The modern world has left nearly half of UK adults with a ‘want it now’ attitude – and almost two in five are ‘impatient’ in life.
A poll of 2,000 adults revealed the things most likely to ignite our impatience, including slow walkers, public transport delays and having to wait for the internet to load.
While the average adult is only willing to wait a maximum of 15 minutes on hold on the phone before hanging up.
The majority blame their lack of patience on the rise of technologies like smartphones.
Some are even willing to spend more money to get the things they want sooner.
It also emerged that this ‘want it now’ attitude is putting people off investing their money, due to the time it takes to see returns.
Despite saving an average of £1,279 over the last year, 38 per cent of young adults aged 18-34 have never considered investing their money.
James Hewitston, head of wealth management at HSBC UK, which commissioned the research, said: “While most of us have goals for the future, it can seem a long way off so it’s easy to focus on what we want now and worry about the future later.
“The need for instant gratification is hampering people’s ability to plan for their financial future - whether that’s short term goals such as saving for a holiday or emergency repairs, medium term such as a house purchase or wedding, or long term including building a pot for a child’s education or planning for a comfortable retirement.
“While investments are recommended for a minimum of five years, customers can access their money at any point if they need funds unexpectedly and they don’t need to clear out their savings account to invest.”
The survey also found 32 per cent of adults aged 18-24 have made an unusual investment in a bid to make a quick financial gain.
These include putting their money into classic cars, sports memorabilia, instruments and even vintage stamps.
Many admitted they have missed out on a lot of things because of their impatience and reluctance to play the long game.
Several 18–24-year-olds even admitted they were more likely to play the long game when it came to their relationships than their investments, according to research via OnePoll.
Behavioural psychologist, Jo Hemmings, who has partnered with HSBC UK to help set people up for longer-term success, said: “Our brains are naturally wired up to enjoy the dopamine hit that comes with achieving instant gratification and this can come from anything in life, including our finances.”
“With the amount of technology we have at our fingertips nowadays, it can often feel easy to chase instant fixes in the hope of a quick reward.
“But there are a few easy things we can all do in these situations that can help us retrain our brains to focus on self control and prolong our anticipation so we can achieve a longer term, potentially safer, gain.”
Tips for ‘playing the long game’
1.Resist temptation: The ability to resist temptation and stick to our long-term goals is often referred to as willpower or self-control and delaying gratification is a central part of this behaviour. Practicing self-control enables us, like any skill, to get better at it and studies have shown that people who do manage to control their behaviour are happier both in the short and the long-term.
2. Write down goals and break them down into smaller goals: This way you’re protecting yourself from instant gratification by making some decisions for yourself beforehand. This is very useful when trying to hit financial goals, such as saving to buy a house, or a wedding.
3. Actions have consequences: Remind yourself of these. Just like self-control can help you achieve your goals and improve your physical and mental health, a lack of self-control can have adverse effects on your self-esteem, education, career, finances, relationships, and overall health and well-being.
4. Set realistic deadlines: Work out what you can definitely afford, without unrealistic sacrifices that you may not be able to keep to. Perhaps look at a few extras that you can do without, and you are much more likely to succeed.
5. Celebrate small gains: While you don’t want to be extravagant with your hard saved cash, when you hit some of those smaller goals – like saving to a figure that ends in a couple of 00’s for example – treat yourself to an evening out or a ‘gift’ to yourself like a takeaway, or the clothes you’ve wanted for a while.
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