10 Signs You Need to Make Changes to Your Money Habits
How to Recognize Financial Areas That Need Improvement
It’s easy to say you want financial success. Actions, however, tell the true story. Are you on the road to financial success, or are you still hanging on to one or two of these tell-tale financial disaster behaviors?
1. You Pay Full Price for Everything.
After all, you’ve got plenty of extra money. It’s fun to see something you want and buy it right away. You have to be a little more strategic to save. Develop a habit of taking 24 hours to comparison shop before you buy. Consistent savings on both big items and things you buy regularly can add up to hundreds, even thousands over a year. Many of the world's wealthiest people still practice frugal spending habits because they understand the value of making every purchase under the best possible terms.
2. Retirement? Forget About It.
You’re living for the now, not for the later. When you put money away for retirement you are saving for a “future you”. That “you” is going to want to enjoy life as much as the current you. As you work toward finding a balance between now and later put as much as you reasonably can into your retirement accounts. I promise you no one gets to the future and thinks, “Oh my, we saved too much.”
Saving for retirement can be a series of smaller, responsible financial decisions. Do you really need a new phone this year or can that money be invested, for example?
3. You Keep Doing Business with the Same People.
No matter what, you have to separate business decisions from friendships. That means periodically revisiting your professional relationships--insurance agents, financial advisors, accountants, or attorneys. Did you hire the person thoughtfully and objectively, or simply because you knew them? Once in a while, you’ll want to take a step back and re-assess your business relationships.
4. Change Banks? Nope, Never.
You’re already earning a great rate on your accounts, aren’t you? If I offered you a couple hundred bucks to fill out a few forms, many of you would think that was a fair trade for an hour or two of your time. That’s the trade that may be available to you by changing banks. Yes, it takes time to move accounts — but it may mean more money in your pocket. It pays to look around at least once a decade. You may find something worth moving for.
5. You Always Finance It.
Why save ahead? If you need something, you can use credit. The problem is that credit is a gamble that the future you will be able to pay the debt. Additionally, the added interest makes the purchase much more expensive. There is something incredibly satisfying about saving up for things in advance. In our current world of easy credit, this isn’t a satisfaction people get to experience enough of. Go ahead and give it a try. I dare you. I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised at how it feels.
6. You Don’t Ever Say, “That’s Not in My Budget This Month.”
You’ve got an image to uphold. It is so refreshing to hear people reply to a social request with something genuine like, “I have other priorities for my money this month.” Choose how to spend your money based on your values. When a decision doesn’t fit, recognize that — and acknowledge it with a statement that reflects what is important to you.
7. Books? Why Read Books When There’s Reality TV to Watch?
It can be easy to pass off bad financial decisions by saying, “I’m just not good with money.” That’s a choice you make. You can make a different choice and gain knowledge about money matters by committing to give up one TV show a week; instead use that time to read a book about investing, a finance magazine, or an online retirement-focused website.
8. You Don’t Seek Professional Help.
You can handle it all yourself. Successful people outsource. They recognize they can’t be good at everything. Maybe you need someone to facilitate money conversations between you and your spouse, do your taxes, or provide an objective look at your investment decisions. Whatever it may be, seeking professional help (like a qualified financial advisor) is not a sign of weakness — it’s a sign of strength. There's a reason that the wealthy surround themselves with trusted advisers.
9. You Acquire No New Skills.
Your career will progress without any effort on your part, right? An investment in yourself may be the best investment you can make. Ongoing learning like an advanced degree, certification, leadership training, or communication skills courses will help take your career to the next level. Find out what you can do to maximize your earning potential — and go do it.
10. You Set No Goals.
You want to be in the exact same place next year as you are right now. Imagine yourself one year from now. What would you like to have accomplished? Do you want the same amount of money in the bank or more? Write down where you want to be. Then write down the action steps you’ll need to take to get there. Now, schedule dedicated time on your calendar to do these tasks. Do this consistently and financial success will be yours.