Delayed gratification vs excuses

Jes 12 Comments

"No time"
"No money"
"Too far away"
"Can't walk so much"
"Nobody to take care of kids/pets/parents"
"Don't have so many days' leave"
Or just too many?

Familiar things we hear, huh? These are all the excuses people give me when they complain that it has been xxx number of years when they last went travelling. To them, holidays is a far fetched idea that require careful planning and too much time and money that they cannot afford. These are the excuses they tell themselves so that they can blame those things on why they cannot have a break.

There will never be a good time.

When we are young and able and without commitments, we have no money so we tell ourselves that delayed gratification is good because we are saving up for the future.
When we are older and with far too many commitments, we have no time so we tell ourselves excuses because we are sacrificing for career/kids/family.

There ought to be a balance somewhere.
Paging for me?
I agree wholeheartedly that you should travel more when you are young. You may have no money but you have the energy and curiosity that will bring you backpacking and sleeping in hostels to save a few bucks. All these are precious memories that will be remembered with fondness and give you no regrets. However, to take 3 to 4 trips to Scandinavia, Europe, USA in a year is not financially smart because there will not be any savings at all. I have too many friends who are saving up so that they can deplete it at one go with their travels.

Delayed gratification means you can consider not taking so many long trips in a year or taking it only when you have enough savings. Perhaps 1 long and 1 regional trips a year. There are tonnes of places to explore in Asia but because it is not brag-worthy, many people feel the need to match up to peers. You will find that you can enjoy yourself more because you can eat like a king, stay longer and yet not regret the amount left in the bank.

What I recommend is using 20% of your savings for travel in a year if you have no dependents.

So if you have 5k in your bank, you can use 1k to go SEA region. 10k allows 2k for travel so you can go to the rest of the Asia like Japan, Korea, Taiwan, China. Usually people spend around 3k to go Europe and USA so unless you have 15k in your bank, better to wait till you have enough. Needless to say, if you buy lots of branded products and spend much more, just wait till you save more before you embark on another trip.

I know some people will recommend a lower percentage and it does makes economic sense. But take note that there is no dependents, commitments or crippling loans so really, it's the best time to travel and see the world.

The perfect solution for this is to invest your savings so that the earnings can sponsor your trips but I am not sure how long it will take before the family and commitment part kicks in.

This is the prime time of our lives and let's spend some money on ourselves before we start to sacrifice for others. 


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  1. Jes,

    You guys are more fun to be with.

    Of course we need balance; but if I have to choose, I pinch my nose and jump in with YOLO.


    YOLO boys and girls are sexier ;)



    1. Hey SMOL,

      You not zhun one.. you got lots of money now so of course you choose YOLO, hehehe. YOLO people are definitely more adventurous and sporty... sexier too? I didn't know. We are also poorer, haha.

      Definitely will take longer to become a millionaire but the journey is so much more fun :P

    2. Jes,

      What has money got to do with anything?

      I thought YOLO is an attitude towards Life?


    3. Hi SMOL,

      Wink at me some more *tio sot*... No money how to enjoy life which is what YOLO means. From wiki: "Similar to carpe diem, it implies that one should enjoy life, even if that entails taking risks." Eat grass definitely cannot qualify... haha!

  2. Hi Jes,

    It is all about balance! I typically take 2 trips a year - 1 "bigger" and 1 "smaller" one. My wife and I don't really shop so we cut down a lot of expenses in that area. At the moment we budget 10% or less for travelling - not a lot lah. I always like to say that travelling has made me infinitely a much better person, and this is something that cannot be measured in monetary terms. I'm glad to have found someone with a perspective that I can identify with in you.

    Keep travelling!

    1. Hi Kevin,

      Yeah man, I always think that money should be spent to gain experiences, the happiness factor is also a key consideration. 10% is so reasonable... it might be too much for some people but for people who like travelling, we would find it worth every penny.

      Just that a lot of my friends are spending like there is no tomorrow, that's a huge worry in trying to match up with peers. I am sure you are prudent so travel away! Glad that we are of the same frequency :)

  3. Hi Jes,

    I think exposure at a younger age when u still pack with energy is impt. That is what I am gg to encourage my girls to do also.

    I am lucky to say that I have seen quite many places on this planet already, but as age catches or maybe up to a certain point, I m no longer that excited. In fact, I more keen to talking to pple of other countries to uderstand more about their life and culture.

    I love to be a world citizen! And hope u can become a one too n promote world peace!!! lol. But really impt!

    1. Hi Rolf,

      That's why both of us are still sales people and travelling for the company. If you ask me to travel for work then a bit sian, cos we are always going to the same countries doing the same things and no time to venture. But travel for holidays keeps me excited, you must be excited too and spread it to your girls!

      Wah, that escalated fast hahaha... world peace sia. Yeah, learn more languages and understand how fortunate and spoilt Singaporeans are. The most important is to stay curious :)

  4. Haha first time I see a personal finance blogger advocate 20% of savings to travel. Usually finance bloggers be like 20% to bonds or equities etc etc... I like your post! After all, whats the point of busting our hump working and not being able to enjoy life.
    Instead of setting aside a percentage of my savings for travel, i like to set yearly targets for myself. So eg if i managed to save, say, 30k this year as planned, i will reward myself with a trip to _____. This gives me more motivation to work towards my goal.

    1. Hi Shuzhen,

      Yeah, working towards a goal in mind is the best! So there is more motivation to save. As you can tell, I am not a real personal finance blogger, hahaha. I am here to remind people to enjoy more while we are still young and don't have regrets. Of course, there will be some who think 20% is too much for travel but just as long as we continue to save and invest, we can still be financially free even though it's a longer (and happier) journey. Glad we are on the same page :)

  5. On a side note, i think if an old person say "can't walk so much", it is probably not an excuse. :P arthritis ley

    1. Muahaha... nowadays, if you are willing to pay, there will be people willing to transport or even carry you to the attractions. Join an elderly tour group, they can cater to these demands. So, just travel! :P

      Thank you for reading!