Getting rich isn’t everything. But it it’s your goal right now, there are rules to making it happen.
More importantly, there are silly mistakes that you need to avoid making.
Even then, it’s not going to happen overnight. Well, it might, if you have that winning lottery ticket. But if you are like the other 99.99999% of us, you have to work for every penny you deposit. And let’s face it, you want lots of pennies.
But getting rich isn’t as simple as “Click here now.” If it were, everyone would be rich. But these are obvious mistakes you can’t afford to make:
1. You’re Not Frugal Enough.
Overspending is no fun at the end of the month when you are looking over your budget, but never spending can lead to boredom. And just like dieting, when you deprive yourself of something you’ve always had, you end up caving and binging.
Sure, when you’re on a diet you end up with a stomach ache, chocolate lips, and a small case of self-loathing, but when it’s money and you’re binge shopping, that can lead to so many other problems.
Go back to the good ole slush fund days and give yourself a “fun” budget. That way you can still do the things you love–within reason.
2. You’re Trying to Keep Up with the Joneses.
We’ve all done it. We need the newest and finest toys and tools regardless of cost or interest rate. Why? Because we need what everyone else has. We need that status.
Thinking like that will lead you straight to the poor house. Sure it’s nice to have a phone that is up to date, but if it still works and performs all the necessary functions, there’s no need to upgrade every single time a new version comes out.
Be different than the Joneses. Keep your treasure to yourself and don’t flash it.
3. You’re Not Invested.
When it comes to investing, you should definitely not put off today what you think you can do tomorrow. Smart investing means investing now.
Starting at age 20, in an ideal world, you should be saving and investing $3,000 per year. But in the realistic world we live in, you’re probably already a year (or ten) behind. So if you haven’t started yet, now is the time.
For example, if you invest $300 per month starting at age 20 and don’t stop until you’re 60-years-old and managed an 8% overall return during that time, you would have more than $1 million dollars in that account alone.
If you had waited until you were 30 to get started, you would only have $440,445 in your account. Those first ten years you missed out on would cost you more than $550,000 in returns – even though you only skipped paying $36,000.
4. You’re Not Saving.
If you’re not saving, you are definitely not getting any closer to being rich. You are standing in the way of your own wealth.
“THE KEY TO BEING FINANCIALLY SECURE IS SPENDING LESS THAN YOU MAKE.”
Put the leftovers in an account. And repeat that month after month. Start small and increase over time. Save 5% of your income. Then 10% and so on until you start seeing the savings.
Save for the house, the car, the college expense, the rainy day. Just save.
5. You’re Not Budgeting.
Budgeting can be hard, especially when you are living paycheck to paycheck, but it’s a necessity. If you sit down and write out where every single penny is going (including the ones at the coffee shop), you will get a better grasp on what items are necessities and which items are luxuries.
If you know where the money should be going, you will be able to better get in in the right place at the right time with money leftover for points 3 & 4.
6. You’re Using Credit as a Crutch.
Having credit is like living a dream. Find it. Love it. Swipe it. Pay later. But paying the interest later is a nightmare. Add up all that interest and see how much you could have in your savings instead of giving it to the credit card company.
If you can’t buy it outright, you probably don’t need it. Points are great, so are frequent flyer miles, and actually, they are a really good idea if you can pay off your balance monthly with no interest, but if you can’t, you should really start trying to stand on your own (credit card free) two feet.
7. You’re Spoiling Your Kids.
Even if you have a million dollars in the bank, there is no need to hand your children everything they ask for every time they ask. That will turn you into their credit crutch.
Teach them to work for what they want and teach them to save what they have. This is especially important if you are reading this well into your twenties. Remember, the more they save, and the earlier they do that, the more money they will have later in life.
Teach your kids the importance of doing what you started later in life. Save. Invest. Plan. And keep your money in your own pockets. They will thank you later.
8. You’re Letting Fees Get the Best of You.
Whether you have the money or you don’t, paying fees of convenience (or late fees) will eventually catch up to you and that little ding in the windshield will crack and come crashing in on you. Eight percent here. Four dollars there. Those numbers add up over the year.
So stop paying them. Plan your spending so you aren’t caught in the middle of a trip to Vegas spending $10 on ATM fees to get the money you budgeted into your vacation out of the bank.
Make sure your bills are paid on time. Set reminders so you can avoid penalties and fees.
9. You’re Saving, but Not Earning.
It’s not enough to get to the point of saving and investing that magic number for success. You have to always be pushing towards more success. Make a pact with yourself to increase your income each year by 2%, 5%, 10%, you pick.
Just make sure you are going into every day with the mindset that you will make more money today than you did yesterday, more money this year than you did last. And then find a way to make it happen.
If that means taking a second job, like making art and selling it or turning that hobby into a side-hustle, find a way to make this year more prosperous than last.
10. You Marry Without Talking About “It”.
Love is great. So are weddings. But if you are in the mindset to save and your future partner is a “spendster”, you will always be making more money and your partner will always be spending more money.
When it comes to long-term relationships and happy marriages, you have to have a talk about finances. You have to make sure the person you love and plan on spending the rest of your life with is on the same page as you.
If they aren’t, you either have some tough decisions and conversations ahead of you or maybe you should keep wading in that dating pool a little while longer.
11. You Sacrifice Value for Saving.
Yes, you should save. Yes, you shouldn’t splurge on meaningless “things.” But if you’ve worked hard, and you are ready to play hard, you needn’t go cheap just for the sake of saving a few dollars.
The most important thing you should consider when you are going to spend money (and you are) is the quality of your purchase. Spending money to better yourself is not a waste. Spending money on a workshop that gets you out of a financial rut is not a waste.
Spending an extra $100 on a pair of running shoes that will last you ten times longer than the cheaper pair is not a waste. So spend on value, because you really do get what you pay for.
Getting rich isn’t automatic.
And it’s not even all that important. Unless it’s your goal.
And if it is, you should make sure you aren’t making these mistakes.
Take an honest look through your last few months of behavior.
What are the patterns you go through with money?
Are you willing to change if it means the possibility of turning things around?
Because you might need to do just that.