Time Travel & Your Money

By Melissa Tosetti

“My Past Self screwed my Future Self’. 

This was one of the first statements a client told me when we started working together a few years ago.

I laughed out loud at the time, but the sentiment of it has stuck with me.  Since working with that client, I started doing things for Future Melissa and thanking Past Melissa for things she did to make the current day a little easier.

It’s funny how in thinking in those terms, it has shifted how I feel about doing certain tasks that otherwise I’d procrastinate or put off altogether.

On a small scale, Past Melissa filled up her gas tank when she had a few extra minutes, even though it still had ¼ tank.  Future Melissa was grateful two days later when she was running late and didn’t have to sweat running out of gas or squeezing the errand into an overpacked day.

On a grand scale, Past Melissa gathered her tax return information back in early February and turned it into her accountant so Future Melissa wouldn’t be sweating it on April 15th.

This idea of doing favors for my future self makes me giggle a little and also speaks to my inner-Whovian (a term used for fans of the British television show Doctor Who about a time traveling alien called The Doctor.)

If this idea appeals to you, give it a try!

A few small favors you can do for your Future Self:

  • Finally taking 15 minutes to cancel that monthly subscription that you haven’t used in over a year. Your Future Self will have a little more money to do something fun.
  • Pulling the trigger and finally setting up that emergency fund and automatic transfer timed with your paychecks. When the dishwasher needs to be replaced your Future Self can thank your Past Self because you won’t have to put it on a credit card.
  • Start a travel savings account and begin setting money aside for it with each paycheck. Your Future Self can toast to your Past Self while sipping cocktails on the beach.

A few big favors you can do for your Future Self:

  • Start putting money toward your 401k, 403b or other long term investments. If you are already contributing, consider increasing your contribution.  Your Future Self will benefit from a much healthier retirement.
  • Create a Spending Plan to ensure your money is going where you want it to go rather than your Future Self having to wonder where it went.
  • Hire a financial advisor if you’re not already working with one to give your Future Self a strong financial foundation to stand on.

One of the things I’ve learned over the years from my own experience as well as working with so many clients is that we usually know what we need to do.  It’s getting ourselves to actually do those tasks that’s the trick.  If reframing those critical tasks by thinking of them in terms of time travel helps, then by all means, do it!