Money, a driving force that has shaped my journey for the better part of my life. Over the past 15 years, I've immersed myself in the world of economics, earning degrees and working within the financial services sector.
Today, I invite you to delve into a discussion about the seven habits that often lead to financial struggles. Let's explore these habits and discover ways to break free from their grip.
Neglecting Investment Opportunities
In the current economic landscape, inflation rates are soaring, with numbers exceeding 7% in the UK and paralleling this trend across the Western world.
Think about it, the same chocolate that used to cost you 50 P now costs probably two pounds. That is inflation in action. Even if you have found that the price of the chocolate hasn't gone up, the quantity has definitely reduced. So, if you think about it, the amount of chocolate you get per pound has decreased and that is inflation.
In fact, if you don't invest your money and just keep it safe in a savings account with any amount of inflation, you are basically losing money.
Surprisingly, research indicates that over 70% of individuals lack confidence when it comes to investing their money, leading them to avoid it altogether. Yet, failing to invest means your money is essentially losing value over time. The repercussions of not putting your money to work are far-reaching, leading to an insidious erosion of your wealth. This is the number one wealth killer that most people don't even realize is happening.
Ignoring Earnings Potential
As years pass, complacency can settle in at your job. Many individuals stop advocating for raises or pursuing promotions, trapping themselves in stagnant earning patterns. Along with that, you invariably end up incurring some lifestyle inflation, whether that be in terms of hiring help or getting a takeaway.
Let's be honest, when your salary is not keeping up with inflation, both in terms of commodity prices and lifestyle inflation, and you are not trying to get a higher paying job in proportion to your lifestyle inflation, then, you are doing yourself a disservice
With inflation and lifestyle expenses on the rise, it's essential to keep pace with your earning potential. Pursuing higher-paying opportunities, whether through new job roles, promotions, or side businesses, is pivotal for staying ahead of the financial curve.
Generally speaking, people think about how do I improve my monetary situation without asking the real big question about: what can I do to improve the lives of others around me?
And this is quite a key unlock. No money is ever made without exchanging value.
Unless you get obsessed about the question what am I best placed in society to do, and where can I add the most value? You very likely are going to get into that egotistical bubble of me, me, me, how do I make more money?
When seeking financial improvement, it's common to overlook the impact of adding value to the lives of others. Money is a byproduct of value exchange, and this reality is often neglected. Identifying where you can make a difference in society and adding substantial value can lead to more prosperous financial outcomes.
Negotiation is a powerful tool that many shy away from, despite its potential to secure better financial terms. All of us intuitively know that the first job offer that's generally given out to you is not the best offer.
In fact, 73% of the employers are actually ready to negotiate with you. However, survey shows that only about 45% of the candidates actually come and negotiate on the first offer.
And when you consider the gender differences, 61% of the men are willing to negotiate compared to 41% of the women.
Embracing negotiation not only helps counteract inflation and rising expenses but also demonstrates your self-worth and confidence.
Negotiation in my books is a habit. You don't just do it at your job search. You don't just do it when you have a new client. You practice that skill every single day. You need to approach this skill from a place of abundance, where you are not trying to exploitatively get more from the other person. You are trying to create this win-win situation. Where you have something that they want and they have something that you want, and if the two of you came together, both of you would be better off and therefore creating more value in the world, and therefore you have the right to ask for more money. Of course, a lot of this also boils down to communication
Fixating on Certifications
Certifications are great. You know, I'm all about educating yourself, but there's something to be said about educating yourself with the right things, which are in alignment with your goals. Although certifications hold value, indiscriminately accumulating them may not significantly impact your earning potential.
The blend of technical skills with strong business acumen is what truly differentiates professionals. Focusing solely on technical skills may hinder your capacity to unlock your full earning potential.
Staying Within the Comfort Zone
Stagnating within your comfort zone can hinder your progress. While this zone provides stability, it also limits growth.
Actually, bringing in skills together that typically have not been brought together before makes that skill so much more valuable to the market. But such interesting ideas are not generally found within your zone of comfort. These ideas are typically found outside your comfort zone because not many people have experimented with these areas. And when you go and focus your energies there, either you are going to learn a lesson that'll be worth the money or you will make tons of money.
Stepping out of your comfort zone, embracing challenges, and experimenting with new ideas can be the catalyst for substantial financial advancement.
If you are someone who feels like you are stuck in your comfort zone, I highly encourage you to step out and take that leap of faith and experiment with something new.
Unhealthy Mindset Towards Money
Our mindset around money shapes our financial journey.
In fact, many people I know have grown up being preconditioned to hate money. Money is the root of all evils. More money, more problems, right? And there are this other set of people who consider money to have power over everything else. Whether we demonize money or place too much power in its hands, our beliefs can sabotage our financial well-being.
For example, if you believe that rich people are bad, even if you finally get your hands on a lot of money, in moral and ethical ways, that belief in itself will make you get rid of that money. Think about it, you have this belief that rich people are bad and you have a lot of money, so you are rich. Your mind can't really make sense of the two. So, you have to live in this cognitive dissonance.
So, you either start thinking of yourself as a bad person or you actually start demonizing money and pushing it away. So, if you have to be at peace, one of the two have to go either the belief that rich people are bad or the money. Now obviously logically speaking, lose that belief.
However, actually when we dive deep into psychology, we find that people find ways of self-sabotaging themselves into actually pushing the money away rather than the belief away. Because pushing the money away that's external to them is much easier than actually changing a belief that is so deeply rooted into you through your childhood.
On the flip side, if you are giving away too much of your power to money, you are almost in this nonstop chase of, I need more money. You'll probably end up getting more money, but that's not really the point. More money does not equal more wealth.
In fact, I would say that there's a sufficient amount of money that you need. But after a point, wealth is no longer about the money. Wealth is really about the peace and the happiness. It's the internal state of having that money and what that money has made possible for you.
Of course, a certain amount of money is absolutely necessary to make you happy and at peace. I haven't seen many hungry and happy people. You first need to take care of your immediate needs, food, shelter, and then we can start talking about peace and happiness and building true wealth. Letting go of negative associations with money and finding a healthy balance between its importance and our pursuit of happiness is paramount.
Recognizing and addressing these seven habits can significantly alter your financial trajectory. Embracing investment opportunities, focusing on earnings, adding value to others, negotiating assertively, blending technical skills with business acumen, embracing challenges, and cultivating a healthy mindset towards money are essential steps to securing financial stability and prosperity. By breaking free from these habits, you pave the way for a more secure and fulfilling financial future.