“Procrastination is one of the most common and deadliest of diseases and its toll on success and happiness is heavy,” Wayne Gretzky.
In a few hours, we will finish Simhat Torah, meaning that the holiday season will be over. Now we try and take our feeling of being spiritually cleansed plus the pure joy of the Sukkot holiday, to make it through the darkness of winter. Sunset is getting earlier daily, clouds have returned to our sky, and we return to our regular routine. We’ve got a full two months until the next stop of Hanukkah. On a spiritual level, we shouldn’t suffice with saying that we had 3 weeks, now it’s over. Rather we all should try and take what we’ve managed to accomplish on a spiritual level over these last 3 weeks and continue our spiritual elevation through the winter.
As soon as Simhat Torah is over another time period is ushered in and that’s ‘After the hagim’(after the holidays), a term used to both justify procrastination and a declaration that we are now getting back into a routine.
Describing this concept, Dov Eilon writes, “After the holidays” is one of the most popular sayings here in Israel. It comes just before the major Jewish holidays in the Spring and Fall when we have the opportunity to postpone those chores and responsibilities until after the holidays. “After the holidays” we say we will finally clean up our basement, finish the project or worry about that deadline. Craftsmen and technicians are always happy to postpone their larger projects until the days after the festivities. “Aharei Ha’hagim” is the answer we get in Hebrew more often than not when we are waiting to have our orders filled and delivered.”
It’s like sanctioned procrastination!
In one way or another we all procrastinate. It may be saying that you will hang some wet laundry only to find it already smelly and wrinkled by the time you get to it or saying that you’ll throw out the garbage in another two minutes. For most of us it’s all about procrastinating. How many of us are more productive and energized when on a deadline?
As I mentioned, in Israel the ultimate definition of procrastination is the ‘concept of after the hagim’, where no one can focus or make a decision on anything until after the holiday season is over. Now that we are past the holidays it’s time to get back into the daily grind. This is when “life” takes over and people continue to put off things they need to do because they are just too busy. Whether it’s getting kids back in the school routine and figuring out which after-school activities to sign them up to or trying to work through the email backlog, we are all busy. While often left out, it’s also time to pay attention to your finances.
We never seem to have enough time to deal with issues of importance. How many of us put off reviewing our investment portfolio or fail to ever get started because we can’t find an hour or two to get organized and understand what our goals and needs are, and then how to implement a strategy to achieve those goals. When I call to check in with a client I can’t tell you the amount of times I have heard, “I’m so happy that you called. I have been meaning to call you for some time; I just haven’t had the time to do it.”
ABOUT 4-5 YEARS AGO Financial Engines released the results of a survey they took. “We recently conducted a survey to better understand financial procrastination, and found that more than two-thirds (68%) of adults age 55 or older admit to procrastinating on retirement planning.” The more time spent not getting your finances in order, the more expensive it will be down the road. The more time you delay in getting down to business, the harder it will be to marry off your kids without taking loans. The more time you wait to start retirement planning, the more years you may need to work to make ends meet.
You don’t need to spend hours and hours. An hour for a meeting with your adviser and to be efficient it pays to spend a bit of time in preparation for the meeting. That’s all the time needed. From years of experience when a client comes prepared to a meeting, a tremendous amount is accomplished. In preparation, map out your short and long-term goals and needs. How much income will you need to supplement your existing pension? Do you have children to marry off? Are your elderly parents in need of care? Use your adviser as a sounding board. The advisor can tell you if your goals are realistic, and if not, you can work together to come up with goals that can be achieved.
Time flies. Blink and it will be time to start Passover shopping and cleaning. It’s only a bit less than 7 months away! Don’t wait for the next “After the hagim”, now is the time to get your finances in order.
The information contained in this article reflects the opinion of the author and not necessarily the opinion of Portfolio Resources Group, Inc. or its affiliates.
Aaron Katsman is author of the book Retirement GPS: How to Navigate Your Way to A Secure Financial Future with Global Investing (McGraw-Hill), and is a licensed financial professional both in the United States and Israel, and helps people who open investment accounts in the United States. Securities are offered through Portfolio Resources Group, Inc. (www.prginc.net). Member FINRA, SIPC, MSRB, FSI. For more information, call (02) 624-0995 visit www.aaronkatsman.com or email [email protected].