As you sit in a lecture theatre, office, or in a dark room this Monday afternoon, clutching at your coffee like a life raft in one of the choppiest Monday blues storm that you’ve survived in a while, it’s no better time ever than to reflect on the trajectory of your financial future.
WARNING: These mistakes put you in the Most Probably Never Going To Get Ahead category. If you make more than 3 mistakes on this list, it’s time to wake up.
You buy high and sell low.
Not only applicable to shares, think about your car or your wardrobe. Does this sound like your investing strategy? You see something that you want, and you want to now, so you impulsively buy. But soon after, that item is loosing it’s shine. You can’t bear the pain of watching that item of clothing sitting unused in your cupboard, so you immediately sell at a loss.
The rule: Don’t buy things you cant afford or on a whim.
You spend or save whatever is left over.
What most people do when they earn a dollar is pay everyone else first, their landlord, their credit card, their telephone bill. Rather than spending and then saving whatever is leftover, invest in YOU first. Set aside at least 10% of your gross income and make the process automatic, that way, you’ll never even see the money and you’ll learn to live without it. That money needs to be set aside for an investment of some kind, a house, shares, or your super.
The rule: If you want to get rich, you have to pay yourself first.
You pay late fees.
It’s easy to focus on the present and the things you want to buy and assume you’ll have time in the future to worry about bills. Though this means that you are likely to accumulate late fees. You’d be angry if your phone company increased your bill by $10 a month and you certainly wouldn’t throw a twenty dollar note on the ground, so why allow yourself to pay an avoidable late fee.
The rule: Pay on time.
You say no to free money.
Using the same principle, would you ignore a hundred-dollar note on the sidewalk? Of course not. You’d bend over and pick it up. So why are you passing up other opportunities to get free money? If the government is happy to match employee contributions to your super but you’re not participating because you can’t ‘afford it’, then you’re passing up free money.
The rule: Leverage government or bank offers
You don’t step outside your comfort zone.
If you want to build wealth, be successful, or get ahead in life, you’re going to have to get used to uncertainty or discomfort. This can mean investing in a property, studying to further your education or taking a chance on a new role and quitting the steady pay check.
You don’t have a goal.
If you want to be successful, you have to love what you do and know where you want to be in 3, 5 and ten years.
Too many people make the mistake of chasing someone else’s dream, or staying in a role that the ‘believe’ will bring them success. It is only a matter of time before you will become dissatisfied, and your performance and compensation will reflect it. You simply won’t have the passion that is necessary for success to happen.
The rule: Have a plan, and this means researching your industry, your career and your education. Lucky, your already in the right place.