Anytime you want to improve your personal finances—whether it’s to save more money, better plan for retirement or even attain millionaire status—there are always roadblocks to reaching those goals. Many obstacles are within your power to avoid. However, some are external factors and you’ll have to watch out for those pitfalls too.
Here are five pitfalls that can block you from achieving financial security.
Unfortunately, some people simply aren’t willing to work hard at reaching various financial goals. That’s a shame, because for many of these individuals, all that stands between them and a lifetime of riches is a lack of drive—call it laziness, if you will.
Haven’t you ever known someone with so much promise and so much potential, yet that person never seems to get it together because they won’t work hard, or consistently, to achieve a goal?
Some people who suffer from laziness are individuals who expect others to do something for them; “others” might be their parents, siblings, friends or even the government.
Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that other people owe you something. Life isn’t like that—at least not for grown adults who want to be financially responsible and stand on their own two feet.
Promise yourself today that you’ll rise to the challenge and maintain the wherewithal required to push past those periods where you might feel lazy or lacking in motivation.
You can’t get rich if you put off doing the things necessary to build long-term wealth and maintain that economic security. It’s as simple as that.
To take your finances to a higher level, and especially to catapult yourself into the upper echelons of the financial world, you must heed a number of calls. Some of them will require you to start doing things—and start immediately. At other times, you’ll need to stop doing things.
But you certainly won’t join the ranks of America’s millionaires if “I’ll do it tomorrow” is your constant mantra. When you learn new information that pushes you to act, or discover that you need to stop doing something you’re currently doing which is taking you off the path to financial success, you have to act on that information without delay.
Procrastination only inhibits you from obtaining your financial goals.
And by the way, procrastinators come in all different forms: from the thirtysomething couple who (mistakenly) believes they can put off saving for retirement because it’s “so far away and we have to worry about current bills” to the well-intentioned (but ill-fated) parent who puts off saving for her Golden Years because she’s spending all her money and resources on her children.
3. Perpetual money-drainers
I hate to say it, but sometimes, the people in our lives are financial drains in ways that are very unhealthy—a factor that can be a hindrance to someone striving for long-term wealth.
To address this issue, take an honest look at how the ways in which the people you deal with, the places you go, and the products you spend money on are impacting your ability to get ahead financially.
By cutting out the people, places and products in your life that are money-drainers, you’ll start to see your bank account grow.
4. Lack of knowledge
Ignorance of how to get ahead financially can definitely limit a person’s fortunes. And Americans are in desperate need of practical financial advice about everything from how to manage their debt wisely and improve their credit standing to how much insurance they need.
The problem is part lack of information, as well as part misinformation.
In many instances, though, people are overwhelmed with too much information—the whats and the whys about their financial woes—but not enough usable advice or realistic recommendations about what to do to solve their problems.
One of my objectives as a Money Coach is to act as a bridge for those people who are willing to take action. When you get good financial advice—whether from a financial educator like myself or from other trusted professionals such as an financial planner or investment advisor—you obtain a concrete plan; a how-to model that you can follow to help alleviate financial difficulties and live a richer life.
But even if you’re more of a Do-It-Yourself type, it’s hard to create a blueprint for financial success on your own when you have a lack of knowledge, and no one has ever taught you the financial basics.
5. No discipline
The person who acquires money isn’t always the one who keeps that money, let alone retires wealthy.
Consider the high-profile celebrities, athletes and actors who’ve earned millions only to wind up in bankruptcy court. In many cases, a lack of discipline—in the form of outlandish spending and no fiscal restraint whatsoever—did them in.
Chances are you’re not a hip-hop star or an NBA player with some multimillionaire contract. Nevertheless, you still have to exercise discipline and follow-through in a number of areas in order to become—and remain—wealthy.
To summarize my main points: don’t allow laziness, money-drainers, procrastination, a lack of knowledge or a lack of discipline to pose barriers to you reaching your financial dreams. Make your commitment today to achieving economic security and decide that nothing, absolutely nothing, will stand in your way.