You just can’t make it work. Every time you turn around, you seem to be scrounging for money. It goes as quickly (and mysteriously) as it comes, and no matter what you do, you’re just not making any forward progress. Okay. Breathe. The fact is, we’ve all been there.
There’s nothing wrong with being broke from time to time. Sometimes circumstances conspire to make getting by a difficult prospect. But there’s a difference between occasional difficulties and a chronic, long-term lack of funds.
If you find yourself stuck in an endless, impecunious loop, there’s a good chance that poor decision making and a lack of planning are to blame.
Here are 9 things you might be doing that could guarantee you’re broke for the rest of your life:
1. You’re living paycheque to paycheque
Yeah, this is a big one. If it happens now and again that you have to play catch-up, it’s no big deal. Most everyone has experienced that at one point or another throughout their lives.
But if it’s been years of praying that you have enough money to make rent each month, of scrimping at the grocery store and living (somehow) blissfully unaware of the existence of savings accounts, then maybe it’s time to make a change.
2. You’re living with chronic debt
At the end of 2013, the total household debt in Australia was calculated a $1.84 trillion dollars. That works out to about 79,000 dollars per person. It doesn’t take an economist to tell you that this just isn’t sustainable.
Obviously not everyone is saddled with nearly 100K in personal debt, and if you’re using credit cards, the real number is probably closer to 2,000-5,000 dollars. But there is no good debt. Let me say that again: ALL DEBT IS BAD.
If you’re tired of seeing past-due notices in the mail, and making those minimum payments on your accounts that don’t even touch the principal, then take steps to fix your situation!
3. You don’t take care of yourself
You might not think that your physical condition would affect your financial outlook, but recent studies have determined that your general health and well-being has more to do with the state of your bank account than you may realise.
Unhealthy people are, more often than not, depressed people. And depression does not engender good life choices or forward thinking.
When you feel depressed, you tend to give up. You don’t think about the future like you should, and you don’t see any need to plan for eventualities down the road. Financially, this translates to neglecting your bottom line and reckless spending.
Making wise financial decisions is just a small part of making wise life decisions. Do you want to see an increase in your quality of life across the board? Then turn off the TV, and get off the couch!
4. You’re experiencing trouble in relationships
It’s no secret that when your bank account suffers, so do your relationships (and often, vice versa). A recent study from Kansas State University showed that bickering about money early on is one of the top predictors of eventual divorce.
If you’re constantly arguing about money with your significant other(s), then maybe it’s time to reevaluate your financial priorities.
5. You’re living outside of your means.
Everyone likes to go out and blow off a little steam. It’s fun, it gives you a chance to socialise with friends, and from time to time it’s just plain necessary. But if you’re paid on Friday and broke by Monday, wondering where all that sweet payday cash disappeared to, then it might be a good idea to examine your lifestyle choices.
Your friends are off to the bar? Just say no.
There’s a concert on Saturday night? Just say no.
The latest iPhone was just released and you’re dying to explore all the new features? Just say NO.
Look, no one’s saying you should life like an ascetic, but there’s a middle ground between renouncing all worldly pleasures and blowing all of your money on the first thing that catches your eye each weekend. Find it!
6. You work a dead-end job
Maybe you’ve stayed because it’s comfortable.
Maybe you’ve stayed because it’s easy.
Maybe you’ve stayed because the thought of going out and finding something that might offer you some upward mobility is just too daunting.
Whatever your reasons, it’s time to find a career and not just a job. Don’t hide behind that burger grill or in that cubicle for the rest of your life. Put in the effort and go find your passion!
7. You don’t negotiate your salary
This is something often overlooked by most people. Failing to negotiate your salary is like paying the sticker price on a car. Of course they want to charge you 20,000 dollars for that used Honda, but let’s get real.
Determine your real worth before you ever walk in for an interview. Have a number in mind. Be prepared to make a counter-offer. Because even the best career can quickly turn into just another job if you feel undervalued.
8. You haven’t planned for retirement
Look, this is a no-brainer. If you haven’t gotten the memo yet: you’re going to get old. And if you’re waiting until the golden years to think about what your retirement will look like, you’re guaranteeing that your quality of life will be anything but golden. Set some money aside now.
Talk to financial consultants and investment analysts. Come up with an idea of how you’d like your life to look once the pressures of the 9-5 are over with, and then develop a plan to make that happen. It’s never too early to start thinking about it.
9. You have no 5-year-plan
Forget 40 years down the road, you can’t even see the next 5 years clearly! This is a pretty strong indicator that you’re not prioritising correctly. Come up with a roadmap for your life.
What are your passions? What gets you out of bed in the morning? No one’s going to make your dreams come true for you. You’ve got to take the initiative and make it happen for yourself!
Being broke sucks. It happens to all of us at one point or another but it doesn’t have to be that way. It’s possible to live a life of financial abundance – but you have to take control.
If you fit into any of the 9 signs above, do something about it. Take control of your life and break the debt cycle today.