The value of commitment in the age of YOLO

Why living in the now is not always the best piece of advice

Published: 8:0 AM August 28, 2018

Updated: 3:53 AM September 5, 2018

MANILA, Philippines — Millennials get a bad rap for “living in the now.”

Scroll through social media, you’re bound to come across YOLO (you only live once) and FOMO (fear of missing out) — netspeak about enjoying the moment, putting worries of the future aside.

But is “live in the moment” truly the best piece of advice? Or is it just naiveté?

The “now” mentality explained

We all know the millennial stereotype: entitled, won’t hold jobs for very long, and worst of all, non-committal. Though data disproves job hopping as solely a millennial characteristic, there’s some truth in the way people think of millennials.

Forbes and Time suggest that the big difference between generations is opportunity. Through the internet, millennials have the world at their fingertips. Finding jobs and even romance is now possible with a swipe.

With these exponential opportunities, more are choosing not to settle. So, it’s not that they’re superficial or hard to please. Millennials are short-term thinkers because they know that there’s always a better choice out there – and they’re never afraid to look for it.

However, there’s a downside to this optimism. One, touch-moves are not always available (so thinking ahead should still come in play). And two, though possibilities today have become endless, resources – time and money, especially – have become limited.

47% of millennials are said to be working more hours than Gen Xers and Baby Boomers, and yet, are earning less. Furthermore, according to CNBC, “nearly 40 percent of millennials have spent money they didn’t have and gone into debt to keep up with their peers.”

Thus, many millennials live “in the now” not exactly by choice, but by necessity.

It starts with long-term thinking

Since millennials don’t have the luxury of money and time, we can’t blame them for finding it hard to make long-term commitments. Commitment comes with stability – in knowing that one can follow through. But how could they commit in a time like this?

First, millennials might need to have a change in mindset. Some think that making a commitment is a dead end — a roadblock to living their best life now — and thus must be put on the back burner.  Other people believe that you only commit once you’re stable – financially, emotionally, and mentally.

But it doesn’t have to be this way. Commitment is about taking control of your future. It’s about shaping your path to be brighter and better.

Take health for example. Sickness can strike any time, and it’s not easy to pay for expensive hospital bills with an “in the now” attitude.  Taking care of your health today gives you the peace of mind that in case of a future crisis, you have a fallback.

The same is true when it comes to finances. You need to strive for financial security. Look at retirement, for instance. Because of job-hopping (which isn’t necessarily a bad thing), retirement packages like what many Gen Xers and Baby Boomers have, are out of the question. It's up to millennials to build their own treasure chest for the future.

Such financial practices are formative. Building, saving, and investing habits teach discipline. And you can’t go wrong in learning how to make your own money work for you.

Ultimately, securing your future will allow you to do more – explore, travel, live life – which others who live so much “in the now” will not and cannot.

Learn to live in the moment and at the same time plan for the long term. It's possible. Setting a budget and pushing yourself to live within those bounds is a good first move. So is setting aside money for insurance as well as investments.

If you don’t know where to start, it would help to find the right people to support and guide you through it. Maybe a family member, a partner, office colleagues, or, better yet, consult an expert like a financial advisor.

Sun Life’s latest campaign emphasizes the value of long-term commitment the company has kept through their 123 years of service to Filipinos. Watch the video below:

Thinking about your future may not be on top of your list right now. But we all know how unpredictable life is, so it might as well be. There’s nothing like living “in the now” without worrying about tomorrow. —

Interested to make the choice of a brighter future? Contact a Sun Life Financial Advisor today.