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11 Myths About Money That Make Succeeding Harder

11 Myths About Money That Make Succeeding Harder

Everyone says they want more money. But you’ll never get more money if you keep believing the lies you’ve been told about it. Let’s bash 11 common money myths that make succeeding harder.

1. “Wanting more money is evil.”

Let’s start with the premise that in all likelihood, you are an honest, ethical person who wants to do good in the world and have fun along the way. All of that requires money. But if you believe that only evil, bad or dishonest people get money, you sabotage your ability to make it. Why would you do something that is evil? If you don’t think this is true, remember that most of your thoughts are happening in your subconscious mind. You don’t even realize it’s happening.

2. “I have to be lucky.”

Luck is great in the short term, but long-term sustained wealth requires hard work, discipline and letting yourself make plenty of mistakes. Successful people say luck is only a small part of it. In order to actually experience luck, you have to do stuff all the time. The more you do, the more chance you’ll have of luck happening.

3. “Money will change me.”

Money doesn’t make you good, bad or anything in between. It just amplifies what you already are. If you are intent on doing bad things, it allows you to do more bad things. If you are intent on doing good things, money lets you do more of those good things. Since you’re probably a good person, make more money so you can do more good things.

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4. “Money is a thing.”

Money is not a real thing; it’s a concept. It’s something we humans have designated as a standard representation of value. When you get money, it’s because you provided some value. Maybe you helped someone with their taxes, worked for them for 8 hours or gave them a coffee cup that doesn’t tip over in their car. You did something that helped someone—something of value. Money is just a representation of that value you created. It’s not a thing.

5. “If I’m really cheap, I’ll get ahead.”

Pinching pennies does not make you rich. Pinching pennies makes you a gal with a bunch of pennies. Making money requires thinking with a big goal in mind. You’ll get whatever you think about. If you think about pennies, you’ll get pennies. If you think about millions, you’ll get millions.

“You have to think anyway, so why not think big?”

—Donald Trump

6. “Rich people aren’t like me.”

Rich people are not smarter than you. They’ve probably been knocked on their bottom a few times—probably a few hundred. They don’t have any mysterious quality that allows them to have more money than you. The difference is that they believe they can achieve success. When you think you are different, inferior or superior to rich people, you block yourself from success. It’s that subconscious thing from #1 again. You believe that only a certain type of person can be rich. If you are not that type of person, how can you have money?

7. “It won’t make me happy, so why bother?”

Beyond your basic needs of food, clothing, shelter, etc, money will not make you any happier. When you tie money to happiness, you create an expectation that it’s going to provide something it will never provide. You then believe that money (or lack of) is preventing you from being happy. Now you resent it. You’re pissed at money and you’re pissed at people who have it. Not a great mindset (that subconscious thing from #1 again) to be in when you’re trying to make money.

8. “There’s not enough of it.”

Money is a plentiful resource. Since it’s just a representation of value, there is as much of it as there is value. When more people spend money, it moves around more. More people are giving and receiving value and getting the things they need and want. There is always more value, so there’s always more money.

9. “I have to save money to get rich.”

When you believe that money is a scarce resource that you must hoard, you aren’t willing to take the risks required for success. You believe that sitting on money like an egg you’re trying to hatch will make you rich. That doesn’t work because it prevents you from thinking big and using the money you have to acquire the resources you need to make more.

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10. “Making money sucks and it’s hard.”

Making money doesn’t have to suck. The most successful people say that if you want to get rich you’d better be doing something you love. Doing something you enjoy sucks much less than doing something you don’t like. It also gives you the motivation to push through the boring and mundane tasks.

“Don’t do it if you don’t enjoy it.”

—Richard Branson

11. “If I make money somebody else can’t pay their rent.”

Monopoly is a fun game, but it taught you a terrible lesson: somebody wins and somebody loses. That’s true in Monopoly, but life wasn’t invented by Hasbro. This is the worst and most limiting money myth. It goes back to the premise that you are a good person who doesn’t want bad things for anyone except the guy who dinged your car door and didn’t leave his contact information—your subconscious (there’s #1 again) simply won’t let you do it.

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When you get money, it doesn’t mean someone else lost. Don’t believe that if you get money for a product or service you provided, someone else can’t pay their rent or buy food because you took that money from them. The opposite is true. Money moves from person to person when value moves from person to person. In other words, when people help each other, money flows. Everyone gets what they need and everyone gets money. Making money helps everyone.

Quit believing these 11 myths about money. Go make some.

Featured photo credit: Tax Credits via photopin via flickr.com

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Last Updated on September 2, 2020

How to Set Financial Goals and Actually Meet Them

How to Set Financial Goals and Actually Meet Them

Personal finances can push anyone to the point of extreme anxiety and worry. Easier said than done, planning finances is not an egg meant for everyone’s basket. That’s why most of us are often living pay check to pay check. But did anyone tell you that it is actually not a tough task to meet your financial goals?

In this article, we will explore ways to set financial goals and actually meet them with ease.

4 Steps to Setting Financial Goals

Though setting financial goals might seem to be a daunting task, if one has the will and clarity of thought, it is rather easy. Try using these steps to get you started.

1. Be Clear About the Objectives

Any goal without a clear objective is nothing more than a pipe dream, and this couldn’t be more true for financial matters.

It is often said that savings is nothing but deferred consumption. Therefore, if you are saving today, then you should be crystal clear about what it’s for. It could be anything, including your child’s education, retirement, marriage, that dream vacation, fancy car, etc.

Once the objective is clear, put a monetary value to that objective and the time frame. The important point at this step of goal setting is to list all the objectives that you foresee in the future and put a value to each.

2. Keep Goals Realistic

It’s good to be an optimistic person but being a Pollyanna is not desirable. Similarly, while it might be a good thing to keep your financial goals a bit aggressive, going beyond what you can realistically achieve will definitely hurt your chances of making meaningful progress.

It’s important that you keep your goals realistic, as it will help you stay the course and keep you motivated throughout the journey.

3. Account for Inflation

Ronald Reagan once said: “Inflation is as violent as a mugger, as frightening as an armed robber and as deadly as a hitman.” This quote sums up what inflation could do your financial goals.

Therefore, account for inflation[1] whenever you are putting a monetary value to a financial objective that is far into the future.

For example, if one of your financial goal is your son’s college education, which is 15 years from now, then inflation would increase the monetary burden by more than 50% if inflation is a mere 3%. Always account for this to avoid falling short of your goals.

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4. Short Term Vs Long Term

Just like every calorie is not the same, the approach to achieving every financial goal will not be the same. It’s important to bifurcate goals into short-term and long-term.

As a rule of thumb, any financial goal that is due in next 3 years should be termed as a short-term goal. Any longer duration goals are to be classified as long-term goals. This bifurcation of goals into short-term vs long-term will help in choosing the right investment instrument to achieve them.

By now, you should be ready with your list of financial goals. Now, it’s time to go all out and achieve them.

How to Achieve Your Financial Goals

Whenever we talk about chasing any financial goal, it is usually a two-step process:

  • Ensuring healthy savings
  • Making smart investments

You will need to save enough and invest those savings wisely so that they grow over a period of time to help you achieve goals.

Ensuring Healthy Savings

Self-realization is the best form of realization, and unless you decide what your current financial position is, you aren’t heading anywhere.

This is the focal point from where you start your journey of achieving financial goals.

1. Track Expenses

The first and the foremost thing to be done is to track your spending. Use any of the expense tracking mobile apps to record your expenses. Once you start doing it diligently, you will be surprised by how small expenses add up to a sizable amount.

Also categorize those expenses into different buckets so that you know which bucket is eating most of your pay check. This record keeping will pave the way for cutting down on un-wanted expenses and pumping up your savings rate.

If you’re not sure where to start when tracking expenses, this article may be able to help.

2. Pay Yourself First

Generally, savings come after all the expenses have been taken care of. This is a classic mistake when setting financial goals. We pay ourselves last!

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Ideally, this should be planned upside down. We should be paying ourselves first and then to the world, i.e. we should be taking out the planned saving amount first and manage all the expenses from the rest.

The best way to actually implement this is to put the savings on automatic mode, i.e. money flowing automatically into different financial instruments (mutual funds, retirement accounts, etc) every month.

Taking the automatic route will help release some control and compel us to manage what’s left, increasing the savings rate.

3. Make a Plan and Vow to Stick With It

Learning to create a budget is the best way to get around the uncertainty that financial plans always pose. Decide in advance how spending has to be organized

Nowadays, several money management apps can help you do this automatically.

At first, you may not be able to stick to your plans completely, but don’t let that become a reason why you stop budgeting entirely.

Make use of technology solutions you like. Explore options and alternatives that let you make use of the available wallet options, and choose the one that suits you the most. In time, you will get accustomed to making use of these solutions.

You will find that they make it simpler for you to follow your plan, which would have been difficult otherwise.

4. Make Savings a Habit and Not a Goal

In the book Nudge, authors Richard Thaler and Cass Sunstein advocate that, in order to achieve any goal, it should be broken down into habits since habits are more intuitive for people to adapt to.

Make savings a habit rather than a goal. While it might seem to be counterintuitive to many, there are some deft ways of doing it. For example:

  • Always eat out (if at all) during weekdays rather than weekends. Weekends are more expensive.
  • If you are a travel buff, try to travel during off-season. You’ll spend significantly less.
  • If you go shopping, always look out for coupons and see where can you get the best deal.

The key point is to imbibe the action that results in savings rather than on the savings itself, which is the outcome. Focusing on the outcome will bring out the feeling of sacrifice, which will be harder to sustain over a period of time.

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5. Talk About It

Sticking to the saving schedule (to achieve financial goals) is not an easy journey. There will be many distractions from those who are not aligned with your mission.

Therefore, in order to stay the course, surround yourself with people who are also on the same bandwagon. Daily discussions with them will keep you motivated to move forward.

6. Maintain a Journal

For some people, writing helps a great deal in making sure that they achieve what they plan.

If you are one of them, maintain a proper journal, where you write down your goals and also jot down the extent to which you managed to meet them. This will help you in reviewing how far you have come and which goals you have met.

When you have a written commitment on paper, you are going to feel more energized to follow the plan and stick to it. Moreover, it is going to be a lot easier for you to track your progress.

Making Smart Investments

Savings by themselves don’t take anyone too far. However, savings, when invested wisely, can do wonders.

1. Consult a Financial Advisor

Investment doesn’t come naturally to most of us, so it’s wise to consult a financial advisor.

Talk to him/her about your financial goals and savings, and then seek advice for the best investment instruments to achieve your goals.

2. Choose Your Investment Instrument Wisely

Though your financial advisor will suggest the best investment instruments, it doesn’t hurt to know a bit about the common ones, like a savings account, Roth IRA, and others.

Just like “no one is born a criminal,” no investment instrument is bad or good. It is the application of that instrument that makes all the difference[2].

As a general rule, for all your short-term financial goals, choose an investment instrument that has debt nature, for example fixed deposits, debt mutual funds, etc. The reason for going for debt instruments is that chances of capital loss is less compared to equity instruments.

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3. Compounding Is the Eighth Wonder

Einstein once remarked about compounding:

“Compound interest is the eighth wonder of the world. He who understands it, earns it… He who doesn’t… Pays it.”

Use compound interest when setting financial goals

    Make friends with this wonder kid. The sooner you become friends with it, the quicker you will reach closer to your financial goals.

    Start saving early so that time is on your side to help you bear the fruits of compounding.

    4. Measure, Measure, Measure

    All of us do good when it comes to earning more per month but fail miserably when it comes to measuring the investments and taking stock of how our investments are doing.

    If we don’t measure progress at the right times, we are shooting in the dark. We won’t know if our saving rate is appropriate or not, whether the financial advisor is doing a decent job, or whether we are moving closer to our target.

    Measure everything. If you can’t measure it all yourself, ask your financial advisor to do it for you. But do it!

    The Bottom Line

    Managing your extra money to achieve your short and long-term financial goals

    and live a debt-free life is doable for anyone who is willing to put in the time and effort. Use the tips above to get you started on your path to setting financial goals.

    More Tips on Financial Goals

    Featured photo credit: Micheile Henderson via unsplash.com

    Reference

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