The tendency to sit tight isn’t always a bad thing when it comes to your finances. Take investing, for example: A set-it-and-forget-it (or, more accurately, a set-it-and-check-in-on-it-every-so-often) approach to the stocks you’re holding in your retirement account is almost always better than a reactionary one. But there are many other ways inertia can hurt you financially.
Waiting to Save and Invest
The Problem: Fighting inertia is by definition hard to do, particularly for people who like to have all the answers before they dive into something.
The Fix: Dollar-cost averaging can help curb your fear. When you dollar-cost average, you’re putting your money in the market over time at regular intervals. Say you have $5,000 to invest: Instead of putting the full amount to work right away, you can deploy that $5,000 over a time period of weeks or months.
Staying Too Long in a Low-Paying Job
The problem: No one just decides one day that they’re going to spend years working for less than they’re really worth. But setting your sights on a better paying option can be a difficult thing to do. Why? It comes down to the psychological sense of your own self-worth, says Financial Life Coach Garrett Philbin, founder of the website Be Awesome Not Broke. “You question: ‘Do I really deserve to make more money?’”
The Fix: You need to increase the value you see in yourself. One way to start is by tracking what you’re actually accomplishing at work. Look at the initial job description and your boss’s expectations, and compare them to feedback you’ve received and any concrete numbers demonstrating your performance (like sales or metrics).
Procrastinating on Estate Planning
The Problem: No one likes to think about death. Only 44 percent of Americans have a will with instructions on handling their money and estate, according to a 2016 Gallup poll. The most-cited reason? “I just haven’t gotten around to it,” reports. That’s inertia in a nutshell.
The Fix: Make an actual appointment — block off time in your calendar — to get this done. If you’ve got a spouse, you’ve already got a partner to keep you to this. If you don’t, grab a friend without a will and have her do the same for her own calendar, so you can keep each other accountable.