We are used to hearing kids shout “I want” at the store, but we never truly outgrow the “wants” either. In fact, one could easily argue that adult “wants” are a more immediate danger than our kids’ “wants”. They are often at our mercy, while most adults can turn to their credit cards to satisfy their “wants”. And unfortunately, many adults do just that, again and again.
I’ve been a Certified Financial Planner for more than 20 years and getting a handle on our “wants” is something many adults struggle to do. We live in an instant gratification world and waiting for something we want right now is hard. The seemingly unfairness of delayed gratification is magnified by the fact that we can easily buy our “want” with the swipe of our credit card, and it takes a lot of willpower to refrain from succumbing to that buy now impulse.
We Are Always Going to Find Things We Want
Let’s dispel a myth right away: Wants never go away. It’s important that we recognize this for two reasons.
1. We can stop feeling guilty for wanting things.
2. We can get a better handle on our wants
I find some people feel almost ashamed that they want things, especially if they are things that others might consider frivolous or superficial. There is nothing wrong with wanting a big-screen TV or a designer purse if they are items you truly want and enjoy. You don’t need to justify your wants to me or anyone else. What does matter is that you prioritize your wants because some wants have a higher value to you.
Prioritize Your Wants or Goals
There are many things in life I want. I want to travel around the world when I retire. I want to pay for Lauren and Taylor’s college education. I want to find another pair of great shoes. But I don’t want these things equally. Many times we buy our low-priority wants (or impulse wants) first because we are satisfying an emotion. We had a bad day, so we “deserve this” or are bored or lonely.
This is why you need to prioritize goals as well. Ask yourself, which goals would you be devastated by if you did not achieve them?
Once you have your goals prioritized and are saving the amount needed to fully fund those goals within your chosen timeframe, now you can turn your attention to your other wants from vacations to new gadgets and prioritize them. These are the items that make life fun, but when push comes to shove, they are often the things you can live without or delay achievement.
Now when you find yourself tempted by an impulse “want” at the store, take a step back and revisit your goals. Does this item supersede your goals? Or are you feeding an emotion? Knowing what you truly want will help you avoid those instant gratification desires so you can achieve your true goals. Those are lessons I am teaching my daughters, so when they become adults with credit cards, they will remember what they truly want.
Making Money Conversations Fun and Easy
Financial literacy is my passion, and it is easy for me to talk to my girls about money, but I know it’s a struggle for some parents. One easy and fun way to help you start these important conversations and shape how your kids think about money is through my children’s picture books. I’m pleased to offer Making Sense of Cents readers an exclusive coupon code TOUR3114 for $3.00 off my new book, The Lemonade Stand. Join Lauren and Taylor in their continuing money adventures as they teach their friends, Ryan and Christopher, how easy it is to save, spend and share.
About the Author: Shannon Ryan is a Certified Financial Planner and a Mom on a mission to help busy parents teach their children simple, value-based principles that guide their money decisions and support their long-term financial well-being.
The Lemonade Stand – iPad Mini Giveaway
July 14-31, 2014
Sponsored by The Heavy Purse
Co-hosted by Are Ya Gonna Eat That, Broke Millennial, Budget and The Beach, Budget Blonde, Budgeting for More, Busy Mom Budgets, Cash Cow Couple, Cents and Sensibility, Club Thrifty, Color Me Frugal, Debt Debs, Debt Roundup, Disease Called Debt, Eat Laugh Purr, Enemy of Debt, Eyes on the Dollar, Femme Frugality, Financially Blonde, Frugal Rules, Living Richly Cheaply, Luke 1428, Making Sense of Cents, Money Saving Dude, Monster Piggy Bank, Not Now Mom’s Busy, Reach Financial Independence, Shoeaholic No More, Stacking Benjamins, Tackling Our Debt, The Broke and Beautiful Life, The Finance Girl, The Frugal Farmer, The Random Path, Thrifty Dad, VeegMama, and Young Adult Money.
We’re Giving Away an iPad Mini to One Lucky Reader!
Help us celebrate the release of The Lemonade Stand and join Shannon in her mission to increase financial literacy in both children and adults.
“Everyone handles money. Unfortunately, not everyone does it with confidence. Money has long been a taboo topic in many homes, which makes it even harder for parents to know where to start or what to teach. So I created a series of children books to help parents ease into these important conversations. Financial literacy is one of the most loving gifts you can give your children, and I encourage you to make money conversations a priority in your home.”
The giveaway runs from July 14-31, 2014 and is open worldwide.*
* A winner located outside of the United States will receive a cash equivalent prize via PayPal.