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Why Chasing Money Is Worse Than Dogs Chasing Cars

Why Chasing Money Is Worse Than Dogs Chasing Cars


    We’ve all been there before and many of us are there right now.

    And where would that be? Probably not on vacation, enjoying an experience to remember or working to improve our health.

    We’re chasing money.

    Many cultures preach that once you have a good income stream or a certain amount of money built up then good things will follow. Things like going to great restaurants, taking exotic trips, creating a home immersed in entertainment options, and freedom from the fear you’ll have to take a hand out.

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    Fact: Money is the primary pursuit for most of us from the time we finish high school to the time we retire.

    Is this relentless chase the only way it can be or should be? You might not like my answer but you will get some actionable steps to improve your relationship with money.

    The Ugly Parallel

    Ever watched a cartoon or YouTube clip of a dog chasing a car? Even if they catch it they don’t exactly win a medal. Even worse, sometimes the dog gets permanently harmed in the process.

    A human parallel comes from reflecting on this quote by the Joker in the movie The Dark Knight.

    “Do I really look like a guy with a plan? You know what I am? I’m a dog chasing cars. I wouldn’t know what to do with one if I caught it!”

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    Do you see your relationship with money in this quote? Don’t feel bad if you do. I certainly used to but I’ve learned a mindset that helps combat the desire for the constant pursuit of money. Try some of these steps to alter your beliefs about it and help yourself grow into positive behavior and habit change.

    1. Say This Phrase Out Loud: “More money will make things better”. According to research, this is one of the most common beliefs among Americans (and I imagine people in other countries). Now say it a second time. Is it any more convincing? If you have a negative reaction to this experience the feelings when you say “happiness can be achieved with less or no money”. Which one of these statements resonates more?

    2. Realize Why You’re Often Stressed: Did you run out of time to exercise this week because of your work hours? Were you racing around so fast that you didn’t have time to eat well? And did you prioritize your commitment to making money higher than your family and friends? Saying yes to any of these questions generates stress in all of us. Not surprisingly, the American Psychological Association found that money is the biggest cause of stress by far. To prove this isn’t just an American problem an international Reader’s Digest poll asked people in 16 countries what their biggest cause of stress was. The runaway answer? Money.

    3. Ask Yourself What Role Money Plays in Life: So many people are too busy to assess the role of money in their life. I view money as the future ability to buy products and services that fulfill the needs of my family, friends, community, and charities I support. Just to give a couple of examples, two unfortunate paths in life I see people leading look like:

    Money –> vacation –> relaxation/adventure –> happiness

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    Money –> buying future free time –> satisfaction with life

    An alternate mindset is where money is at the end of the path instead of the start. After all, money is a by-product at the end of the path for people living out their core values (a.k.a. the happiest and healthiest).

    4. Define Why You Chase Money: Getting and having money is not a bad thing. It’s not inherently evil and the reality is we all need it. But try brief exercise though. Write down five good reasons why you pursue money. Pause for a few minutes and actually write them down. Do you like what you see? It the time spent and priority assigned to getting money more important than other things you value in life?

    My challenging you to find the “why” behind your relationship with money is for a sincere reason. This quote from the Goldberg and Lewis research team sums it up well.

    “[People] have become so indoctrinated with the idea that having money is important, that they no longer question why. They are unaware that perhaps what they are truly seeking is an increase in self-respect, or security, or freedom, or love, or power.”

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    Treat Yourself with Respect

    Your relationship with money could be an issue of balance but most likely it’s an issue of priorities or not knowing why you want it. Give yourself the respect you deserve by being more mindful about money than a dog is about chasing a car. I don’t want anyone getting hurt by a reckless pursuit and I hope you don’t either.

    Which of these steps works best for you? Are there other steps you’ve successfully used to stop chasing money and improve your relationship with it? Please share a comment below.

    (Photo credit: Man Chasing Falling Money via Shutterstock)

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    Published on November 20, 2018

    The Best Ways to Save Money Even Impulsive Spenders Can Get Behind

    The Best Ways to Save Money Even Impulsive Spenders Can Get Behind

    The truth is, there are many “money saving guides” online, but most don’t cover the root issue for not saving.

    Once I’d discovered a few key factors that allowed me to save 10k in one year, I realized why most articles couldn’t help me. The problem is that even with the right strategies you can still fail to save money. You need to have the right systems in place and the right mindset.

    In this guide, I’ll cover the best ways to save money — practical yet powerful steps you can take to start saving more. It won’t be easy but with hard work, I’m confident you’ll be able to save more money–even if you’re an impulsive spender.

    Why Your Past Prevents You from Saving Money

    Are you constantly thinking about your financial mistakes?

    If so, these thoughts are holding you back from saving.

    I get it, you wish you could go back in time to avoid your financial downfalls. But dwelling over your past will only rob you from your future. Instead, reflect on your mistakes and ask yourself what lessons you can learn from them.

    It wasn’t easy for me to accept that I had accumulated thousands of dollars in credit card debt. Once I did, I started heading in the right direction. Embrace your past failures and use them as an opportunity to set new financial goals.

    For example, after accepting that you’re thousands of dollars in debt create a plan to be debt free in a year or two. This way when you’ll be at peace even when you get negative thoughts about your finances. Now you can focus more time on saving and less on your past financial mistakes.

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    How to Effortlessly Track Your Spending

    Stop manually tracking your spending.

    Leverage powerful analytic tools such as Personal Capital and these money management apps to do the work for you. This tool has worked for me and has kept me motivated to why I’m saving in the first place. Once you login to your Personal Capital dashboard, you’re able to view your net worth.

    When I’d first signed up with Personal Capital, I had a negative net worth, but this motivated me to save more. With this tool, you can also view your spending patterns, expenses, and how much money you’re saving.

    Use your net worth as your north star to saving more. Whenever you experience financial setbacks, view how far you’ve come along. Saving money is only half the battle, being consistent is the other half.

    The Truth on Why You Keep Failing

    Saving money isn’t sexy. If it was, wouldn’t everyone be doing it?

    Some people are natural savers, but most are impulsive spenders. Instead of denying that you’re an impulsive spender, embrace it.

    Don’t try to save 60 to 70% of your income if this means you’ll live a miserable life. Saving money isn’t a race but a marathon. You’re saving for retirement and for large purchases.

    If you’re currently having a hard time saving, start spending more money on nice things. This may sound counterintuitive but hear me out. Wouldn’t it be better to save $200 each month for 12 months instead of $500 for 3 months?

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    Most people run into trouble because they create budgets that set them up for failure. This system won’t work for those who are frugal, but chances are they don’t need help saving. This system is for those who can’t save money and need to be rewarded for their hard work.

    Only because you’re buying nice things doesn’t mean that you’ll save less. Here are some rules you should have in place:

    1. Save more than 50% of your available money (after expenses)
    2. Only buy nice things after saving
    3. Automate your savings with automatic bank transfers

    These are the same rules that helped me save thousands each year while buying the latest iPhone. Focus only on items that are important to you. Remember, you can afford anything but not everything.

    How to Foolproof Yourself out of Debt

    Personal finance is a game. On one end, you’re earning money; and on the to other, you’re saving. But what ends up counting in the end isn’t how much you earn but how much you save. Research shows that about 60% of Americans spend more than they save.[1]

    So how can you separate yourself from the 60%?

    By not accumulating more debt. This way you’ll have more money to save and avoid having more financial obligations. A great way to stop accumulating debt is using cash to pay for all your transactions.

    This will be challenging, depending on how reliant you are with your credit card, but it’s worth the effort. Not only will you stop accruing debt, but you’ll also be more conscious with what you buy.

    For example, you’ll think twice about purchasing a new $200 headphone despite having the cash to buy them. According to a poll conducted by The CreditCards.com, 5 out of 6 Americans are impulsive spenders.[2]

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    Telling yourself that you’ll have the discipline to not buy things won’t cut it. This is equal to having junk food in your fridge while trying to eat healthy–it’s only a matter of time before you slip. By using cash to make your purchases, you’ll spend less and save more.

    A Proven Formula to Skyrocket Your Savings

    Having proven systems in place to help you save more is important, but they’re not the best way to save money.

    You can search for dozens of ways to save money, but there’ll always be a limit. Instead of spending the majority of your effort saving, look for ways to increase your income. The truth is that once you have the right systems in place, saving is easy.

    What’s challenging is earning more money. There are many routes you can take to achieve this. For example, you can work long and hard at your current job to earn a raise. But there’s one problem–you’re depending on someone else to give you a raise.

    Your company will have to have the budget, and you’ll have to know how to toot your own horn to get this raise. This isn’t to say that earning a raise is impossible, but things are better when you’re in control right? That’s why building a side-hustle is the best way to increase your income.

    Think of your side-hustle as a part-time job doing something you enjoy. You can sell items on eBay for a profit, or design websites for small businesses. Building a side-hustle will be on the hardest things you’ll do, be too stubborn to quit.

    During the early stages, you won’t be making money and that’s okay. Since you already have a source of income, you won’t be dependent on your side-hustle to pay for your expenses. Depending on how much time you invest in your side-hustle, it can one day replace your current income.

    Whatever route you take, focus more on earning and save as much as possible. You have more control than you give yourself credit for.

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    Transform Yourself into a Saving Money Machine

    Saving money isn’t complicated but it’s one of the hardest things you’ll do.

    By learning from your mistakes and rewarding yourself after saving you’ll save more. What would you do with an extra $200 or $500 each month? To some, this is life-changing money that can improve the quality of their lives.

    The truth is saving money is an art. Save too much and you’ll quit, but save too little and you’ll pay for the consequences in the future. Saving money takes effort and having the right systems in place.

    Imagine if you’d started saving an extra $100 this next month? Or, saved $20K in one year? Although it’s hard to imagine, this can be your reality if you follow the principles covered in this guide.

    Take a moment to brainstorm which goals you’d be able to reach if you had extra money each month. Use these goals as motivation to help you stay on track on your journey to saving more. If I was able to save thousands of dollars with little guidance, imagine what you’ll be able to do.

    What are you waiting for? Go and start saving money, the sky is your limit.

    Featured photo credit: rawpixel via unsplash.com

    Reference

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