The Seven Deadly WINS of Personal Finance

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.

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