There’s something creeping up behind you.
It’s none other than the past: that thing you’re always leaving behind. Or did you?
From your online footprint to your real-life reputation, what you do today often has either positive or negative consequences in the future.
These are five things you might be doing now that will catch up with you and possibly have a negative impact on your future:
1. Not managing your old social media comments and photos
What you say on the Internet – whether it be posted on a social media site like Facebook, or on a forum like Reddit – stays on the Internet forever and can be easily dredged up on demand, unless you take proactive steps to eliminate or at least bury it.
If you made an unwise comment for friends or the public to see, that comment can be easily shared and spread. And by the time you cool down and want to take back what you said, it can be too late.
People have seen what you said, shared it with others or even took a screenshot of a picture you probably shouldn’t have posted.
There are no secrets on the Internet. Every time you post a picture or make a comment, you’re creating a reputation for yourself online. A little time spent scrolling down your timeline reveals a lot about how your attitudes and choices have changed over time – in front of an audience.
Our lives are interconnected with the Internet, which means anybody can make a snap judgment on the type of person they perceive you to be, depending on what exists of you online.
Reviewing your social media accounts is one way you can prevent the past from catching up with you. Taking an additional step of running a background check on yourself can reveal old accounts you forgot existed – with all those old profiles and embarrassing photos looking frozen in time for anyone to see.
2. Keeping a high level of credit card debt
‘Amounts owed’ is one of five factors that make up your credit score and the second biggest contributing factor. So, if you owe a lot on your credit cards, your credit score is likely negatively affected.
And depending on how good or bad your credit score is the difference between getting approved or denied for a loan.
To maintain the correct credit-to-debt ratio, you wouldn’t want to spend more than 30% of your credit limit. Going past this amount can negatively affect your future when you want to get a loan for a new car or house someday.
3. Choosing not to save for retirement
The importance of saving for retirement couldn’t be stressed enough.
Just consider this statistic from the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College: “Over any 10-year period, more than three-quarters of adults aged 50-60 experienced job layoffs, widowhood, divorce, new health problems, or the onset of frailty among their parents or in-laws.”
Planning, or failing to plan, for retirement can affect how much control, or loss of control, you have of your future. Your dream to travel, spend more time with friends and family or pursue your hobbies when you retire might not be realized if you come up short. With less disposable time, you’d be required to work longer.
Don’t let not saving for retirement catch up to bite you. Experts advise that people should start saving in their twenties, putting away 15% of their income if they want to be prepared for the future. If you aren’t saving now, it’s better to start now than not save at all.
What harm could a white lie do? A lot to your mental and physical health says researchers.
Lying increases your stress hormones, which in turn increases your heart rate and blood pressure. Stress then lowers your body’s ability to fight infection and collectively builds over the years to create numerous adverse health conditions.
In a study that spent 10 weeks tracking the health and lies of 110 adults, the researchers found that “when they told more lies, their health went down. And when they told the truth, it improved.”
If there’s anything you want to fess up to, you might want to consider getting if off your chest. Before your chest starts feeling heart pain or a rapid heartbeat, as these are some of the symptoms that can come from lying.
5. Ignoring personal cybersecurity
Bad Internet security habits may lead you straight to a hacker, cybercriminal, predator or scammer that takes advantage of your vulnerability.
Today, personal cybersecurity is considered good hygiene of the Digital Age.
Doing things like surfing the web without an updated browser is like swimming with sharks. And shopping from a website that begins with “http” and not “https” in the URL is almost a sure way to have your financial information stolen.
We suggest you follow the personal cybersecurity tips highlighted in our blog: 8 Simple Steps for Personal Cybersecurity in 2017
Don’t be complacent about cybersecurity. You can help protect yourself and your family from the worst parts of the Internet before a harmful, irreversible event takes place.
After knowing these five ways the past can catch up with you, you might want to consider: isn’t it time to catch up with the past before it catches up with you?