A lot of people wonder why they never seem to have any money. None in savings, little in investments and they hardly have enough to spare. They know that they earn a decent income, but they never feel like they have any money left over at the end of the month. They wonder why the money is never enough. Unfortunately, there are several traps that people can fall into that gobble up large chunks of their income and leaves them with little or nothing.
I came up with a list of another 10 common money mistakes to avoid. There are others, but these are mine. If you notice, the issues discussed here do not have much to do with money directly. They are mostly attitudinal, but they score big negative points if you commit them.
- Other People’s Lack of Planning Cannot Be Your Emergency: Remember who you are — a good friend, a good sister, a good whatsoever but you’re a not Aliko. In fact, Aliko got to where he is by careful planning and by minding his business. It takes nine months for a baby to come. Don’t allow people to blackmail you with, “this is your only nephew, please do something.” Everybody needs to do their part so that we can all survive. If you keep bailing people out especially from their obvious financial mistakes, you will be a financial wreck and the people will not learn to take care of their business. From time to time, allow people to clean up their mess. The American Government watched Lehman go down. Learn from history.
- Do Not Patronise Loan Sharks Plc: No matter how desperate the situation is, please always try and get the best deal. Stay away from loan sharks. Going to loan sharks is burying yourself by yourself alive. The likelihood for you to default in the payment is high because the interest is already high. You end up paying 50k interest for a 10k loan. Loan sharking is a business and those fellas will shake you down to get their money. Payday loans are a formal “Loan Shark Plc.” Try to avoid them in any format that they come.
- Lending Money to A Friend of A Friend: If you became friendly to a friend of a friend and the person’s next move is to ask you for money — RUN. If you give that loan, then that is the end of that money. We all have friends with baggage and we try not to let their gist out but most times, these people ruin our circle of relationship that we had inadvertently brought them into. If a friend of a friend comes to you with a money problem, first thing is to alert your mutual friend. What is most likely going to happen is that you will hear stories of how he has borrowed money without paying back from everyone in his/her inner circle. Since s/he has broken trust with all those that they know, the person is now exploring new targets. Thank me later. Heed to the advice. People who can easily ask for money, hardly payback.
- Seeing Every Rich Person as Evil: Growing up, I realized there was a general animosity for people who fared better financially. The easiest way to discredit them was to say that the source of their wealth was not pure, aka evil, aka juju is involved. This is a big money mistake. If you ever know someone who is successful around you, try to get close enough to ask them how they got where they are. You will be making a mistake to think that every wealthy person is in a cult or practices voodoo. I was privileged to know one of the most successful financial persons in my neighbourhood. Although I did not ask many questions, I did observe a lot around him and I learned a lot by being around him. I saw that he viewed life differently. As I got close to him, people told my parents, funny stories. I am sure they thought I wanted to join whatsoever cult that family was into. It was all a hoax. I learned more from those fellas than any formal money education I had.
- Not Investing in Your Financial Education: This is a big money mistake. Most people just feel that they can figure it out as they go along. This is not true. If you have a sharp axe, you will bring down the tree earlier than those that are putting in more effort. Effort is great, but knowledge is a good leverage to get to where you are heading to on time. Take out time to read financial books, watch financial movies and YouTube, listen to financially successful people speak, ask questions etc. It will take time but when you know where you are heading, your financial knowledge will help you to navigate the field.
- Monetizing Everything: The love of money will make you monetize every opportunity and access that you have. When you do that, you will not have friends because everyone and everything is a means to make more money. People are smart, and they will run via the nearest exit when they realize this is what you are about. If you must make your friends pay for every small favour they need from you, then the days of that relationship are numbered. If everything around you must have a naira and kobo value, then people around you will feel they can be bought or have a price tag. Nobody likes that, and the natural consequence is that they will…fly away Peter, fly away Paul. Not to worry, they will not come back.
- Seeing Every Other Person as Having A Ball: You think every other person is having it easy and you are the only one with the issues of life. When this happens, you are bound to always make requests from people. If you continue like this, you will become sour. Nobody wants to be around a sour person who drains them. I have people that I know that always feel they have to take. Their mantra is, “Take. Take. Take.” Well, within a short period of time, people will leave you to wallow in your pity-party. Enjoy!
- Calling People Only When You Need Something: Nobody hears from you except when you are in need. You call, sound friendly for the first one minute and then you drop your predictable request. Sometimes you are obliged, and you feel very smart. Well, what people are doing? They are trying to exorcise you. It is a matter of time and your calls will not be picked. Mark my words!
- Abusing Access: Some people are privileged to know some important people and they think it is their right to always ask for this and that from these important people. Some were introduced into a mentorship relationship and they saw (or rather mistook) it as an opportunity to offload their personal money problems on the mentor. The mentor tries to manage and feels it is youthful exuberance but when the pestering continues, the mentor finds ways to cut you lose. So now you know why it has been difficult for you to see them for the past one year.
- Not Honouring People: This can be tricky. I will explain with a personal example. I had a colleague at school, who was extremely generous to me. He took care of me and tried his best to make life comfortable for me. Hey, things were tight then. Oh, he helped a lot. When I ran into some money, I “blessed” every other person around me except him. I could not imagine what I could buy for him that he did not have. It was a wrong way to look at the situation. I failed to thank him and honour him. It is also a common mistake most of us make especially with our parents and close associates. We feel if our parents need money, they will ask us. Reverse the situation; would you like your kids to send you gifts from time to time or would you like to ask before they give? A good thing is good. Learn to honour special people in your life.
It is good for you to know that financial mistakes can take a while to clear up and they come with attendant problems that spread into other spheres of life — social, spiritual and family. Noteworthy is the fact that they can be hard to fix also. Understanding the most common financial mistakes will help you to avoid financial pitfalls and make better financial choices. If you know better, you will do better. Avoiding costly money mistakes can save you money, time and eliminate stress.