The Hazards of Postponingby Dr. Ron Arndt
Procrastination is the line that divides the 4% from the 96% of the health care professionals that reach Economic Freedom by the age of 65.
Economic Freedom is the day you have a safe and reliable portfolio that produces your desired standard of living for the rest of your life. This is the day you go to work because you want to, not because you have to.
How many times have you heard someone say, “I’m going to get to that next week,” but next week comes and goes. The reality for many of us is that we are inclined to “put-off” those activities that we believe will require a lot of our energy, take a lot of our time or cost us money.
Many times we will postpone an activity because we imagine it might be uncomfortable. What I have discovered is that we avoid moving forward in many cases due to fear. Fear and misperception is an anchor to success. Even when we know the consequences of avoiding this behavior may not be in our best interest, many of us still hesitate.
We have discovered throughout our lives that there are consequences for our every behavior and action. Some consequences are incidental while others have the ability to impact our lives forever. I have learned that when we confront our fears, commit to an objective and then manage the perceived discomfort, we then have the capacity to prescribe the consequences.
Procrastination is a decision. It’s a decision to do nothing. It’s immobilizing. To allow our future to unfold with no direction often comes with painful consequences. In both my personal and professional life I learned that when I took the attitude of “I’ll get to that next week, next month or when I can make the time”, the consequences were generally costly. I have seen many examples in dental offices. The doctor who had every intention to implement the most current OSHA regulations but never quite got around to it. The office was inspected and the fines were consequential. The dentist who had intended to develop a regular policy of employee performance reviews but failed to get around to it. The repercussion resulted in undirected, unmotivated and unproductive employees. “My monthly collections have been fluctuating around 91%”, proclaimed one of our clients. “One of these days I’m going to have to set up a firm financial program for the office”. Her consequences were expensive. . . poor cash flow, inability to grow the practice and an under-compensated doctor.
I see dentists and other health care professionals who practice this same “some day I’ll get to it” philosophy when it applies to their economics. They fail to develop a context or a game plan around their money. They neglect to factor in the painless and insidious affects of inflation on their purchasing dollars. The consequences effect them the rest of their lives. They discover, in many cases when it’s too late, that they cannot live their retirement years out of choice. For many they will live their lives out of desperation.
It is because of this lack of planning that only 3% of the American population and 4% of the dental community is able to retire at the same level they had become accustomed to prior to retirement. They must continue to work because they must not because they want to.
We know that when couples and individuals develop a framework and a discipline around their economics and then commit to a game plan that’s coordinated with an investment strategy that the consequences are Economic Freedom. It’s a lifelong ability to live our lives out of choice, exactly the way we want, free of the constraints of money. That’s what creates economic peace of mind and the results are enduring. Positive consequences are the results when we eliminate the “some day I’ll” baggage and educate ourselves to the unfamiliar. When we begin to manage our anxiety is when we become free to make choices. Procrastination is not a harbor of comfort, it’s our nemesis.
When we elevate economic freedom to a must priority, it comes with no conditions. The results are predictable. Positive outcomes. Peace of mind to live our lives and operate our practices exactly the way we want them, free of the constraints of money. We can procrastinate or we can plan. We can “get to it someday” or we can begin today. It’s your call. Plan your plan.