to buy at this moment.

Planning as a family and establishing commitments according to the age and potentials of each family member is an exercise that can also be an important bonding activity. Take advantage of the time spent together to share what you want and plan the goals you want to achieve. Another important factor is to celebrate the moment in which a goal is met, so all of you will want to continue the program.

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Elaine King - Family and Money Matters™ 2021