If you ask me, I think that everyone has the potential to become wealthy but the sad truth is that most people are making money mistakes that are holding them back from realizing their true potential. In fact, a few bad money mistakes can be the difference between financial success and financial destitution. Fortunately, I’m going to share with you 5 money mistakes that will bury you financially so that you can avoid these mistakes and clear your path to financial success!
Mistake #1: Being Too Cheap To Invest In Education
Let’s face it, these days, education, in the formal sense, ain’t what it used to be. Back in our parents’ time, getting a college degree meant a one-way ticket into a high-paying job that would offer great opportunities for career advancement and a generous pension when all was said and done. Unfortunately, those good times are over and as such, more and more people are becoming more skeptical of the merits of going to college, and frankly, I don’t blame them!
Nowadays, going to college means sitting in a packed auditorium amongst hundreds of other disengaged students while a professor as old as your grandmother monotonously works their way through a 100 page slideshow. However, after the slog of your studies, at least you’ll get a job right? Well, this proposition is easier said than done. Right now, it takes the average student anywhere from 3–6 months to get their first job out of college with many having to look for at least a year depending on the degree they pursued. This is all to say that college, and formal education in general, isn’t what it used to be, however that doesn’t mean you should cheap out on learning!
One of the biggest mistakes you can make is allowing yourself to remain ignorant in life. There’s a reason the saying “the more you learn, the more you earn” is so commonly used because the knowledge you have, when applied properly, can make you incredibly wealthy. For instance, if you do take the right degree and get into fields like medicine or engineering, you can expect to be pulling in some very large incomes during the course of your career.
However, don’t ignore less formal avenues for learning too. Taking online courses and hiring coaches are great ways to build up skills you can use to make more money and raise your financial IQ. For instance, when I was struggling to get my YouTube channel off the ground, I turned to paid coaching to get the expertise I needed. Now, because I made this investment, my channel makes me over $100,000 a year. However, if I would have cheaped out on my education, I would have never gotten to this point.
The key takeaway here is that education is important. However, before you spend even a penny on education, ask yourself, what is the return on this investment? Not all forms of education are worth their salt so whatever you invest into should come with positive returns!
Mistake #2: Not Knowing Your Numbers
There are a lot of numbers I don’t know like my girl’s phone number or the number of drinks I had at the bar last weekend but when it comes to my finances, I have those numbers on lock. Unfortunately, not everyone is as financially in-tune as myself and this is absolutely crippling their financial progression.
You see, I live by the saying “what isn’t measured, isn’t managed” and quite frankly, it’s too easy to let your life pass while your finances remain stagnant. I know this because it happened to me. When I was a couple years into my career, my financial progression was at a standstill. My income wasn’t rising and I was barely investing and as such my net worth began to lag behind for my age. Fortunately, one day I woke up and realized how financially negligent I was being and swore to never ignore my money again.
Given how guilty I felt for having disrespected my money for so long, I decided to create a system that I could use to ensure that all areas of my finances never remained stagnant again.
This is when the DIIS system was born. DIIS stands for Debt, Investments, Income and Savings and the goal of this system is to ensure that you are constantly progressing monetarily by continuously being reminded of where you stand financially. To use this system, there are three steps you must follow.
Step one is to determine baselines for each of the four pillars in this system. Add up your debts, total your investments, determine your income and review your savings. Once these starting figures are set, the second step is to create actionable steps that will get you closer to your financial goals. For instance, if you aim to save $100 by next month then create a plan to cut out $100 worth of expenses or make a bit of extra money. Finally, after a month passes, step three involves reviewing where you stand within each of these four pillars and determine if the goals you set out for yourself were achieved. If they were, create new goals and actions. If not, ask yourself where you went wrong and how you can change your approach to ensure your goals are met.
Therefore, if you’re serious about seeing significant progress in your financial life, then set up your DIIS system for yourself and avoid the mistake of sleeping on your finances!
Mistake #3: Not Maximizing High Value Tasks
I remember when I was a kid, I used to hate doing chores on the weekend. I would get up in the morning excited to play video games or go out with my friends but first, I had a laundry list of chores to do first like make my bed or clean my room. Then, one day I went to a friend’s house and saw a cleaning service come and clean their house. I know it seems silly now but I couldn’t believe my eyes — some people didn’t have to do chores! It was at that moment that I swore to myself that once I could afford to, I would never do my own chores again and little did I know at the time that I was learning a very important financial lesson.
You see, most people, given their limited incomes, focus on saving every penny they make. In short, they have a scarcity mindset. As such, they do everything they can to keep the money they have, like for instance, doing all their own household chores themselves rather than paying to have them done for them. Unfortunately, this defensive mindset is exactly why most people will remain in financial mediocrity for the entirety of their lives.
On that day many years ago at my friend’s house, I came to learn that those who get ahead financially ensure that they maximize the hours of the day they attribute to their highest earning tasks. For instance, if you run a business and make on average $100 an hour, it would make more sense to pay someone $50 an hour to come clean your house or pick up your groceries while you work than to do those errands yourself. As you can imagine, when you start to stack these incremental wins on top of one another over time, your wealth is bound to grow.
Now, when I share this advice with people, they often tell me that they do these low value tasks themselves because they have nothing better to do with their time. This is a problem. If you presently don’t have a high-value skill you can use to make money outside your 9–5 job then this is the first step you must take in your quest for greater financial success. Learn a monetizable skill so that you can open up more income opportunities. Then, once you possess this skill, perform an audit of your time. Ask yourself which activities you can eliminate and which activities you can outsource like the example of the household chores that I just gave. Doing this will offer you extreme financial benefits over time and will ensure that you don’t waste your financial potential cleaning toilets instead of going out there and making money!
Mistake #4: Striving For Quick Wins Rather Than Long Term Success
We’ve all done it before. You put your bagel in the toaster and before it barely even toasts, you pull it out and eat it as you’re too impatient to wait until it browns. While this is a minor example of how us humans today tend to let our impatience get the best of us, the consequences of this character flaw can be much worse when it seeps into how we manage our money.
I’ll be the first to admit that in recent years, I have been rather impatient when it comes to realizing financial success. In fact, it still kills me inside seeing 18 year olds on Instagram driving Lamborghinis while at 30 I still don’t have one in my own driveway. Now, fortunately, I’ve cultivated enough self-control and financial discipline to be able to sidestep most spending temptations; however for others, the temptation to have this success right now is simply too great to resist. As such, we continue to see time and again people gambling their money in the hopes of seeing quick wins that will transform their lives overnight which in reality has a very small chance of actually happening.
One great example of this is all the meme stock and meme coin investing during the pandemic. While it was great to see a ton of new investors entering the market for the first time, many of their investing plans were flawed as they relied upon hot stock tips from friends and the media when putting their money forward. Seeking quick wins, these newbie investors often bought at the top and suffered massive losses thereafter.
With a few more years under my belt now, I can tell you that quick wins are far and few between and that all things worth having take time. For instance, if it took you years to put on those extra pounds you now carry around, you can’t expect to lose the weight overnight. Alternatively, building a business that will carry you to financial freedom will take years if not decades to achieve but the end results will have been worth it. If you ask me, it’s this simple switch from a short-term to a long-term mindset that separates the winners from the losers so set your sights further down the road and when you do, you will significantly increase your chances of meeting all of your loftiest financial goals!
Mistake #5: Attaching Your Self-Worth To Your Finances
If you’ve been able to avoid all the crippling money mistakes I’ve shared so far then chances are you are enjoying more financial success than the average person. While this is great for many reasons, it still requires you to head caution because success can come with its own set of problems. If you ask me, one of the biggest problems one can face when realizing greater levels of financial success is tying your self-worth to the size of your bank account.
I think at some level, no matter what financial state you’re in, we all attach some level of our self-image to the money we make. For instance, those who make low incomes often see themselves as being less valuable to society because the world we live in today is so focused on money. Alternatively, those who do make a ton of money probably see themselves as being extremely valuable when that same metric is applied.
I know for myself personally, when I first cracked the six-figure income mark, I was extremely proud of myself. For many years, I struggled to level up my money game so hitting this milestone was huge for my financial confidence and admittedly for my financial progression as well. Then, as my income continued to rise, I started to notice that I attributed more and more of my self-worth to how much money I made and less to the inherent traits that I liked about myself before I started to earn more like my caring nature and my sense of humor.
However, here’s where things started to go off the rails for me. This past year, I started a few new projects that I knew wouldn’t yield any significant income for at least a couple years and as such have made less money in 2021 than in years prior. I won’t lie, my self-image took a hit but this also allowed me to realize how much I tied my own self-worth into my financials which if I’m being honest isn’t healthy.
You see, there will be times in life when you make more money and times when you make less. Some years, your investments will be at record highs and others they will be in the red. While it’s important to strive for greater financial progression, this should only make up one dimension of who you are as a person.
What’s worked for me is that when I go through down periods in my finances, I aim to level up other areas of my life so I still feel like I am making progress. For instance, I will spend more time with friends and family to cultivate better relationships or double down on reaching my fitness goals.
In short, no one’s path to success in life is linear and as such you will face setbacks at times. What’s important is that your self-image isn’t tied to any financial metric because many times in life, your financial success will be outside of your control but how you see yourself never should be!