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The Patience Test

Do you want R500 right now or R1000 in a month’s time?

It might seem weird because, in theory, we should all be able to wait for 30 days to get twice as much money…

but…many of us would prefer the cash right now.

We prefer instant gratification.


Present Bias

You may think of yourself now and in the future as the same person…but below the surface your brain might not totally agree.

Researchers tell us, that we have what is commonly called a “present bias”. That means that we think now is more important than later, and yes, that we prefer our current self to our future self.

Why is that?

In many ways, our brain thinks about our future self as a totally different person and guess what… it doesn’t care about that person as much. It defaults to looking after the person right here and now.

Now vs LATER

This is often the reason why we will choose to take money now, rather than waiting. And why we are happy to use credit to get stuff we can use now, and let your future yourself worry about paying it off.

Your future self probably wants to have killer abs… but to get them, your present self has to sweat, Urgh… who wants to do that??

Your future self probably wants to retire and have enough funds to afford food… but to do that, your present self has to save the money you could be having fun with, what a pain!

Learn to Care About Future You

While reading this, you may already feel disinterested in worrying about future you.

After all, present you could be doing many other things, rather than thinking about the future.  See, it is a problem, and it impacts your current choices.

‘we must train our brains to think more about our future selves, and to care’

This is why we must train our brains to think more about our future selves, and to care. We need to develop a little empathy for our future selves.

Be Nice to Yourself

One way to connect with future you, is to think about past you.

Consider how your past decisions have influenced your current reality. Did you make smart choices that improved your life? Or did you make bad choices that still hurt? If you could go back, would you change the decisions you made? It is good to train our brains to think about cause and effect.

Next, try picture yourself in years to come.

When you next look in the mirror, try to picture what your future-self will physically look like. What will your hair look like, your skin, your physique?

The more often you can think about future you (maybe even just ‘tomorrow you’) the more you can train your brain to start to prioritise them.

Give Yourself a Break

One thing that you can do for future you, is to get rid of your debt.

Get rid of all that stress and pressure to pay your creditors. Paying your debts off now, (even if that is just not missing a payment this month) will help you in the future.

‘Try give yourself less debt, not more’

You can also avoid adding more debt to an already large pile of debt. Don’t do it!

Try give yourself less debt, not more.

That way, future you will look back and say: “thank you”.

Note: To read the rest of this issue of Debtfree magazine click next/previous