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Money Traps

posted Apr 19, 2012, 9:29 AM by Jeff Wagner   [ updated Apr 19, 2012, 9:35 AM ]

For most of us, the best way to accumulate wealth and attain financial freedom is (believe it or not) by working hard, saving what we earn and investing wisely. Yes you can get rich working for "The Man." People think you need to start your own business, win the lottery or luck into some inheritance to become financially secure. Not only is that not true, you could end up the opposite of rich if any of those happen to you...as long as you can avoid the "money traps."

I've met quite a few business owners, and the majority work tirelessly and continuously on or in their businesses. One of my closest friends invested his life savings into a few investments, including his own retail store. Business started out OK, but as the economy turned, he had to work more & more. Last year he had to lay off his one employee and now works full time at his shop. He works more than ever for less than ever and has lost the ability to nurture other investments. Financially free people don't need to work for their businesses. Their businesses work for them.

People think winning the lottery or gaining an inheritance brings financial freedom. How often have you heard the sad but classic tale of the lottery winner who lost his fortune on bad investment or ill planned purchase? Fast fame often accompanies fast riches. Friends and relatives find you before you realize how much money you have. They may even sincerely believe they have the answer to riches aside from a somewhat small investment from you. I don't want to focus too much on this path to riches because it's the least likely. My goal with even mentioning these is to make sure you invest as little as possible here. Building wealth on a budget takes every dollar you can get your hands on.

With knowledge, support and discipline, the rest of us have a chance for financial freedom too. The problem with those of us who are fortunate to save a little, something comes along to take it away. People approach us all the time with financial needs or investment ideas; however, we tend to notice them most often when we have a little to invest. Sometimes our own wants & needs come up. We easily become the proverbial fool who is soon parted with his money. Those who go into debt for these wants & needs suffer worse. Is instant gratification worth paying double or more?

I compare this to a leaky bucket. We think if we save our money in a bucket, we'll eventually add enough to retire or be financially free, but the math never adds up. How can you save enough to be rich if A. your budget doesn't allow you to save, or B. Whenever you manage to save a little, an expense seems to suck it all away? The money bucket leaks!

Don't give up on me yet! I know the picture seems bleak, but as we continue, you'll learn that you can debunk the myth that you can't get rich working for someone else. In fact, you'll learn that it's the most surefire way to do it!

The first leak I recommend you fix is your bank. If your bank is not paying you to hold your money, you need to find another bank. Once I had a free account at a bank that rhymes with Bells Cargo thanks to a deal with a former employer. When I left the company, I also left that bank because I didn't want to pay for something I had been getting for free.

I moved to Ing not just because they offer free checking, but because they PAY interest on checking. That's right, they pay me for my checking account. I used to work at a bank, I know how much money they make off of your money. They should pay you because it's your money. Do your own homework. Google is your friend. Just type "Free Checking."

In a future post, I'll share a little more about why I love  Ing. If you want to get a head start there, they offer a $25 bonus to open an account. Submit the comment form below, and I'll send you a referral link.

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Recommended reading:
The Automatic Millionaire: A Powerful One-Step Plan to Live and Finish Rich



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