The way we think has a powerful way of affecting our behavior and ultimately who we become. I’m going to highlight five faulty mindsets that can lead to a compromised financial future.
I will make more money in the future, and then I’ll save. When you expect to be in a better financial situation in the future, you are tempted to take the emphasis off what you need to do today to save for the future. With this mindset you can easily rationalize that it’s fine to spend more today because you can increase your saving later. In fact, most people, instead of saving more when their paycheck increases, simply elevate their lifestyle to the level of their new income.
Inexpensive stuff doesn’t matter. People tend to think that a few dollars for a cup of coffee or a fast-food snack won’t make a material difference in their financial future. Actually, eliminating several dollars of frivolous spending each day, would allow them to save an extra $20 weekly, and that adds up to more than $1,000 over the course of a year.
I’m going on a spending freeze. A spending freeze mindset tends to lead you to yo-yo spending patterns. You might spend significantly less for a few weeks or even a month or two, but as soon as the spending freeze ends, you are more likely to binge-spend to make up for pent-up demand. Creating consistent and sustainable spending patterns leads to a healthier financial future.
I can’t live without (fill in the blank). If you are burdened by debt and inordinately attached to your possessions, you will find it nearly impossible to get out of debt. Sometimes the best way to eliminate debt is to sell the new car or fancy house that has you cash-strapped. When you are not willing to consider every option available to get out of a bad situation, you will be limited in your ability to pursue a wise course of action.
I’m already in over my head. I might as well keep going. Heading further into a bad situation is never a good idea. The sooner you can assess the reality of your situation and create a plan to get out of it, the sooner you will be able to get onto more solid financial footing. If you find yourself in a difficult financial situation, there are specifically trained financial crisis counselors who can help you create a plan to get out. Don’t be afraid to ask for help.
Good financial habits are typically created when you are intentional and start small. From there you can make incremental changes to boost your confidence and momentum. After a lifetime of healthy financial habits, you can look back with satisfaction and leave a lasting legacy to those you love.