Patience and money together seem to be a rare occurrence. Yet this old-school virtue can lead to modern-day financial success.
We all want instant fixes, fast results, and overnight success. We’re trained to want it all now. Personal finance can be boring because once the work is done, there’s a lot of…waiting.
Like when you’re in a checkout line and watch in dismay as all the lines around you move faster than yours. But as soon as you switch lines, the line you left moves faster, and the line you moved to stops (price check on register four). Cursing yourself, you realize if only you were patient, you’d be out the door and on your way back home.
Practicing patience with your money is like standing in the longest line ever. But learning to be patient helps you develop positive habits to maximize your money skills.
So take a deep breath, get your calm self on, and keep reading to see how.
4 Ways Patience and Money Is Your Spending Ally
Here are four benefits of sharpening your patience skills around spending money.
Because even if you intend to spend money in line with your values, your money plans are easy to unravel if you don’t practice patience.
1. Patience Helps You Pause Spending
Patience defeats the mortal enemy of financial plans—instant gratification. Instant gratification leads to a hit-and-run on your bank account. It leads to impulse spending that deftly removes a chunk of the money you meant to save.
Instant gratification is terrible for your wallet, and it has adverse effects on your body and mind as well.
Once upon a time, when you wanted something, you got in your car, drove to the store, picked it out, paid for it, and drove home. Now online retailers allow you to do almost all your shopping from home.
Convenient, but financially dangerous. A random idea for something you want pops up in your head. So you open a browser, put the item in your cart, and click a button. If you’re a returning customer, you may not even need to type in a credit card number.
A few button clicks, and whatever you want is yours. You get what you want quickly, without thinking. Without considering if your purchase is part of your intentional life.
Online retailers work to “reduce friction,” which means they make it as easy as possible to buy what you want immediately.
A way to overcome instant gratification is to set a waiting rule, especially for larger purchases.
Start small and practice closing your online cart without buying anything. Give yourself 24 hours to think it over first.
Then the next time, try waiting for a week before you decide to buy.
To become a delayed gratification ninja, try a 30-day waiting rule. This is where you wait a full 30 days before buying the item you had the impulse to purchase.
2. Patience Helps You Prevent Debt
When you decide to hone your waiting skills, you lower the odds you’ll get into debt.
Patience helps you pause and consider your budget first before spending money. It gives you time to confirm whether you can truly afford a purchase before you jump into it.
Credit cards make it easy to overspend. All you need are those magic sixteen digits to get whatever you want, up to your credit limit. You don’t even need to have the money for what you’re buying because you get to pay it off over time. With interest, of course.
Plus, you’ll know it’s something you really want because you’ve given it time. The time to carefully research your purchase while you save up for it. You’ll make sure you even want it in the first place!
Patience keeps you out of debt and gives you space and time to figure out what you truly want.
3. Patience Helps You Plan Purchases
Savvy shoppers are willing to delay purchases to get the best deals. If you aren’t able to wait, you’ll probably pay full price. Or worse, if you need to take on debt, you’ll pay more than the full price due to interest costs.
If you don’t need your purchase immediately, you can wait for sales or discounts. You have time to shop around.
If you have patience, you could buy the item used, paying even less for it. Unfortunately, getting what you want in the used stuff marketplaces can take time. But if you can be patient, you are more likely to score a great deal.
Plus, you’ll get a bargain shopper’s high, knowing you got the best value for the money you worked so hard to earn.
4. Patience Permits Sweet Anticipation
Remember your last big vacation? (I know, pre-COVID-19 seems like forever ago.) In the months leading up to your trip, weren’t you excited merely thinking about it? A big part of the enjoyment was in the planning and anticipation of all the fun you’d have.
My husband and I went on our first cruise back in 2019. After the pain of paying for it, we got to enjoy that pleasure of anticipation. We were glued to YouTube videos, watching endless tours of the cruise ship, getting increasingly excited. I’d pause the videos on the menus, reading aloud all the delicious-sounding choices. (I love to eat.)
That’s the power and pleasure of anticipation! A big, free benefit of delayed gratification.
Use it when you’re saving for any type of major purchase or “experience.” You may even find the anticipation is the best part.
Patience and Money Are Wealth Building Allies
A core necessity in any financial plan is to save money. It’s essential for a healthy financial life. After all, no matter how much money you earn, if you’re not setting something aside, you’re not building a financial future.
But, in personal finance, almost all the good stuff happens in the long term.
It takes time for savings to build and for your investment accounts to grow. It takes time for your money to make money. It takes time to create the beautiful compound interest trajectory that powers wealth.
As Morgan Housel, a partner at The Collaborative Fund, states in this article illustrating the power of compounding:
“Everything worthwhile in investing comes from compounding. Compounding is the whole secret sauce, the rocket fuel, that creates fortunes. And compounding is just returns leveraged with time.”
If you’re starting a business, again, you’ll need patience. Success takes time. Especially if you’re building a “passive income” business, you’ll need loads of patience to get through the part where you put in the work without reward.
Without patience, you’ll quit too soon.
Patience and Money Permits Stock Market Success
If you remember that patience is a requirement in investing, this can go a long way to keep you safe from scams and schemes. “Get rich quick” should set off instant alarm bells in your head.
The only guarantee for the stock market is that it will be a wild ride. As an investor, you are paid for volatility (enduring the market’s ups and downs). You take action to invest but then need to remember that building wealth can take decades, not years.
You need to remain patient (and calm) through it all.
“The stock market is a device for transferring money from the impatient to the patient.” -Warren Buffett
But it doesn’t mean that each year the stock market returned 10.7%. Instead, the returns varied year to year, and you needed to tolerate the years when returns were lousy. Only by being patient, and holding on for the long-term, do you have a shot at getting those types of returns.
You’ll need every ounce of your patience to make it through the challenging times.
Patience And Money Takes Practice
Combining patience and money isn’t easy.
So, begin by being patient with yourself. Accept that it takes time to develop patience, and it’s a lifelong pursuit.
The good news?
Patience gets easier with practice.
Practice putting time in between your thought or impulses and your actions. Train yourself to pause before you reach for your wallet or hit the buy button.
Try this with the next impulse purchase that pops up in your head.
Doing that over and over again builds the ninja skill of patience in a world of instant gratification.