Wednesday, October 19, 2016

4 money habits that will (surely) land you in deep poverty

Habits are what define us. Good or bad. They are those things we do repeatedly and consistently, almost without noticing we do them, and have become part of us. Habit is more than just WHAT you do, but also HOW you do them.

We have habits in different core areas of our life - eating habits, reading habits, thinking habits, sleeping habits, work habits, and our focus for this discussion, money and spending habits - all of these and more together form character; and as you know, character determines destiny. A man's character determines where he ends up in life.

If you are going to change your life, you will have to change your can't keep doing the same things the same way (habitually), and expect different change your habits and replace them with more rewarding ones, you are on your way to a better, more fulfilling life.

That said, a wise man once noted, "money is not everything, but it is something in everything" - and this is true. Money may not all you need to live a fulfilling life, but it undeniably plays an important role in ensuring you live the life of your dreams.

One truth we must get is that God never created anyone to be poor, no! He never made anyone and said: "Go into the world and live a wretched, broke and defeated life. Fail at whatever you do and end up in debt, mediocrity and poverty". No!

On the contrary, by reason of His spirit in us (which makes us LIKE Him) and the many gifts (talents, natural abilities) He has invested in us, the seed of greatness lies in each and every one of us. The question is: will you become great? Will you fulfil your potentials and live a fulfilling, impactful life? Well, your habits will determine that.

As said earlier, they are many habits that define us, but here we'd look at money habits (four, precisely) that will surely lead to poverty if not discontinued and replaced with better ones...

Image source:

1. Habit of spending your hard earned income on luxury
I gleaned this wisdom from the classic, "Rich dad, poor dad", it goes something like "never spend your hard earned income on luxury items" - that's what poor people do!
The rich do not spend their hard earned income on things they do not need, rather luxury items are bought with money from investment.

What does this mean? Poor people (and those who will land in deep poverty if they continue) spend their salaries and savings on things they do not need - to gratify wants/new taste - wants that arise because you now have some money in your hand. You know how when you have some money, you suddenly start seeing things you probably never saw before that you could buy, and you start having ideas of different things you can do with the money - that wrist watch, that phone, that nice looking shirt, etc

But the rich (remember, being rich is first a mindset, which influences your lifestyle before reality) do not spend their salaries and savings to gratify such wants/taste that arise with more money, rather earnings from investment are spent on those.

The author explains that the rich see luxury items as a reward for money well invested. While the poor see luxury items as reward for much hard work. And that influences their spending on them.

A better money habit to cultivate: a right mindset and healthy self esteem are the antidote to this habit. You must understand that you are not defined by what you possess, the real value of who you are lies inside.
Practically, spend your income on the things you need, and save what is left. If there's an opportunity to invest, grab it if you can. There will come a time when you can gratify your wants. Luxury items are things you can do without.

2. Habit of impulsive/reckless spending
Ha! Spending on impulse! This is a money habit that you have to discontinue immediately, if you're guilty of it.

Spending on impulse is spending money without giving much thought to it, spending without budgeting (or even when you budget, you spend outside of it). It's reckless spending. For instance, you go to some place, see an item that "wows you" and bang, you go withdraw money (if you do not have enough cash on you), and buy it!

Many of us are quite guilty of this, honestly. But it becomes a real problem when it happens habitually. It's not a habit that someone who wants to attain greatness should live with.

How do you know you spend recklessly? For me, I know I have spent money (regardless of how small or big) recklessly if when I reflect on it, I realise I could have either kept the money or spent it on something better without much negative consequences. That could work for you, too.

Ask questions like: could I keep this money and not spend it on that item? What would be the consequence of that? If I do not spend this money on this item, would it prove costly? Could I spend it on something else or something better later? There's more of course, but I believe these are a start.

A better money habit to cultivate: discipline and will are the antidote to this habit. Practically, you can draw up a budget of how you need to spend your money, and follow it. You should also reflect on your spending every now and then to ascertain if you spent recklessly or wisely.

3. Habit of collecting/receiving, never giving
Hmmm...this has to be the "deadliest" habit on this list...deadly in the sense that it is the surest way to poverty - the habit of receiving and not giving!

They are like a ton of Scripture texts that deal on the topic of giving and receiving, and they do not paint the consistent receiver who never gives in good light.

One of such texts is Proverbs 11:24-26, it reads:
"There is one who scatters, yet increases more; and there is one who withholds more than is right, but it leads to poverty.
The generous soul will be made rich, and he who waters will also be watered himself.
The people will curse him who withholds grain, but blessing will be on the head of him who sells it."

(Reflect on each line of this text, it contains so much wisdom).

Together, let's look at this text briefly to gain some insight:
- "there is one who scatters..." (v. 24a) - this paints a picture of a farmer scattering seeds on the farmland, and implies someone who gives generously. What does he get for this? He "increases more".

- "there is one who withholds more than is right" (v. 24b) - this tells me something important - we are not required to give all we have, no! But there is a portion that "is right" to give to others, and we should not withhold "more than" it. Lest, as the text says, we shall come to "poverty", such habit leads to deep poverty.

- "the generous soul will be made rich" (v. 25a) - I don't think we need to dwell on what being generous means, but the following statement requires some thought, "will BE MADE rich". The text did not say, "the generous soul will become rich", but "will BE MADE rich", and I'll add "by God", that is, "the generous soul will BE MADE rich BY GOD".

In the same way that James 4:6 (referencing Proverbs 3:34) says God resists the proud (whether that person is born again or not), and helps the humble (again, whether he is born again or not), He also makes the generous (whether he is born again or not) rich.

What does this tell us? Your generosity will be repaid by One who does not fail. Forget what people are saying about your giving, as long as you give with a good motive (and not for show-off), God will certainly repay you.

How do I know this? Because this Scripture is true: "He who has pity on the poor lends to the Lord, and He will pay back what he has given" (Proverbs 19:17).

A better money habit to cultivate: a kind heart and a liberal mindset are the antidote to this habit. Do not turn the love inwards into you alone, but out to other people. You may say you don't have much, but there's at least one person out there who your little can help immensely. Spread the love of Christ to others through your giving.
Practically, you can apply some wisdom I gleaned from "The richest man in Babylon", give a pre-determined portion (say 5%) of your income away to charity.

4. Habit of spending to keep up with trends in fashion, etc.
Well, I don't think we need to say much know yourself, if this is a habit you live with, just know you will (surely) land in deep poverty.

The habit of spending to keep up with the latest in fashion - the trending pieces, trending accessories, trending whatever; or latest gadgets - trending phones, trending tablets and the likes; will land you poverty fast!
(Except, of course, your dad/sponsor is one of those in the top 1000 on Forbes/any serious list of the world's richest, or you have a really big income!).

It's a habit that will drive you to the airport of poverty, take you onto the flight as you sit in first class, and personally fly you to the capital of poverty - DEBT CITY!

A better money habit to cultivate: a healthy self-esteem and a realisation of the truth that you are not defined by what you have - the car (s) you drive, the clothes you wear, or the phone (s) you use, etc - are the antidote to this habit.
Practical help? Be content. Contentment is a state of peace...peace with self, that flows from peace with God.

Contentment is not being satisfied with mediocrity; it is learning to make the best of where you are and what you have, and not killing yourself over what you do not have. Contentment has a vision of a better tomorrow and is working towards achieving it, yet it's not crying over where it is today. Contentment is enjoying life today, while working towards a better tomorrow.

Habits are what either propel us to the top or drag us down (and worse, keep us there)...which are your habits doing to you?

What money habits have you cultivated? Do share with us in the comments section.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Sharing is giving, and giving is generosity. Be generous, share this post with those you care about.