If starting a small habit today will have big benefits to us decades from now, but is still minorly inconvenient, say, putting one additional percent of our salary into a 401k this month as Paula Pant suggests, we often will choose to indefinitely delay the inconvenience.
After all, we could die tomorrow. Who wants to be the sucker who denied himself a series of small benefits today for a tomorrow that never comes? Yolo, mofo.
We nerds who have come to love personal finance have also probably discovered some trick or tip that allows us to suffer small sacrifices today in pursuit of a long term goal. Over time, we manage to accumulate emergency funds, down payments for houses, and healthy retirement accounts that maybe even allow us to reach financial independence at a crazy early age.
But we are a minority in a society that lives for today. The average retirement savings of our fellow citizens are tragically, comically low, across all age groups. A majority of Americans would be put into debt by a single $500