I think most of us are familiar with the vicious cycle of debt. A cycle that can keep us spinning for years…even decades. If you follow these posts, and others out there like it, then perhaps you’ve made a commitment to yourself to get out of debt, save and invest in order to secure your future. The thing is, people often forget that it’s not just act of economizing that will alone get you out of debt, financial prosperity has to become a part of your being, it must become your secret mantra.
There are a lot of books out there devoted to changing financial attitudes — from one of an always-broke, compulsive spender, to that of a financially empowered woman (or man!). Have you heard how some people compulsively eat, using their extra pounds as a shield from the world? Well you can find the very same behaviours in people who consistently overspend, often on items they’ll never use. While getting fit or learning to budget and invest, one must remember to not neglect mental and emotional cues and triggers that could keep you in the red, despite all of your best efforts.
Here are some common reasons and thought patterns that could be preventing you from achieving your financial goals:
1. I deserve it.
Particularly in urban areas, the pressure to spend money on yourself in order to “keep up” or maintain appearances is high. Especially when you find yourself exhausted after a long day at your demanding job.
2. I’m so in debt, I’m beyond help.
It’s never too late! I know people who began their retirement saving and planning at the tender age of 50 years old! Yes, I’ve hailed the awesomeness that is getting the ball rolling young as possible. But even if you find yourself a bit older, or with a scary-huge debt load, there is always a solution.
3. I’m making good money.
Yes you’re making good money now, but who knows what could happen. The Great Recession was a great lesson for us all. If you are making good money, at the very least, try to save six months to a year’s worth of living expenses, just in case. You can even put the money into an investment vehicle that allows you to make withdrawals on relatively short notice. A GIC or money market account are both good options. That way, while you’re out living the good life, you have emergency cash somewhere that’s working for you.
4. I have plenty of time to catch up.
Twenty years from now, you will kick yourself for not having started earlier. Trust me.
5. I have unhealthy habits.
Drugs, excessive drinking and smoking cost a lot of money, and are so bad for your health! If you think you have a problem, there are many ways to find support, and your body and wallet will thank you.
6. I grew up poor.
There’s truth when they say that it’s difficult to break the cycle of poverty. It’s difficult, but not impossible. Constantly remind yourself that you deserve financial prosperity and understand that any of the above patterns I’ve mentioned could be your subconscious keeping you in the financial state you’re used to. Fight it.
While this list of negative thought patterns covers a lot, it’s definitely not final – there could be many more reasons why your thoughts are keeping you broke, but if you learn to recognize these patterns, then you’ve taken the first step towards breaking them. In my next article, I’ll present some tips and tricks to help you.
Written by M. Alice Allen