Wednesday, March 18, 2009

10 reasons you're not rich

Being "rich" is such a subjective state of mind. Some feel rich regardless of what they own and how they live day-to-day, while others -- me included -- think being rich consists of something like this:

Okay, that minus the bad hair and the upper lip plumage.

It's a common misconception that you will become rich off what you make at your job. This is rarely the case, as people generally start to accrue substantial profits off not paychecks, but good investments; therefore, it's important to espouse a saying I've had told to me many times before:

"You will never become rich by working for someone else."

While we all can't (or have no desire to) become Colombian drug czars like Brendan Frasier in Bedazzled, reiterates my point that people assume they aren't rich because they don't earn enough money. "Becoming a millionaire has less to do with how much you make, it's how you treat money in your daily life," the article suggests.
The list of reasons you may not be rich doesn't end at 10. Caring what your neighbors think, not being patient, having bad habits, not having goals, not being prepared, trying to make a quick buck, relying on others to handle your money, investing in things you don't understand, being financially afraid and ignoring your finances [are all reasons why you may not be rich].
Here are 10 more possible reasons thinks you aren't rich:

You care what your car looks like: A car is a means of transportation to get from one place to another, but many people don't view it that way. Instead, they consider it a reflection of themselves and spend money every two years or so to impress others instead of driving the car for its entire useful life and investing the money saved.

You feel entitlement: If you believe you deserve to live a certain lifestyle, have certain things and spend a certain amount before you have earned to live that way, you will have to borrow money. That large chunk of debt will keep you from building wealth.

You lack diversification: There is a reason one of the oldest pieces of financial advice is to not keep all your eggs in a single basket. Having a diversified investment portfolio makes it much less likely that wealth will suddenly disappear.

You started too late: The magic of compound interest works best over long periods of time. If you find you're always saying there will be time to save and invest in a couple more years, you'll wake up one day to find retirement is just around the corner and there is still nothing in your retirement account.

You don't do what you enjoy: While your job doesn't necessarily need to be your dream job, you need to enjoy it. If you choose a job you don't like just for the money, you'll likely spend all that extra cash trying to relieve the stress of doing work you hate. There is much truth to this point, chickadees.

You don't like to learn: You may have assumed that once you graduated from college, there was no need to study or learn. That attitude might be enough to get you your first job or keep you employed, but it will never make you rich. A willingness to learn to improve your career and finances are essential if you want to eventually become wealthy.

You buy things you don't use: Take a look around your house, in the closets, basement, attic and garage and see if there are a lot of things you haven't used in the past year. If there are, chances are that all those things you purchased were wasted money that could have been used to increase your net worth.

You don't understand value: You buy things for any number of reasons besides the value that the purchase brings to you. This is not limited to those who feel the need to buy the most expensive items, but can also apply to those who always purchase the cheapest goods. Rarely are either the best value, and it's only when you learn to purchase good value that you have money left over to invest for your future.

Your house is too big: When you buy a house that is bigger than you can afford or need, you end up spending extra money on longer debt payments, increased taxes, higher upkeep and more things to fill it. Some people will try to argue that the increased value of the house makes it a good investment, but the truth is that unless you are willing to downgrade your living standards, which most people are not, it will never be a liquid asset or money that you can ever use and enjoy.

You fail to take advantage of opportunities: There has probably been more than one occasion where you heard about someone who has made it big and thought to yourself, "I could have thought of that." There are plenty of opportunities if you have the will and determination to keep your eyes open. []


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Stephanie said...

Great post. I like seeing how comprehensive that list is and also how a lot of it is your own perception of what "rich" means. Maybe with the housing crisis there will be more who think about buying more house they can afford. I never understood the need to continuously move and buy a bigger house every few years and with a new 30 year mortgage each time. How do you ever get ahead? I totally appreciate my small house and sensible car more than ever!

I do need to work on the work issues though like doing what I love (I'm not), and learning more. But I think I can keep my job now and start learning about things that really interest me. That makes me feel rich more than anything. And I can get that for free at the local library. :)

paisley penguin said...

Excellent points! My car is 10 years old (still making payments - we bought it used when we had NO money) and my husbands car is 22 years old. We have a two bedroom condo which is a little tight when my husbands kids come to visit but perfect for us.

We don't ever plan to buy a larger place to live but would like to buy a house instead of a condo. We drive our cars until they die.

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