There’s no doubt that on your journey to financial independence, you are going to run into some obstacles, and the way you handle them will determine whether or not you reach your final destination. Of the obstacles you will face along the way, none will be greater than the ones you throw at yourself in the form of self-defeating behaviors.
Self-defeating behaviors are easy to fall into because they often seem very logical; however following them can make it difficult, if not impossible, for you to ever reach your goals. So be aware; self-defeating behaviors can be very dangerous to your wealth. The good news is, you can avoid many of them by just being aware that they exist.
To help you learn to spot them, here are three common self-defeating behaviors to be on the lookout for:
1. Counting on future earnings to pay present debt. We all expect to make more money in the future so we trick ourselves into believing that the debt we rack up today doesn’t matter that much because we can take care of it in the future when we are earning more money. The problem is, if you don’t change your spending habits now, a bigger paycheck will only lead to bigger wants and needs, and you will end up with even more debt in the future and it starts a vicious cycle.
2. Using feelings versus facts to make spending decisions. Emotional spending can get you into a whole lot trouble. Just because something feels right (like that outfit you just found on sale) doesn’t make it right if it comes at the cost of sacrificing one of your future goals. Instead become an informed spender. Create a budget that includes money for your goals, money for household expenses, and ‘mad money’ that you can spend anyway you like.
3. Trying to keep up with the Joneses. Sometimes having more stuff than someone else is about winning or being better, and sometimes it’s about feeling that you deserve to have whatever you want because you work so hard. Whatever the case, if you can’t afford it or if it comes at the expense of other goals you really want, learn to let it go. Truth be told, the Joneses don’t really care so don’t take you eye off of the prize.
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Patricia Stallworth, CFP® and CDFA, is the president of PS Worth, a financial education company, the author of Minding Your Money, and the host of the Minding Your Money Minute™. Learn more by visiting MindingYourMoney.net.