How Pinterest Ruined My Retirement


Okay, okay – I know the post title is a touch on the dramatic side. But not really. See, I’ve known about Pinterest for quite some time, but I’ve never really used it before.

I’m an SEO and social media writer by trade. That’s why it was inevitable that I would eventually have to break down and write a piece about the platform. When that day finally came last month, I signed up for an account and poked around. Meh. Easy enough, but I still didn’t see the big deal.

Then, I started pinning.

God help me. I was hooked.

My Original Plan

Okay, before that fateful signup, I had a plan in place – a savings plan for my retirement. I still do, of course. In my household, my husband pays for home expenses and I’m a work-at-home mom. My income goes straight to savings and investments, so I’m in a really great spot to sock away chunks of my income for all sorts of long-term money goals.

My strategy implements a three-pronged approach, which includes real estate, my Roth IRA, and investments. Since I can invest 100% of my income, I’m able to put quite a bit into these different vehicles for myself. For example, lately I’ve been scheduling $1000 chunks of my earnings to invest in Lending Club. Naturally, this plan has required me to exercise extreme self-control, which hasn’t been an issue since I don’t leave my house much and I’m always writing. I’m too busy dealing with home life, raising kids, and working to spend money. Plus, I can work in my pajamas. Bonus.

Didn’t Think I Had It in Me

After a couple of logins, I discovered that women had pieced together entire outfits and pinned them to boards on Pinterest. I *hate* putting together outfits. I’m just not good at that kind of thing – I don’t have the “eye”. But finding outfits all put together – that matched – and finding the pieces available online? Squeal! I was in heaven.

Oh no. I knew I was in trouble.

I don’t really even like shopping. I’m not a clothes freak. My closet still has items in it from my early college days. But something changed when I began pinning all those ready-made outfits for my new (imaginary) fall wardrobe. I began rationalizing away the number of months I could push back my goals in order to spend the money on clothes instead.

My New Game Plan (I Hope)

This is how it begins. Rationalizing away your savings goals pushes them to next month, and then the next… and finally into oblivion. I know deep down that if I blow my money on clothes, I will continue to do so every month thereafter. My goals? Gone. My retirement? On hold.

I’m actually really glad I wrote this post. From now on, I’ll only use Pinterest as my “fantasy board” – and whenever holidays or other occasions crop up, I’ll simply direct friends and family to buy me something from my pins as a gift. Scoring a piece here and there should curb my desire for gratuitous spending.

Plan B: I’m also investing my money the second it hits my bank account from now on. Once it’s already spent on investments, it will be too late for me to be tempted to spend it on something else. Whew. Glad I dodged that bullet.

What about you? What short-term gratification are you tempted to buy into at the risk of stalling on your investing plans?

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