Today Self vs Tomorrow Self

By Mark Seed, myownadvisor

Special to the Financial Independence Hub

From one of my favourite blogs and podcasts to listen to (Farnam Street), I recently read a few lines about today-self and tomorrow-self that offered up some reflection.

In a nutshell:

“There is a constant battle in all of us between our today-self and our tomorrow-self.”

Today-self tends to care about today … looking for immediate gratification or in some cases, avoiding doing things today that can be done tomorrow. Very child-like.

Tomorrow-self is like our inner adult, who has the knowledge and experience that it takes time to get meaningful results. That could be working on things like your career, your relationships or your financial independence journey.

From the Farnam post:

“Imagine you are tasked with building a brick wall. Today-self looks at the empty space in disbelief, discouraged at the size of the project. Today-self decides to start tomorrow. Only tomorrow never comes because the empty space again seems insurmountable. Today-self decides to talk about the wall they’re going to build, as if it were the same as building the wall. It’s not.

Tomorrow-self knows that no one builds a wall all at once. It’s going to take a month of consistent effort from the time you start before it’s done. Tomorrow-self wishes you’d stop thinking about the wall and focus on one brick.”

How true.

So, as so many sayings tend to go related to behavioural psychology for any sort of success:

think BIG, act small. 

Life is complex. Life is very uncertain. We can be easily and often overwhelmed by the magnitude of things and things to do.

At the end of the day, while we need to have our long-term brick wall in mind, we should just focus on one or two bricks each day. Do some of the smallest things well that move you forward. Then repeat. The logic is simple but not simplistic.

From The Behavior Gap:

Simple but not Easy

The wisdom of tomorrow-self is this: Focus on one thing you can do today to make tomorrow easier. Repeat.

(Click here to share this Tiny Thought on Twitter.)

More Weekend Reading…

Thinking about today-self and tomorrow-self, that’s a good reflection for this chart:

January 1, 2022 Dividend Income Target

That calendar year progress certainly didn’t happen overnight.

So many advisors, planners, and others continue to banter about dividends vs. growth and everything in between.

I’m at the point in my investing career whereby I mostly tune that stuff out – unless it really annoys me.

While your mileage could vary, I believe you will be rather successful with your investing-self if you continue to follow these simple (but not always easy) rules:

  1. Always spend less than you make. 
  2. Invest in lower-cost products and/or learn to invest on your own. 
  3. Strive to maintain a high savings rate for investing. 
  4. Don’t interrupt the power of compounding.

I don’t care if you index invest. I don’t really care if you don’t like dividend stocks either.

That’s not the point.

Whether your investing plan and risk tolerance calls for 60/40 stocks; 80% dividend-income stocks and 20% growth; 98% growth + 2% cash, or any other permutation or combination – define it and stick with it.

I’ve found my plan and I continue to follow it. My plan has gotten me this far and it is my hope it will take me much further.

I hope the same investing success for you too!

Thanks to Dividend Hawk for including me in his Week in Review.

The Vox wrote about the emotional side of personal finance. From the article, some worthy stuff:

“It’s imperative to understand that emotions drive most decision-making. For example, we know we shouldn’t read on our phones in bed because it’s bad for our sleep quality, but we do it anyway. We know we should move our bodies regularly for our physical and mental health but still let exercise become another chore that we put off. The same is true when it comes to money: We know we should spend less than we earn and save for the future, but many people find it really hard to do that.”

I’ve always believed, and I’m trying to get better at this with my health, that we’re more likely to make better decisions about our future self, if we can imagine our future self more clearly. Basically, I look like “X” in a few years. Forecasting what I look like, act like, feel like and more should help me bridge the gap between today-self and tomorrow-self.

It was a pleasure to chat with the guys at – when their membership asked me anything (AMA) earlier this week:

Congrats to my friend and partner Joe – incredible financial freedom Q2 update here.

“As mentioned, there have been a number of healthy dividend increases and we managed to deploy some capital into dividend stocks.

As you can see in the chart below, the dividend increases have really made a difference in increasing our forward annual dividend income to $70,500. Given enough time for portfolios to compound, slow and steady does work!

The dividends are counted from all of our family accounts including non-registered (including leveraged account via the Smith Manoeuvre), RRSPs, corporate investment account, and TFSAs.”

Building on this week’s behavioural psychology theme, Liquid from Freedom 35 Blog shared how he has created a net worth of $2M in only 14 years of work-life balance by leveraging some mental models that are enablers to accomplish any investment or financial goal.

Check out his story (and tips) to realize your own financial independence goals!

Thanks to Dale Roberts and his Twitter-happy-fingers for this interesting share:

Bulls and Bears Markets

And this was a good, fun reminder too!

Stock market

Got retirement and/or inflation in retirement on your mind?

Check out these related articles:

Can this reader retire at age 55 with higher inflation now?

How could you invest to help offset inflation?

As always, you can hit me up on my brother-site Cashflows & Portfolios for a read or comment, a site dedicated to helping you manage your cashflow and portfolio wisely including any drawdown plans.


After visiting the site, flip to our Contact page to find out more about our services.

With my partner Joe, I help answer questions like:

  • Do you have enough to retire?
  • When can you retire?
  • How much can you spend?
  • Should you take CPP at age 65 or 70?
  • How do you minimize the OAS clawback?
  • And more and more!

Save, Invest, Prosper!

As always, check out my Deals page for any current discounts, cash-back offers and more.


Mark Seed is a passionate DIY investor who lives in Ottawa.  He invests in Canadian and U.S. dividend paying stocks and low-cost Exchange Traded Funds on his quest to own a $1 million portfolio for an early retirement. You can follow Mark’s insights and perspectives on investing, and much more, by visiting My Own Advisor. This blog originally appeared on his site on June 17, 2022 and is republished on the Hub with his permission

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