More than 50 years ago, hundreds of children were subject to a particularly harsh and gruesome test.
They were led by a tester into a room, and left with a marshmallow set on a plate.
Then they were given an ultimatum. The tester was going to leave the room, leaving the child alone. The poor kid was allowed to either eat the marshmallow, or wait till the tester returned, where he would be rewarded with yet another marshmallow.
In other words, one tasty treat right now OR two tasty treats later.
As you might imagine, it was a tremendous form of torture.
The entire horrific outcome was recorded and it was not pretty. Some kids gobbled up the marshmallow right after the tester closed the door to leave. Others squirmed and quivered while staring down the quary, only to devour it minutes later.
Only a few managed to wait the entire time.
Bless them, but what gives?
Delayed Gratification is the name of the game
It was only years later that the apparent outcome of the experiment was uncovered.
The children that were willing to delay their gratification performed better in many aspects of their life compared to the non delayers. Delayers posted higher examination score, lower substance abuse rates, better health, above average social skills, and of course far superior financial standings – compared to the insta-gobblers.
Looking back now, this set of results seems almost natural and taken for granted.
If you delay the gratification of playing games to complete your homework, you will naturally fare better in your studies.
If you delay the gratification of lying in bed on a cold rainy morning to go for a run, you will naturally be healthier.
If you delay the gratification of loafing around in your job to be proficient in what you do, you will naturally progress faster up your career.
So if delayed gratification is the name of the game, why do we have to pay it now to be financially successful?
Payment is in the form of willpower
It turns out that delayed gratification is another way of saying: expend your willpower first.
If you expend your will power to study hard, you will get better results.
If you expend your will power to get up for a run on a cold rainy morning, you will be healthier.
If you expend your will power to learn your job thoroughly, you will climb the corporate ladder far quicker.
So far so good, but you might be thinking: I came here to read about how to be financially free.
Tell me how to pay it now, dammit!
OK. Here goes.
Financially, Life Insurance is about paying it now
To pay for something that might not be used at all is not palatable for some. In fact, it can appear to be even tougher than the marshmallow test. At least the patient ones got 2 marshmallows back. What do I get when I pay for Life Insurance?
Answer: Financial Security and Certainty.
Safe in the knowledge that you will be protected from hefty hospital bills and treatment costs.
Secure in the fact that if you have serious illnesses, you will have the money to recuperate and get back on your feet.
Paying for those hefty bills and treatment costs now via Life Insurance means that it will be a whole lot cheaper, not to mention that you will sleep a whole lot better at night.
Once you have paid it forward, you might also find yourself in a better position to take financial risks.
To start that business.
To invest in that industrial property.
To make a career switch.
All of which can lead to a positive financial outcome for you.
Isn’t that a virtuous cycle?
Why is it so difficult then?
So the key to being a millionaire, having great health, a great career, a fantastic relationship is all down to a teeny bit of willpower? Why are we not seeing hordes of rich supermodels at NTUC yet, if it were so easy?
Willpower is a muscle that most of us never learnt to develop. To work out.
Hence it is easy to skip life insurance. Too confusing. Hard to understand. So expensive. I’ll just wait for a better time to buy it. I better enjoy that trip to Spain. Heck, upgrade my computer while I’m at it. Oh, and The Great Singapore Sale is just round the corner – can’t miss that now.
Except that sometimes, that “better time” never comes around – then it might all be too late.
Take action and pay for your financial future today.
Sooner or later, your marshmallow rewards will come by the truckful.
www.ClearlySurely.com aims to eradicate the knowledge gap between consumers and Life Insurance. Our Vision is that one day, every Man, Woman, and Child will be properly insured.