Success is very subjective. But if you aren’t as successful as you’d like to be, you already know it. But do you know why? Below are the top 10 reasons why success evades us. But I’m not going to stop there. I’m also going to explain how you can change that terrible cycle immediately if you are willing to change your way of thinking and behavior.
In an effort to help you make that change, I’ve assembled the top ten reasons why people tend to be less successful as they’d like and what you can do to start creating wealth instead of creating problems.
10. Treat Others Poorly
You may think that you have to be a shark do well but it’s not true. The easiest way to get people on your side is to help them get what they want rather than worry about yourself first. That’s why nice people have more money. Dale Carnegie proved that with his book,”How to Win Friends and Influence People.” Conversely, the best way to get people lined up to take you down is to treat them like poorly. Treat everyone around you as you would like be treated. They don’t call it the “Golden Rule” for nothing.
9. Don’t Keep Your Word
The most valuable asset you have is your reputation – and you can only lose it once. Once you say you’re going to do something – do it. Even if conditions change and the results are less desirable than you first thought.
If you go back on your word two things will happen. First, fewer and fewer people will be willing to work with you. That’s going to limit good opportunities in the future. Second, you’ll continue to overpromise and underperform – always thinking about sneaking out of your obligations. As a result, you won’t be committed to anything and you’ll fail time and time again.
8. Don’t Waste Time Thinking About Your Future
Actions you take today will reverberate in your financial life for years to come. Think things through and project 5,10, 20 years out. Of course you can’t predict the future. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t use your head to make the best decision possible using all the available informati0n. Hang out with successful people. Run your ideas by them and listen. Maybe you’ll learn something.
7. Take the Wrong Job
Do not take a job if it has no future and no possibility of providing the life you want to live. It might be easy to land jobs like that and it might feel nice for a short time. But in a few short years, you’ll regret your decision and it will be more difficult and expensive to change course. Think about what you are doing now. Think about what your life is going to look like in 10 or 20 years if you continue in that job. If it’s a picture you don’t want to be in, it’s time to change your career.
6. Marry the Wrong Person
If you marry someone with completely different financial values than you, there is almost no chance of being financially successful. You’ll waste time and energy trying to convince each other about spending and investing priorities. Plus you’ll probably spend a good chunk of change in marriage counseling or divorce court as well.
Being successful requires dedication and team work. If you are at odds with your spouse the spending is going to be out of control and the savings plan is going to be overlooked. You will also find it near impossible to agree on a financial plan for your future. Avoid this by having the money talk before you get married. And if you are already married and at odds with your partner, focus all your efforts on getting on the same page before doing anything else.
5. Get Divorced
If you are married to the wrong person, divorce may be the better of two very bad alternatives. But the cost of divorce is super expensive. You lose half of what you’ve got and you’ll incur huge legal fees. I’ve seen more people financially devastated by divorce than by any other single event. It’s something that is very hard to recover from and usually very avoidable. (See the point above to see how.)
4. Send Your Kids to Schools You Can’t Afford
There is no reason to send your kid to an expensive school just because she gets accepted. You didn’t sign up for that so don’t let peer pressure or your child railroad you. Except in rare instances there are very little qualitative advantages to going to pricey colleges. Don’t mortgage your entire future just because you want bragging rights.
3. Have No Plan
There is an old saying. “She who fails to plan, plans to fail.” My experience tells me this is true. You need a spending plan. You need a savings plan. And you need a financial plan. You can do all these yourself. You don’t need a financial planner to do this for you necessarily. It doesn’t have to be perfect and you can run it by a professional just to be sure. But having a plan is far better than trying to wing it Pilgrim.
2. No Tracking
Track your spending if you don’t want to be broke. Once you do, a couple things will happen. First, your spending will automatically and magically decrease. That’s what happens when you start watching it and paying attention. I can’t explain why but I can absolutely guarantee that it will happen. The next thing that will happen is that you’ll learn what it really costs you to live – something you can’t possibly know if you don’t track your spending.
1. No Balance
The number 1 reason why people aren’t as successful as they would to be is because they don’t understand the interconnection between income, assets and spending. If your expenses are too high, you will go broke no matter how much your income is.
Ever heard of celebrities that end up bankrupt? There are tons of them. They end up this way because they don’t have financial balance. You have to track your expenses and buy assets that create income. Then, you have to have to have a realistic expectation of what your income is going to be and project out the future. If you keep going the way you are going, are you going to spend down your assets? If you do that, how are you going to live?
Very few people ever take the time to understand this delicate balance and that is the reason why so many people live under financial pressure and end up broke. As you can see this is completely avoidable if you are willing to take contrary action.
If you are broke, what do you think the main reason is? If you used to be broke all the time, what did you do to change your life?
Chris @StumbleForward says
Hey Neal what an excellent article. I know a lot of people who have made these same mistakes again and again. Especially when it comes to treating people poorly. I’ve always believed in what comes around goes around.
I also know quite a few people who have been bit by the divorce bug and have seen first hand how much it has cost them whether it be child support or their physical assets.
Finally, as far a balance goes I feel it is one of the key components to staying out of debt. I learned this the hard way for several years until one day I decided enough was enough and started taking my money issues seriously.
As a result I have only one debt, my mortgage, and a prosperous savings account as a result.
Neal Frankle says
Thanks for the kind words Chris. Sounds like you’ve really done a great job of learning from your life experiences. Nice job sir!