What goes through your mind after you have received your credit card or mortgage statement? Do you find yourself in the same financial rut over and over? Does history repeat itself? Our financial lives consist of patterns that are unlikely to change. This does not mean that our financial habits cannot change.
What we don’t realize is just how much of our lives are on autopilot. We cling to habits like our lives depend on them because there is comfort and power in the familiar and predictable. Habits comprise 95% of our behaviors and many of us do not even question our habits, regardless of proof suggesting that they do us harm. Here is why we must break bad financial habits.
The Implications of bad Personal Finance Habits The implications of bad personal finance habits are significant. Our lives take turns for the worse by many slow and unnoticed decisions. On the surface, such decisions may appear harmless or at least insignificant, yet their impacts are serious. For most of us, we do not necessarily do extremely stupid things in rapid succession of each other, yet we still get into major financial problems. This is often the result small decisions made over a long term, such as not carrying proper insuranceor not having an emergency fund or not managing your credit card debt.
The Power of Good Habits: The Jimmie Dean Example The same cumulative effect of incremental good decisions work for our good as well. Whenever we see someone “suddenly” have remarkable success, we’re often witnessing the cumulative effect of years of hard work rather than an isolated event.
Case Study: Jimmie Dean Although he has a famous last name (no relation), Mr. Dean was of modest means. The most he ever earned was $50,000 per year. I imagine he lived a quiet and unassuming life. Thus, it was to the surprise of many that he even had $2 million to donate to charity upon his death. He didn’t win the lottery or inherit money from a rich relative. Instead, he worked 33 long years as a technician and invested habitually. His seven-figure gift was the cumulative impact of his diligence.
Closing Thoughts We have the power to reject complacency. If our financial lives are going in the wrong directions, we can take courage and take charge. We can deliberately replace any bad habits with good habits. We won’t allow the pace and size of bad decisions to lure us to our slow financial deaths.