Pay Now, Play Later

“There are two paths people can take. They can either play now and pay later, or pay now and play later. Regardless of the choice, one thing is certain. Life will demand a payment.” John C Maxwell.

Pay now, play later. This is the principle behind retirement planning. Pay now – you systematically set aside money and defer current consumption. Play later – having paid your dues, you later sit back and enjoy the fruit of your labor and wise planning. Flout this rule and you could find yourself still toiling in your golden years.

What are you doing now? Are you paying or playing? Whichever one you choose, there is a price tag. The price tag of paying now is self-discipline – delayed gratification, passing up on a “good deal”, making a distinction between wants and needs. Paying now could be acutely painful but the pain is often short-lived.

Playing now means you live for the thrill of the moment. Buy now pay later is your life mantra. The price tag of living this way is regret – buyer’s remorse and discomfort from overextending yourself. Playing now amounts to shortchanging your future self. Today, more and more people are working into their seventies and beyond, not because they love to work but because they can’t afford to retire. In a 2012 study conducted by the Employee Benefit Research Institute, twenty-five percent of workers said the age at which they expect to retire had changed in the past year. In 1991, 11 percent of workers said they expected to retire after age 65, and by 2012 that had grown to 37 percent.

Don’t be a statistic. Paying now is often painful but that pain pales in comparison to the lingering pain that arises from playing now. Jim Rohn said, “discipline weighs in ounces, regret weighs in tons”. Choose wisely, pay now and play later.

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