If you’re a regular visitor to OutOfYourRut.com (welcome back!), then you know that the fundamental purpose of this website is to provide great people like you with advice, tips, tactics, strategies, techniques and insights on what you should do — not what you shouldn’t — to strengthen your financial health, and move forward on your journey toward financial freedom. And just as important, you want to avoid habits that will destroy your financial health.
However, sometimes in life it’s more memorable — and also frankly, more fun! — to highlight in a tongue-in-cheek matter that we shouldn’t do. And so, without further delay, please take your seats, fasten your seatbelts, return your tray to its upright position, and get ready for takeoff as we look at four glorious ways to utterly destroy your financial health:
Trying to Keep Up with the Joneses
Who, exactly, are the Joneses? They’re anyone and everyone who you compete with in order to feel as though you are financially successful. These people trigger your compulsion to buy things — everything from a new doormat to a new house — not because you actually want them, but because you want to keep up appearances.
The most tragic thing about this pursuit, is in the end there is no way to keep up with the Joneses. There is ALWAYS another Jones out there — and you don’t even have to live in the same neighborhood. Studies have shown that one of the adverse consequences of social media in our lives, is that it makes us spend more money as we strive to stay on par with members of our virtual community. After all, how can the guy who knows the guy who knows the guy who fixes your car go on vacation to South Beach, and you merely go to Myrtle Beach? The horror, the horror!
Thinking You’ll Invest Your Way Out of Financial Self-destruction
There are two fundamental ways to generate more wealth: spend less and make more. Smart people do both, but they start with the former — because it’s within their direct control. For example, they might get rid of cable TV, eat out a couple of times a month instead a couple of times a week, and so on. They could also take sensible measures to improve their income source, like investing in window lettering at their business to increase exposure, for instance.
However, folks who want to fall down the financial pit of despair and stay there don’t need to do this. Instead, they can convince (read: delude) themselves that they’re “just one big score” away from early retirement and a country-club membership. Yeah. We all know where this story is going…
Fall for a Loan Consolidation Scam
First of all: consolidating debt can be an intelligent thing to do; especially for people who are paying punitive interest, or simply have so many balances due each month that keeping track of it all is an uphill battle.
However, this article isn’t about intelligent things to do: it’s about destroying financial well-being — and to do that, all you need to do is fall for a loan-consolidation scam. This is when you superficially think that you are saving money by putting all of your debt into one big pile, but when you crunch the numbers (which of course, you don’t need to do) you aren’t saving anything much at all.
What’s more, because you have a (false) sense of financial security, you can go out and spend even more money on things you don’t want or need.
Don’t Bother Having a Budget
Budget? You don’t need no stinkin’ budget! Your brain is your budget, and you can intuitively sense where you are on the spending spectrum, just like animals can sense storms, and your great-great uncle Jerry had a premonition that that the Hindenburg was going to explode in 1937.
Let’s Get Serious…
OK, obviously you don’t want to do any of the above. But falling into these traps — especially the one about keeping up with the Joneses — can be deceptively easy. Your mission is to stay alert, be aware, and remember that you can always come back here to OutOfYourRut.com when you need practical advice and emotional support on your journey to financial freedom. Don’t worry. It may take a while to get there, but you’ll get there!