Ideas for reducing financial procrastination. Blog image of stairs and text.

Procrastinators Unite… Tomorrow: Tips to Help You Deal with the Financial Procrastination in Your Life

Like many of you, I have been a victim of procrastination…ok, obviously victim is not the right word. There have been times where I have struggled to prioritize my time appropriately. I have been guilty of putting important things off until the last minute….and if you are wondering, yes, the idea for this blog came about due to some Grade A procrastinating on my part. Today I will try and share a few strategies to help you deal with the procrastination that may have seeped into your financial life.

A quick funny story on procrastination. At least it is funny now…not so much at the time. In college, I was a Math and Secondary Education major. To graduate from the education program, I had to write a series of papers; first to get accepted into the program, once again to be accepted for student teaching, and one last time to graduate. Each time the topics were the same and the idea was that this would help to show your progression through the program. If I remember correctly (and I very well may not, as it has been quite a few years), it was something like eight different papers I needed to write. In other words, I was supposed to be working on these throughout the semester, definitely not put them off until the night before they were due. As I am sure you can guess, this is exactly what I did. I left myself just enough time to write the papers, no proof-reading, no revisions, they were simply submitted as-is. Now, I was an honor roll student, I had great relationships with the department (including the chair who was also my advisor), and I had just been recognized by the department as a Kansas Teacher of Promise. Were they really going to deny my entrance into the student teaching program because I turned in some sub-par papers? You’re darn right they did, and that was just the kick in the pants this over-confident college student needed. Now fortunately there was an appeals process that allowed me to reapply with rewritten papers, and I was able to take advantage of that without the need for a “victory lap year.” To this day I am grateful to the education program initially denying my entrance into the student teaching program as this experience taught me a powerful lesson that I won’t forget.

Procrastination: The Financial Implications

It is not hard to see how procrastination can have a significant impact on our finances. I’m guessing if you sit and think about your own situation you can likely point out at least a few. It could be setting up your life insurance, getting with HR to set up your 401k, or scheduling that appointment with an attorney to finally get your estate planning documents in order. Many of these things seem overwhelming, and most of the time, this overwhelming feeling will breed inaction.

How to Combat the Procrastination Bug

I think the first thing to recognize is that you are not alone. Two-thirds of American adults don’t have an estate plan, yet I am quite confident a higher percentage than that will someday die. We are going to look at two strategies that you should implement immediately, and a third strategy that you may consider to help combat the procrastination bug in your financial life.


This step alone will make your financial life easier. A key driver in making good financial decisions easier is never having to think about them. A great book to read on this is Automatic Millionaire by David Bach. The name is kind of a give-away, but the premise of this book is to automate good habits, such as paying down debt and saving for retirement, which over time will lead to your financial prosperity. While I do recognize for some people automating things can be difficult, particularly for those households who have variable income, I would strongly encourage you to automate your debt payments (especially credit card debt), as well as automating your savings. While this should not limit you from paying off a larger chunk of debt or making a larger contribution to your retirement accounts at the end of the year, this guarantees that, at a minimum, your baseline is covered.

Set Deadlines

Another powerful strategy in the arsenal against procrastination is setting deadlines. This is the strategy that has me here typing on my keyboard now. Robert Herjavec, of Shark Tank fame, said, “A goal without a deadline is just a dream.” Sometimes these deadlines can be a little more baked in, but when there is no built in deadline, it is important to create the deadline for yourself. Having someone to help hold you accountable to that deadline is paramount. Otherwise, those deadlines seem to find a way of extending themselves. Whether it is a spouse, sibling, or some other relationship, find that person that will help hold you accountable to deadlines and your world will be transformed.

Hire a Financial Planner

While I consider the first two strategies a must for everyone, this last strategy may not be for you. Depending on your current situation, as well as your general proclivities, hiring a financial planner is a step worth considering. Certainly, having regular meetings with a financial planner will build in some deadlines (do you really want to show up to that next appointment and tell him or her that you still haven’t set up your 401k at work?), but it will also help you to automate much of your financial life. Working with a financial planner can help you set up, and stick to a savings plan, work with other professionals to finally get that estate plan done, and finally do something with that 401k that is stuck at an employer you left 15 years ago. When clients work with me, my team will consistently work on their behalf to ensure that they are continually working towards their financial goals. If you are curious what working with me would entail, I’ve got some answers for you.

This post is for educational and entertainment purposes only. Nothing should be construed as investment, tax, or legal advice.

Scroll to Top