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Instant Gratification

Saving money for the near future instead of retirement can give more meaning to our money.

Photo of Andrea Zelenak
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When interviewing people about their goals and dreams, I thought about the famous Ted talk by Stefan Sagmeister, "The Power of Time Off". One thing on almost everyone's bucket list was to travel. Some wanted to travel to Rome or Greece to trace back their family roots or travel to Hawaii to relax. However, one story that stood out to me was a woman who was already living out her dream. She had already been all around the world and was still dreaming on where to go next. In comparison, others only had dreams and haven't yet taken steps to follow them.

Back to the Ted talk, I thought about Sagmeister's company and their routine sabbaticals. His idea was to retire six years later than anticipated, and spread out those years as periods of discovery and rest. Every seven years, his company takes a year off. This might not be possible to do for everyone, but we can learn something from this. I think a lot of the time we push off our dreams and our goals, saving for retirement that seems so far away. 

We live in a world of immediate gratification. We post something online and instantly we get three likes. We pay $3 and instantly we get our coffee. Saving the $3 instead of buying coffee isn't satisfying, let's be honest. We often don't get excited about saving because it's not going towards anything, it's delayed gratification. What if we look at retirement and money differently by having immediate gratification and short term results?

What is a provocation or insight that might inspire others during this challenge?

Add up the small purchases you make and the things you can live without. See what you want to cross off your bucket list, and how you can save for the near future. It may be easier to save money if you have a goal or motivation to save: http://www.nomadicmatt.com/travel-blogs/michael-success-story/ https://www.ted.com/talks/stefan_sagmeister_the_power_of_time_off?language=en#t-347034

Tell us about your work experience:

Recent graduate with a degree in Product Design, looking to make an impact in humanitarian and social design.

Specifically, please check all that apply:

  • I'm not currently involved in a credit union, but am curious to learn more!

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Spam
Photo of Kate Rushton

Hi Ange!

Thank you for a great post. Do you think everyone is aware of all the options available to them or are they too scared to ask? For example, a lot of jobs can be done from a laptop e.g. software developer, writer etc. Maybe it is not an all or nothing (working or not working) but working in an office and working remotely for a few months (full-time or part-time). What do you think?
Do you think something like a Substitutions app could work with the idea of trade-offs? For example, if you normally get a $3 coffee every day of the week, how much could you save if you just got a coffee on Monday and Tuesday. What could you save in 1 year, 5 years etc.? Maybe half of that saved money could go in the retirement pot and another half in something you want to do in a year's time. 

https://challenges.openideo.com/challenge/financial-longevity/research/substitutions-the-food-substitutes-app

Spam
Photo of Bettina Fliegel

Thanks for sharing a great post Ange.  And thanks Kate Rushton for suggesting the Substitutions App and linking that post here.  Kate, I think what you propose is a great idea.  
Is there a way to create a psychology around saving for now and later which is in some way connected, and the act of saving fun, maybe working with others towards goals that they might share?  

Spam
Photo of Andrea Zelenak

Thanks Kate!

I think a lot of people in the younger generation know more about hoteling/working remotely. But I think all generations are also in a comfort zone which they might be afraid to leave. Working remotely is a great idea though, you can definitely work and follow your dreams!! 

Bettina Fliegel 
And yes! I love the app idea. It would be cool too if it went to a "trip fund" or a customized goal/dream they wanted.  Maybe if you're traveling with others, the app could be connected to the people you're traveling with almost in a competition to who can save the most? I agree, competition is always fueling. People have competitions with their fuelbands/fitbits all the time!

I wonder if there's a way to track spending and see patterns in different places. I know Google maps/iphone maps now track your movement and know you head home around 5:30, or go to the farmer's market on saturday. There could be some kind of way to track your patterns if you normally get coffee on your lunch break, or buy lunch. It can give a notice on every purchase - "Hey, aren't you going on that trip to Hawaii soon? Don't you want to save?" Haha or something like that!! 

Spam
Photo of Bettina Fliegel

Hi Ange.
I love your ideas here!  I like the trip fund and I wonder if it can be paired with a fund for later down the road - like a savings fund for a family trip with grandchildren, dreaming ahead 10 years?  So one trip is this year, and the other is on the bucket list?  Would there be a way to add visuals to the app, like a "dream board", because who knows where that trip in 10 years might be to?

I also love the tracking spending idea.  Would it be possible to have a group, circle of friends, like a group chat - in which your friends can post observations and tips - rather than Google?  So if you have a work friend and she notices you always get coffee outside, maybe she points that out and says, take a coffee from the office break room twice a week and save for that Hawaii trip?  I think friends/family might be great observers of our habits.  What do you think?

Spam
Photo of Andrea Zelenak

Hi Bettina! 

Yes, I think it would be great if it were attached to a savings fund. Maybe this is something that a bank would offer or a secondary service tied with your bank account balance? The dream board is great! If there was a list of things they wanted to buy/do, I'm picturing a pinterest board in my mind when you say "dream board". 

This could be way future for this "app", but it could even give suggestions like "hey, buy your plane ticket six weeks in advance" or "fly on a tuesday". 

I love the friends/peer contribution. Maybe if it showed percentage towards a goal instead of balance? Although, I did read an article as motivation to get your friends involved as a "brag" or "shame" factor.  If you were going on a trip with your friends, it would definitely be great to get them involved! But I do like the idea to have suggestions from friends like the coffee idea, maybe meal prepping if they see you go out to eat a lot. I'm trying to think of other ways for motivation that can be added as well.

I'll be posting this idea this idea this weekend! I'm really enjoying all of your collaboration. Can I add you as a team onto the idea Bettina Fliegel and Kate Rushton if you're a "community member"/"guide"?

Spam
Photo of Andrea Zelenak

Hi Bettina! 

Yes, I think it would be great if it were attached to a savings fund. Maybe this is something that a bank would offer or a secondary service tied with your bank account balance? The dream board is great! If there was a list of things they wanted to buy/do, I'm picturing a pinterest board in my mind when you say "dream board". 

This could be way future for this "app", but it could even give suggestions like "hey, buy your plane ticket six weeks in advance" or "fly on a tuesday". 

I love the friends/peer contribution. Maybe if it showed percentage towards a goal instead of balance? Although, I did read an article as motivation to get your friends involved as a "brag" or "shame" factor.  If you were going on a trip with your friends, it would definitely be great to get them involved! But I do like the idea to have suggestions from friends like the coffee idea, maybe meal prepping if they see you go out to eat a lot. I'm trying to think of other ways for motivation that can be added as well.

I'll be posting this idea this idea this weekend! I'm really enjoying all of your collaboration. Can I add you as a team onto the idea Bettina Fliegel and Kate Rushton if you're a "community member"/"guide"?

Spam
Photo of Kate Rushton

Hi Ange! Feel free to add me to your team. I was hoping that you would be posting in the ideas phase. 

Spam
Photo of Bettina Fliegel

Ange,
The "community mentor" does not preclude from being on a team.  Thanks and feel free to add me too.
"Suggestions" that will save people money is a great idea!  That would be very helpful.
 Glad you like the "dream board".  Yes virtually I see it as a Pinterest type thing.  I also think there is value in making one, finding images, cutting, pasting, drawing.  Maybe one can take photos of the board and post those into an app, in addition to the option of doing this digitally? Taking time to dream, and visualizing it, might help one focus on finding a financial plan towards realizing their goals?

Looking forward to reading your Idea Post!  

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