The Seven Deadly WINS of Personal Finance

by Ron Haynes

Winning isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. Remember the phrase: “we can win the battle but lose the war”? Just because we “win” doesn’t mean it’s the best thing to happen. Some people feel the need to win at any cost and in the process, lose big time. But there are seven areas in the personal finance realm where “wins” don’t necessarily mean success. Winning on these may indeed be deadly to your finances!

Winning the job game, but losing the passion game.

Sure you can find a job, but does it start your engine? Does it fulfill you or are you just trading your hours for your employer’s dollars? Not all jobs are capable of fulfilling you, so in that case your passion may be a hobby (like working on classic cars) or an activity (like gardening or skiing).  But if your job is nothing but one frustrating hour after another, it might be time to begin looking.

Winning the retirement planning game, but losing the life game.

Setting aside enough funds for retirement is a highly desirable goal, but putting too much into that goal at the expense of living a life is not success. We’ve all heard of the millionaire hermit that reused tea bags, but simply putting too much mental energy into saving for retirement at the expense of relationships and living a full, rich life is a deadly win.

Winning the insurance game, but losing the coverage game.

Simply having insurance isn’t enough, we need to make sure we have the proper amount of coverage. For life insurance, it’s usually about 15 times your annual salary, for car insurance, I personally have the maximum amount. I’d hate to crash into and total a $75,000 vehicle and only have $25,000 in coverage.

Winning the investing game, but losing the compound interest game.

Albert Einstein once said that compound interest was the eighth wonder of the world and he was probably right (are you gonna argue with Einstein?). Simply investing isn’t enough, we need to maximize our investments by taking full advantage of the miracle of compound interest. That means investing early, too!

Winning the saving money game, but losing the relaxation game.

What are you really saving money for anyway? A big fat savings account that doesn’t have a purpose is a waste of your time and resources. I save for those relaxing times called vacations and time with my family. I only have a limited number of summer weeks to spend with my children so spending time with them is precious.

Winning the budget game, but losing the fun game.

If you aren’t budgeting for fun, you’re losing out! Always create a budget category for fun and for recreation, otherwise your budget will be a chore and you probably won’t stick to it. Even if you are able to persevere, chances are good you’ll grow to feel trapped rather than free.

Winning the debt game. but losing the opportunity game.

Not all debt is bad. I know that sounds crazy, but there is debt that helps increase your net worth and debt that doesn’t. Borrowing money to buy a home, pay for an education, or to buy or start a business can increase your net worth and pay off in the long run. The absolute avoidance of all debt can result in lost opportunities.

Success, real success is about balance, not necessarily about racking up “wins” for wins sake. When we strive for balance in our finances, our relationships, and our work life, we being experiencing reall success and that is truly fulfilling.

About the author

Ron Haynes has written 1001 articles on The Wisdom Journal.

The founder and editor of The Wisdom Journal in 2007, Ron has worked in banking, distribution, retail, and upper management for companies ranging in size from small startups to multi-billion dollar corporations. He graduated Suma Cum Laude from a top MBA program and currently is a Human Resources and Management consultant, helping companies know how employees will behave in varying situations and what motivates them to action, assisting firms in identifying top talent, and coaching managers and employees on how to better communicate and make the workplace MUCH more enjoyable. If you'd like help in these areas, contact Ron using the contact form at the top of this page or at 870-761-7881.

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Very well said…. so true. It can be hard to lose perspective when we’re so focused on achieving some of our financial goals. These statements are powerful to sit on and think about.

J. Steve Miller

Good angle, and good points! Another point might be, “Don’t win the money game while losing the happiness game.” I suppose it could come under your “lose the fun game,” but to expand upon it, I see some who Scrooge around and miss out on the fun of giving to the less fortunate and worthy causes.

Studies I read find that once you get above the poverty level, that making $10,000 more dollars doesn’t do much for human happiness. But many studies find that those who live for causes beyond themselves tend to be happier.

J. Steve Miller, author of Enjoy Your Money! How to Make It, Save It, Invest It and Give It


Very, very true. Thanks for stopping by and I’m looking forward to reading your book!

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