The Mistake of Waiting Till The Last Minute

by David Ning · 5 comments

It could be argued that being lazy is built into us because we are just trying to do less. One way to look at it is that we are actually trying to be clever. However, if you believe that waiting until the last minute to do everything is smart, you are just dead wrong.

My friend (we will call him Joe in the article) recently said:

My home value lost 20% already so I don’t think I can refinance. Instead, I will just get a loan modification.

Joe doesn’t fit the subprime profile at all. He is highly educated, capable, and have a well paying job. He is making his monthly payments currently, but just feel stretched paying $3,000 every month towards his mortgage alone.

The False Sense of Security


Like many, Joe heard the news that the government will help homeowners lower their mortgage payments and thought that it was the solution to his stressed out financial situation. He thought to himself “great, there’s a bailout for me too”. Instead of looking for more details on how he can benefit, the thought of having a program eliminated his sense of urgency. He told me it’s been 2 months since he first heard of the news, and he still hasn’t done anything.

The Harsh Reality

Upon doing a bit of research (which really took a whole 5 minutes), I found FDIC’s loan modification program guide which clearly states:

The loan is at least 60 days delinquent where the loan is considered one day delinquent on the day following the next payment due date.

Joe is still current on his mortgage. He is not eligible. He could stop paying for 60 days and then see if he can get his loans modified but it’s probably too much risk to take, not to mention that it’s not really an ethical tactic to try gaming the system this way. So if I never did the research for him, he is still in the dark.

Take Away

It always amazes me that the majority of the people I know like to put things off until the last minute. What ends up happening is that:

  • The assignment seldom completes on time because something else came up last minute
  • You arrive late to a meeting because there was a traffic jam
  • Your coupon expired because you didn’t act the minute you saw that deal

What you should do instead is:

  • Gathering Facts Early – Not tomorrow, NOW. Immediately. Right Away.
  • Listen, Ask, Search, Read – Yes, get off your ____ and take action.
  • Don’t Wait – It is possible that there might be better options as time passes but chances are good that you will be better off if you take action now as long as the option is “good enough”.

Don’t Wait.  Don’t Wait.  Don’t Wait.

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{ read the comments below or add one }

  • Tesla says:

    I can’t believe that there are so many people profiting from other people’s misfortunes. Those debt help frauds, countless scam artists and those that don’t pay their mortgage even though they can.

    I hope the government will do something about it.

  • UH2L says:

    You do make good points, but perhaps matters are oversimplified. One should do things right away, but when there are 50 things to do, which do you do first? Something always gets postponed. This is the modern age and I think this is why we all get ADD to some extent. I find myself switching from task-to-task because I am constantly interrupted, (thanks to technology), or I’m afraid of forgetting to do something else that just popped into my head. I agree that important financial considerations should be attended to first, but sometimes family matters come up, ones that are more important than dollars. At other times, we just get lazy or feel like doing nothing for a while. Downtime keeps us sane though.

    • MoneyNing says:

      When you concentrate on finishing tasks, you will find that you won’t spend nearly as much time contemplating on which to do first. Just write down the tasks at hand and shut down all the technology that enviably slows you down. Actually, the more you do, the faster you will do it and the less you’d want to rest. It’s backwards but it works that way as long as you aren’t always doing something you hate (in which case you should do something about it).

  • Money Beagle says:

    I certainly hope that he would not consider defaulting on the mortgage for the 60 days required to possibly qualify him for a loan modification. The bailout was certainly not passed with this type of thing in mind, and I think this is the type of mentality that causes government programs to spiral out of control. Please encourage your friend to honor the terms of his loan and not to look for a shortcut.

    • MoneyNing says:

      This particular friend is actually NOT planning to miss payments, as he shares the notion that it’s unethical and not the right thing to do.

      I have heard from my other friends that they know people who have done this though, which is sad.

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