Have you ever put a label on yourself and then had a hard time removing it?
A lot of people do this, especially when it comes to money.
This is because: a) money is a taboo topic, and b) it’s the easy way out. It’s so much easier to say “I’m bad with money” than it is to actually do something about it.
If you’re constantly thinking you have bad luck with finances or are generally bad with money, it’s probably because of one of these reasons.
Let’s take a look.
No, You’re Not “Bad with Money”
1. You’re comparing your beginning to someone else’s middle
This is sage advice from bestselling author Jon Acuff, and it definitely applies to personal finance, too. When you’re trying to straighten your own financial mess out, it can be really hard not to compare yourself to someone else.
The problem, though, is that this is the absolute worst thing you can do; it’s a total motivation killer.
Let’s say you’re saddled down with student loan and credit card debt. You want to start saving and investing, but you know you should eliminate all of your high-interest loans first. You devise a plan and get to work.
Then you hear a coworker talking about how much money he has in his 401k, how fast he was able to pay back his student loans, and how he took his family on an exotic vacation.
You may be jealous and feel like a failure — but you’re comparing apples to oranges.
You can’t compare your beginning to someone else’s middle or end. What matters is that you’re getting started now and doing the best you possibly can. The only comparison you need to make is your past self to your current self.
2. You don’t want to put in the work
How many people do you know that could do something amazing with their life if only they’d try? Probably way too many. And if you’re constantly saying you’re bad with money, you might be in the same boat.
When it comes to finances, are you really trying? Or are you just throwing in the towel and using excuses?
Money is simple: There are only a few basic things you need to know. What’s hard is putting in the actual work.
Before you make excuses, make sure you’re actually trying in the first place.
3. You don’t know where to start
To me, this is the only excuse with merit. You want to improve your financial life, so you make a list of things to work on. The problem is you’re trying to work on so many different things that nothing seems to stick.
Does that sound familiar?
If so, you’re not bad with money: You’re bad at focusing.
Instead of trying to work on everything at once, pick one thing — like starting an emergency fund or paying down debt — and concentrate on it until you’ve reached your goal. Only after finishing that should you move to the next item.
It’s very rare that someone is simply “bad with money.” Instead, this problem usually stems from self-comparisons, consumerism, and unclear goals — all of which can be fixed!
Have you ever said you were bad with money? If so, why?