Financial freedom is incredibly important if you want to live a life of purpose and power.
Without enough money, helping others and helping yourself becomes an impossibility.
The bad news is that many of us have money habits that sabotage our financial future.
If you want financial freedom, cut every single one of these habits out of your life as much as possible.
1) Winging it
Financial goals are a must.
You may have a well-paying job and your expenses may be reasonable, but if you don’t have a plan you’re unlikely to get far towards real financial independence.
The best way to make a financial plan is to start with your end goal and work backwards.
Your end goal might center around purchasing a home, a vehicle or hitting a specific amount in savings. The goal should always include a certain amount of reserves or fallback cushion that you don’t count in your total progress towards the goal.
Don’t wing it, you’re far too likely to fall.
Far too many of us procrastinate when it comes to financial goals and monetary habits.
“I’ll spend less next month,” you think.
“I’ll finally start looking for a second job when things calm down at home with the stress that’s been going on with my family.”
Fair enough, but even when there are good reasons not to move on it ends up becoming a habit.
Procrastination killed many financial dreams before they could be born.
Overspending is something many of us do, often without realizing just how much we’re spending and how unnecessary some purchases are.
Overspending red flags to watch out for include:
- Buying clothes, jewelry, accessories, footwear and items that are purely for vanity rather than being needed.
- Purchasing items that you already have at home just because you see them and like them (for example a new table, a new carpet).
- Subscribing to too many things you don’t really need (I’ll touch more on this later).
- Paying out far too much on phone bills, cable TV, medications and other items that you could bundle or find better deals on.
4) Groundless optimism
There are folks who win the lottery and still end up in debt or squandering most of what they won.
That’s because too much optimism and idealistic ideas about money will end up sabotaging you.
There’s a need for some caution and moving a bit slowly when it comes to finances.
You need to avoid the habit of being too optimistic about money or believing it comes easy and fast.
5) Pursuing get-rich-quick schemes
If it was easy to get rich in a short period of time without that much effort, everyone would do it.
Those which are not a scam are immensely risky and can have you without a penny to your name or homeless in a matter of a few days.
It’s important to be very careful around get-rich-quick schemes and not be overly gullible.
If you’re the type who finds salesmen convincing and tends to be talked into spending money even when you weren’t planning to, be extra careful about get-rich-quick schemes.
6) Financial doomerism
At the same time as you don’t want to be overly optimistic about finances and financial opportunities, do not fall prey to doomerism.
This is especially probable if you were raised with a lot of negative views around money or financial success. If you’ve been taught that money is always a struggle, always painful and always full of suffering, that belief can run deep.
It can hold you back from pursuing business growth and financial opportunities that can bring you much closer to financial freedom.
Yes, you should avoid buying into sudden schemes to become fabulously wealthy.
But you should also maintain an open attitude and healthy respect for money: think of it as energy that you can use to benefit your life and the life of others.
7) Avoiding any risks
You shouldn’t be too optimistic, as I mentioned.
But some risk is necessary if you want to make enough money to stop being dependent on other people, other companies or secondary support.
There are times when an investment comes along that’s moderate risk and you decide to go for it.
Maybe you make the right decision, maybe not:
But you calculate how much of a risk you’re willing to take and then you don’t look back.
This is how you move forward boldly without being reckless or too safe. You find that sweet spot in the middle between optimism and caution.
Calculated risk is the name of the game here.
8) Putting money above expertise
Financial freedom comes when you double down on your area of expertise in a way that pays well.
This isn’t always easy and it can take years.
But I’d bet good money that you have a certain skill or certain skills which are above average and which you could get paid quite well for in the right context.
Determining those skills and then finding a person, organization or entrepreneurial context that will value them is the next step.
This ties into the next point…
9) Internalizing 9 to 5ism
Some of us have a 9 to 5 job out of preference or necessity.
Not everybody has the possibility of getting out of that rat race, and not everybody wants to.
But one of the worst things anyone can do is internalize the 9 to 5 mindset.
This is where work becomes synonymous to you with a set schedule and doing what somebody else says.
If you don’t live your own dreams, you’ll work for somebody else’s dreams.
And if you don’t seize the opportunity to make more money, you’ll be helping others profit off your back instead.
10) Paying too much on taxes
Taxes can be like the final angry boss in a video game:
Just when you’re finally making it they rear their ugly head, threatening to bite a big chunk off your earnings.
This is where a good accountant comes into play, or advice from somebody who knows how to save on taxes:
Practical advice about what you can write off, what exactly you need to declare and how to save money.
This is the time to be smart: you’re aiming for financial wellbeing, not trying to ask the government out on a date.
11) Subscribing to too many services
Earlier I mentioned this briefly, but it’s worth honing in on:
Subscriptions take a far bigger toll than many people realize on a monthly and annual basis.
When you add up all those apps, websites, extras and forgotten things you signed up for without even remembering, it adds up to quite a bit.
There are two quick hacks for saving here:
- One is to request new credit cards so that those you are using for the apps will all send you requests telling you your card info isn’t up to date and the subscription won’t renew. You can then decide individually whether or not to renew each service, app and function.
- The second is to take the time to go through the apps and services and decide individually which services you want and which you don’t.
12) Eating out too much
Eating out too often is a huge financial drain.
It can seem like not that big a deal, and to be fair it’s not. But it really adds up, and it becomes a very enticing habit.
Who doesn’t like trying out a place to eat where you don’t have to do any dishes or worry about cutting up all sorts of ingredients and cooking?
It’s relaxing and delicious.
But it’s also expensive. When you add in the tips and the drinks and the extra lunches or breakfasts you sneak in from time to time, those dollars really add up.
The key to financial freedom
The key to financial freedom is to grow more than you shrink:
In other words, to take in significantly more money than what you pay out.
With increasing costs and inflation, that’s not always easy to do. But if you cut out the bad habits above and begin focusing on it, your financial picture will continue to improve.
Stick to it and keep reducing costs while finding ways to think outside the box and take calculated risks.
Your financial future can be bright if you do your best and cut out the common habits above.