It’s the time of year when one word is on everyone’s minds: Resolutions. We all want this year to be the best year ever, and making resolutions is the first step to making that happen.

There’s another word that’s on my mind at this time of year, too: Procrastination. Procrastination sabotages us as we try to accomplish our goals. It kills our dreams. And sadly, it’s very common.

As a CFP, I help people set goals around money, and I see over and over how delaying can prevent people from accomplishing those goals. That’s why I want to talk about procrastination a little bit today, so that it’s not an issue this year. After all, wanting a better 2017 isn’t a matter of wishing, hoping, dreaming, but doing.

Why do people procrastinate?

In my line of work, I see the most procrastination around things like legacy building and estate planning. Here are the reasons people put off doing the work that leads towards accomplishing their goals:

  • It’s not fun
  • There are other (more fun) things to do instead
  • It’s not nice to think about your own mortality, which you must do in estate planning
  • It can force you to face your lack of accomplishments head-on, which is unpleasant
  • It can bring family issues to the surface that normally stay under wraps and may lead to arguments

These are just some of the reasons people put off doing what they know they should. They’re all compelling reasons not to do something. Let’s look, instead, at why we have to do the work.

The costs of putting off your estate planning

When I see people fail to plan their finances, or fail to carry through on the plans they’ve made, I know there’s potential for bad consequences.

First and foremost, they leave their families in a very difficult situation after their passing. This can result in a variety of problems including onerous tax bills, IRS problems, and family squabbles over inheritance, to name a few. As tough as it can be to bring up family issues with your spouse and children, it’s even worse when those issues come up when grieving the death of a loved one.

Another cost of putting off estate planning is that your robbing yourself of the chance to conscientiously create your legacy. Leaving a lasting legacy takes forethought and intention, not to mention execution. But by always saying that you’ll do it “some day” rather than today, you’re guaranteeing the legacy you leave behind will not be the one you want it to be.

Finally, by procrastinating, you also lessen your impact on the world by not directing where you want your assets to go upon your death. If you don’t take action, you could end up being a benefactor to one institution only, whether you like it or not: the IRS.

How procrastination affects your whole life

While I’m discussing procrastination through the lens of legacy, money, and estate planning, it’s something that can affect our lives as a whole, not just piecemeal. At this time of year it’s so easy to become enthusiastic about the goals we’ve set because we see the end result and that end result is very attractive. But even motivated by the end results, which we want to attain so badly, it can be hard to overcome the reasons for procrastination mentioned above.

If you haven’t yet done your estate planning, or made that donation to the charitable organization you’ve been meaning to, or haven’t thought about the legacy you want to leave, ask yourself why not. What are the reasons for avoiding the work? What is the cost if you continue to put it off, to you, your legacy, and your family? Finally, what is one small step you can take this week or this month to get closer to that goal?

Need some help achieving your financial goals?

Helping people set fantastic financial goals and achieve them is what my team and I do every day. If you’re interested in learning more, contact my team at Renn Wealth Management. We’ll help you fight procrastination, do the work, and achieve your financial goals for 2017.