YOLO, an acronym for you only live once, is the perfect excuse to justify all types of impulsive or reckless behavior. Say you’re at the mall and you see a pair of shoes that you know you can’t afford. The angel on your left shoulder is making every attempt to talk sense to you, but the YOLO genie on your right shoulder is doing a heck of a job convincing you how good the shoes will look on you. His voice drowns out the angel until the angel vanishes. Poof! The YOLO genie explains how you are sure to kill ‘em and how you can find a way to pay your rent. You yell, “YOLO!,” and the rest is history.
This article attempts to show why the YOLO mentality is more destructive than you’ve probably imagined. Our goal is to empower through financial education. So consider the following pitfalls that are hazardous to your financial health.
1. YOLO Disregards the Present
2. YOLO Disregards the Future
3. YOLO Prevents True Wealth Building
YOLO Disregards the Present
The stark irony about YOLO when it comes to money is that the same people screaming it and buying stuff to look rich most likely aren’t rich at all. Statistically speaking, there are a record number of Americans living in poverty – 46.7 million! Even worse, the amount of people living in extreme poverty (i.e., below 50% of the poverty minimum) is at an all-time high of 20.8 million. Last, the median household income, when adjusted for inflation, is at 1989 levels. These stats say that there are a lot of people playing make believe. Then, let's be honest. Would a person who's rich even have to yell YOLO?
YOLO Disregards the Future
One of the reasons that YOLO is so easy for people is due to the belief that the future will be bright and things can be handled then. What if the future isn’t bright? What if you lose your job and can’t find work? What if the US economy slips into recession or worse? What if more jobs are shipped overseas? What if the only jobs available are low-paying menial tasks? Do you really want to be a debt slave?
YOLO Prevents True Wealth Building
Last, one of the most critical things that YOLO prevents is true wealth building. It takes the money that could’ve been invested and wastes it. In this new age where having a job barely allows ends to meet, creating multiple streams of income by having your money work hard for you is crucial! You can’t invest what you don’t have.
It’s true that you only live once, but how you live has significant consequences. Forget YOLO. A word of advice: Live like no one else today, so you can live like no one else tomorrow.