If you’re not getting ahead financially, it may not be due to the economy, your boss or any other external factor. It could be that you’re the one hindering your progress—simply because you believe a host of money myths and economic lies.
Money beliefs are extremely powerful, because they guide your thoughts and actions, including those actions that you need to take but fail to initiate because of various misconceptions. To take your finances to the next level, here are six money myths you need to banish immediately.
Money Myth #1: It’s Someone Else's Fault
Be honest. Have you ever blamed someone else for one of your financial predicaments?
Perhaps you regret the day you met your ex-spouse, because he or she ruined your credit. Or maybe you’re convinced that vengeful co-workers or a tightwad boss are holding you back in the workplace. Alternatively, your entire financial life may be a mess and you’ve been subconsciously pointing the finger at your parents. After all, you figure, they never taught you how to manage finances properly.
Financial Truth #1: Your Finances Are a Direct Result of Your Own Actions
I hate to break it to you, but the truth of the matter is that your finances (both the good and bad facets of them) are a direct result of your own action. It’s a tough pill for most people to accept, but your own personal state of affairs actually is directly linked to what you’ve done—or what you’ve failed to do.
If you can accept responsibility for your own condition, it’s not self-defeating. Nor is it failing to account for the things that have taken place in your life, whether that’s a setback like job loss, divorce, or something else. Despite these and other issues, it’s empowering to look at your own role in any situation.
It gives you license to begin taking control of your circumstances and to correct flaws or rebound from adversity. If you believe the lie—that it’s someone else’s fault—then you cast yourself as a financial victim, and you rob yourself of having the power to make positive changes.
Money Myth #2: If I Just Earned More Money…
This is an enormously popular misconception—and one that many of us buy into when we’re struggling financially or haven’t made the progress we’d like to see.
The myth essentially boils down to this line of thinking: “If I just had a little more cash, then most of my problems (or all of them) would go away.” Unfortunately, nothing could be further from the truth.
Financial Truth #2: It’s About Your Spending, Not About What You Earn
No matter how much money you make, if you don’t control your spending, you’ll never achieve financial security. Numerous instances of extremely well paid celebrities going broke prove that how much money you make is far less important than what you do with that money.
Money Myth #3: I’ll Get to That Later
Procrastination is an enemy of good financial planning. Yet many of us put off so many financial tasks that we know we could, and should, do today. The little lie we tell ourselves is: “I’m too busy, so I’ll get to that later.” Needless to say, tomorrow is not promised to anyone.
Financial Truth #3: You’ll Regret Inaction Later
Sometimes, our biggest regrets in life aren’t over the things that we’ve done, but over the things that we neglected to do. Nowhere does this truism manifest itself more than the area of personal finances.
If you fail to do basic financial housekeeping or to address various money-management issues as they arise, you put yourself and your family members unnecessarily at risk.
Money Myth #4: Financial Help Is Too Expensive
Have you ever wanted to hire a financial advisor, or maybe pay someone to create a plan for you or do your taxes, but then squashed that idea based on the grounds that financial help is “too expensive?” If so, you bought into an unsubstantiated financial myth—and one that could be costing you dearly.
Unfortunately, too many people believe this myth, and it’s one of the reasons that only one out of three women in the U.S. has a financial advisor, according to a 2014-2015 study from Prudential.
Financial Truth #4: The Cost of Failing to Plan Far Exceeds the Price of Getting Help
In reality, not getting help costs you far more in the long run than making a short-term sacrifice to get any professional guidance you may need. Think of hiring quality financial help as an investment in your future. The advice and services of a good financial planner, accountant, stockbroker, or other financial specialist can pay huge dividends.
Besides, sometimes the very same people decrying the cost of financial help are simultaneously spending sizable chunks of money on luxuries like eating out, clothing or extra household appliances and electronics.
Money Myth #5: Just This One Time Won’t Hurt Me…
To be an ace at managing your finances doesn’t mean you have to achieve perfection in all money matters. But it does mean you should have a track record of regularly practicing prudent financial habits—as opposed to sporadically giving yourself license to commit financial transgressions that can throw your finances out of whack.
It can be a slippery slope when you tell yourself that you’ll make a questionable money move because “just this one time won’t hurt me.” The problem is two-fold: First, where do you draw the line—with splurging on a shopping spree “just once” or with fudging your income taxes “just this one time?” The second issue is that all too often, negative behavior that you might start out thinking will occur only once actually winds up becoming the norm.
Financial Truth#5: Financial Lapses and Shortcuts Aren’t Worth It
Allowing yourself to make financial goofs, or to do unwise things with your money, simply isn’t worth it. Ever. For example, say you decide “just this one time” to let your auto insurance lapse. As (bad) luck would have it, that’s the one time you may wind up getting into a car accident.
Money Myth #6: People Like Me Never Get Ahead…
When you’re stuck in a financial rut, and everyone who looks likes you also seems to be experiencing economic challenges, it’s easy to accept the misguided notion that “people like me never get ahead.” The “people like me” part of the myth may be tied to anything: your gender, race, age, professional title, religion, educational background, or some other factor.
No matter what the category, though, it’s flat out wrong to lump all such people—yourself included—into one financial pot. Despite certain odds, economic success knows no racial, gender or religious boundaries.
Financial Truth #6: People of All Backgrounds Can Get Ahead Financially
The problem with this myth is that it makes the assumption that certain groups of individuals are always held back by outside forces, individuals or institutions. In truth, however, no matter what your background, you can get ahead economically and many others in your same situation have likely already done the same thing—even if you don’t know about such successes.
So don’t buy into the wrongheaded notion that people like you can’t get ahead. Know that your financial destiny lies in your own hands, and that your economic fate isn’t dictated or determined by others.
As you can see, believing in a host of money myths and little lies can prevent us from achieving real financial success. But by recognizing these financial misconceptions and banishing them forever, we begin to empower and enlighten ourselves, laying the groundwork for economic progress and long-lasting achievement.