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Gratification: Instant versus Deferred

Growing up, like many other children in that era, I had a small savings passbook account that started when I was pretty young. Though I don’t remember the intended use of the money saved – at least at the time I was saving it – I deposited money from gifts, odd jobs, a paper route and more. There never seemed to be a need to make a withdrawal over the years I slowly added to the account until it finally was used towards expenses and incidentals while I was in college. (It did not cover tuition or room and board at college, but many other items, such as travel to and from home.)
A couple of the lessons learned were that it was good to put away some money, especially extra money like gifts, for future need and, second, that it was not necessary to spend every penny I got my hands on. Although that approach was the norm for me and my friends, it seems to be much less common today in a world full of expensive attractions that can eat up amazing amounts of money in what seems to be no time at all. A primary driver of this trend is that human desire for instant gratification. Technology has not only made it much easier to attain, but social media make it almost irresistible by pushing the narrative that everyone is doing it and if you do not, you are missing out.
If there is one money lesson you should strive to pass on to your children and grandchildren it is that old-fashioned approach to spending and saving. Instant gratification comes at a real cost and does not necessarily make for a better person. Though unpopular, some self-denial and self-control in spending coupled with a bit of saving can make things easier for your tomorrows.


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