1. Conflicting Goals
Individuals often have competing desired outcomes that are in conflict. An example of goals in conflict might be a desire to retire early matched against an unwillingness to invest in the stock market. One of the commonalities of being able to achieve a secure retirement is being able to accept being uncomfortable at times along the way.
2. Failing to Plan
No one would board an airplane without first knowing the destination, but we do this routinely in our financial lives. Random choices with no particular direction amount to “circling the airport,” but these decisions likely won’t take you where you want to go. What you pay attention to, by default or by intention, matters most. You have to plot a path to follow in order to make progress.
3. Neighbors & Noise
It’s easy to take financial direction from your friends and neighbors. They probably mean well, but they likely don’t have the experience or knowledge of your circumstances to help you make good decisions. Likewise, the financial media is almost entirely focused on sensationalism, which is the mortal enemy of financial planning. Press the mute button for your own financial good.
4. Blind Certainty
Many successful individuals carry around narratives in their heads about how the world works. The problem is many of the “truths” within the narrative are false. Having blind certainty about your financial life runs counter to the need to embrace uncertainty as a necessary ingredient in the financial progress formula.
The average person sees or hears about 3000 different messages or images each day. No wonder many people suffer from financial nearsightedness. That is, they focus on things up close and don’t see things as clearly in the distance. This can be a huge obstacle to moving toward a secure financial future.
6. All Hat, No Cattle
Financial goals are not achieved by talk…they require action. It continues to surprise me that many successful individuals procrastinate doing things that are required for them to enjoy their future life. Commitment to a goal requires action, not words.
Related: The Disaster of DIY Investing
7. Big Mistakes
Everyone makes financial mistakes. The key is not to make big mistakes that end up forcing you to change direction or even abandon long-term goals. The later in life the mistakes happen, the more potential for long-lasting lifestyle altering damage.
8. Misconceptions, Biases, and Inexperience
These traits are closely related and thus, grouped together as one. Misconceptions range from fallacies to outright delusions. Behavioral biases are “hardwired” in humans and nearly impossible to manage without guidance. Being inexperienced within the financial realm usually translates into errors.