If you feel like you just can’t get ahead financially no matter how hard you try, you are probably doing a few things wrong
Some years ago, I was struggling financially so I decided to take a close look at my finances. The first question I asked myself was “Why can’t I ever get ahead financially?”
This question changed my life because it allowed me to be completely honest with myself, and also admit that I was responsible for my financial problems.
So if you are wondering why you can’t seem to get ahead financially, I want to encourage you to do some soul searching like I did, and be completely honest with yourself.
In the meantime, I am going to tell you four reasons why I struggled financially. Incidentally, they are the same reasons lots of people have financial problems.
So if you’re struggling financially, here are three reasons why you can’t get ahead with your money.
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4 HONEST REASONS WHY YOU CAN’T GET AHEAD FINANCIALLY
1. LACK OF FINANCIAL DISCIPLINE
One of the first issues I identified in my life was lack of financial discipline.
Lack of financial discipline is one of the main reasons many people can’t get ahead financially.
It doesn’t matter how much you earn or how hard you work, if you lack self-discipline, you are going to keep struggling financially and never achieve your financial goals.
Lack of discipline is a behavioral problem, and the only way to fix it is to identify bad money habits, and work on changing them.
Here are some bad money habits that are signs of lack of financial discipline:
1. You have no idea where your money goes
One minute you have lots of money, and the next, you have no clue how you spent your money (or what you spent your money on).
2. You consistently buy stuff you can’t afford
Sometimes, it’s because you are too optimistic about your finances or future earnings, other times it’s because you don’t care. You reckon you’ll deal with any problem when they arise.
3. Your check book or bank account is frequently overdrawn
For some reason, you can’t seem to balance your check book or account so you keep spending money you don’t have.
4. You’re an impulsive or compulsive spender
You just have to have it. You don’t understand the meaning of delayed gratification or the dangers of consumerism.
5. You don’t have a payment schedule for your bills
So you’re constantly making late payments and incurring charges, or defaulting on some payments.
6. You have no budget or spending plan
You think budgets are restrictive, so you don’t use them because you want the freedom to spend your money however you like.
Do you have any of these bad money habits?
If you do, then you definitely lack discipline, and you’ve to get rid of these habits if you really want to get ahead financially.
2. LACK OF CONTENTMENT AND GRATITUDE
In case you’re wondering what lack of contentment have to do with not getting ahead, I am here to tell you that lack of contentment is responsible for lots of financial problems.
Most of us suffer from this in one degree or another, but some of us don’t allow it to ruin our finances or lives.
Lack of contentment becomes a real problem when you’re constantly striving for more. Since you are never happy with what you have, you keep spending money and accumulating more stuff whether or not you can afford it.
Some common symptoms of lack of contentment and gratitude include:
1. You buy more house than you need or can afford
One of the mistakes many home buyers make is buying the biggest house they qualify for, whether or not they need all that space.
The fact that you’re approved for a mortgage doesn’t mean that you have to go for the biggest house you can find.
Sometimes less is more. If living in a smaller house makes more financial sense for you and your family, that’s what you should go for.
But when you’re plagued with lack of contentment, you always choose the bigger and most expensive option without thinking of the consequences. Instead of being grateful for what you can afford, you prefer to stretch yourself financially.
This isn’t very smart and may be the reason you can’t get ahead financially.
2. You have expensive cars that you don’t need or can’t afford
This is similar to buying more house than you need or can afford.
Many of you have bought brand new cars or expensive cars that you don’t need, and if you are completely honest, you can’t really afford them.
This is another sign of lack of contentment.
Instead of getting a car that’s good enough and affordable, you opt for one that you can’t afford because it makes you feel good and look like you’re doing well financially.
It’s better to be content with something less expensive, than to be financially stressed.
3. You make buying decisions based on what other people have
This syndrome is commonly referred to as keeping up with the Joneses.
Instead of focusing on yourself and what is important to you, you’re constantly trying to keep pace with others whether or not you can afford to make the same purchases as them.
Keeping up with the Joneses is an assured way to run into financial problems and become poor, so it’s not something I recommend.
4. You have bought into the lie that you deserve more than you have
If you believe that you deserve everything you want, you won’t ever be content or grateful for what you have.
Don’t buy into the lie that you deserve more than you have because you’re worth it. Your worth doesn’t come from your possessions so spending all your money buying more stuff isn’t the answer.
Instead of thinking you deserve to own everything, be thankful for what you have, and learn to be content.
When you’re content, you can save more of your money, and focus on improving your finances.
3. YOU DON’T HAVE FINANCIAL GOALS
Many people with financial problems don’t have specific goals or anything they are working towards.
You can’t get ahead financially if you don’t have a plan for your finances. Having financial goals and a plan for achieving those goals is the only way you can get ahead financially.
For example, if you don’t have a plan to save for retirement, you may end up broke and in poor shape when you retire and have no steady income coming in.
The same thing applies to paying off debt, saving for emergencies or buying a house.
Lack of financial goals is the reason many people have bad spending habits. They don’t know what they are supposed to do with their money, so they fritter it away on unnecessary purchases, then they wonder why they never seem to have any money.
Many people dream of financial freedom, but they fail to understand that you can’t achieve financial freedom if you’re burdened with debt, don’t have savings and don’t invest a part of your income.
So if you want to get ahead financially, start by setting some financial goals,
Examples of financial goals include:
- Paying off credit card debts and other debts
- Saving a specific amount every month until you have a fully funded emergency account
- Paying off your mortgage
- Paying off student loans and car loans
- Start investing and saving for retirement
- Start tracking your expenses so you can reduce or eliminate them
These are all financial goals that are worth pursuing because they will help you to get ahead financially.
So instead of feeling stuck and broke, take active steps to control your finances, and create a plan to get to your desired destination.
4. YOU LACK CONSISTENCY
Want to know why you can’t get ahead financially? It’s because you lack consistency.
If you want to improve your financial life, you have to keep doing the right things for a long time. You have to be in it for the long haul otherwise you won’t see your desired result.
Many people can’t stick with a budget for more than month. They get bored or tired and they give up and go back to their old ways.
Same thing with saving money consistently or paying off debt.
If you want to solve your financial problems, you have to be focused and consistent. This isn’t something you try for a few days or even months.
Depending on how bad your financial situation is, it may take a few years to fix things and get back in shape, so you have to be prepared for that.
When it comes to your finances, I’m afraid there are no quick fixes.
So ask yourself, am I consistent in paying off debt? Do I consistently save money from every paycheck?
Do I invest some money for retirement every month? Am I tracking my spending consistently?
If you answered no to most of these questions, it means you aren’t being consistent and you still have a lot of work to do to change your financial situation.
Final thoughts on why you can’t get ahead financially
There are lots of reasons why some of you are struggling financially, but the reasons listed in this post are some of the most common reasons I have seen for financial problems.
If you’re tired of being in a financial rut, use the tips in this post to dig your way out. But first, you really need to have a strong desire to get ahead financially.
Without a strong desire and a commitment to do whatever it takes, you’re going to keep spinning your wheels and never making much progress.
So what say you?
Why do you think you can’t get ahead financially?
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