Friday, April 9, 2010

Instant Gratification - The "Now" Generation

After last weeks post, a good friend made a very observant comment. He stated, you rarely hear the words,

"This will take hard work, but will be worth it in the end."

He makes an excellent point. The "Now" generation, as I often call it, thrives on instant gratification. Hard work is perceived on a much shorter time horizon and results are expected sooner rather than later.

Considering the world we know live in, this makes sense to a certain extent. Gone are the days of calling your parents to let them know you arrived at your destination. "Not being near a phone" was a good excuse in the '80's. Today? Finding a pay phone is a bigger challenge. We now communicate with each other instantly via cellphones, texting or email.

1 hour photo has morphed into digital photography. 10 minute abs are now 7 minute abs. and movies can now be rented through your TV. Technology has transcended just about everything we do.

Recent statistics reveal cell phones have now penetrated 90% of the American public. Boy, that was fast! I've seen historic reports indicating TV and radio required about 50 years to reach a similar penetration level. As Bob Dylan would sing, "The Times They are a Changing."

Even dieting has joined the generational time warp. Didn't it use to take hard work to lose 5-10 pounds? Since the beginning of time, losing weight has been a knife & fork endeavor. Toss in some daily exercise and you're on your way. Earlier this week, I heard how we could 'supercharge' our diet. "Lose weight faster" they claimed. When does it end? Take a pill before bed and wake up 10 pounds lighter in the morning? Hasn't losing weight and/or toning your body always been hard work? When did it become fun?

Retirement planning is now falling into this mind set as well. Investors are getting a little edgy due to the lost decade (2000-2010). Many baby boomers are now realizing the late '90's wasn't typical as the S&P500 returned double digit returns for five consecutive years. Unfortunately, they starting relying on this type of accelerated growth and didn't feel the need to fund their retirement every year. The last 10 years has has been a wake up call for many and they are now trying to catch up.

Anything worthwhile takes discipline, courage and HARD WORK. This will never change!

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