You only live once, right? It is a mindset that can help you make really smart or really foolish money decisions.
What is the YOLO mindset? You only live once (YOLO) is often seen as a bad attitude to have because it is all about instant gratification and living rich despite not necessarily being rich. YOLO, in short, causes people to spend money they might not have on stuff or experiences they don’t need, to keep up with friends and neighbours and to feel better about themselves.
We all know that’s the kind of money habits that will land you in trouble sooner rather than later.
But there is another side to YOLO, and this is the side that will serve you very well when it comes to money decisions and money habits. On this side of the coin, YOLO means that you value your one life so much that you do what you can to make the most of it. This means thinking about the impact today’s decisions will have on tomorrow.
Mindless and uncontrollable spending today means that you will have to use more of your future life to work and earn more money. For instance, the short-term pleasure of an expensive night out on the town or new clothes or a flashy car could mean you have to spend even longer hours at work next month to earn the overtime to pay for that spending.
Here is how you can make YOLO work for you and your money:
- Use the YOLO mindset to inspire you to find ways to do things quicker and with less effort, so that you have more time to enjoy life. In the context of money, this could mean using apps or online tools to keep track of your spending and making budget recons easier, and automating payments by putting debit orders in place. Not only do you save time, but you no longer forget about payments and ending up with penalties. Also, when keeping track of your budget and expenses is quick, easy and real time, you are more likely to keep doing it, which means you’ll get better at it and achieve financial freedom sooner.
- Living your best life because you only have one should inspire you to understand, as soon as possible, what really matters to you – and then spend your money according to those values. As soon as you do that, you stop being mindless about money and, instead of chasing the next thing that will make you feel good, you dedicate your money to what is important to you. And that’s a good feeling that lasts.
- YOLO can make saving easier, especially building up an emergency fund, when you think about it as giving yourself choices in future. If you have savings, you can choose how best to deal with an emergency. Also, if you never have to spend your emergency fund on a burst geyser or car repairs, you can use it on something else. Having options is a feature of a good life.
- Debt steals your future time away from fun and gives it over to work. If YOLO is your thing, then getting rid of debt will be your priority and you will stay away from bad debt as far as you can.
- Similarly, investing today buys you time for fun in future because as soon as you can live off your investments you no longer have to work and you can pursue your passions full time – not only on the weekend. “If you only live once, building assets to generate income is the most effective use of your time,” writes Jason Vitug in his book You Only Live Once.
YOLO can be a powerful philosophy if you apply it to your whole life and not only today or tomorrow. Why not give it a go this Youth Month and see what it can do for you?