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As 2015 comes to a close, we begin to think about what our New Year’s resolutions will be for 2016. We establish goals and design plans to put into place once the ball drops. With every goal, however, we encounter limiting beliefs that may hinder our success.
I want 2016 to be epic for you, so I reached out to 41 experts and asked them to reveal their limiting beliefs that impeded their financial success and how you can overcome them, so that you achieve your financial goals faster.
But first, I want to thank all of the contributors as their submissions are filled with so many golden nuggets. You all rock!
This expert roundup describes limiting beliefs across 10 different topics: earned income, passive income, investing, debt elimination, saving money, minimalism, scarcity and abundance, conventional wisdom, financial independence, and early retirement.
Also if you know someone who might enjoy this post, feel free to share it.
Let’s get right to it!
My major limiting belief was believing I was limited. I told myself I’d never make more than $40,000 a year, and I believed it. I thought because I had “just” a bachelor’s degree and had been fired from a previous job that I was somehow not capable of achieving more than that, and that I’d always be trading my time for money in some way. I also believed using the internet to make money was shady and slimy — and in many ways, it is, but it’s also a big, big thing, the internet. It is what you make it. I figured out how to make it work for me, and I realized I didn’t have to do what everyone else was doing. I could do my own thing. I didn’t have to work for someone else. I didn’t have to settle. I could thrive. And I did.
~ Caitlin Pyle is the creator of The Work Anywhere Life and ProofReadAnywhere. After building a six-figure business in three months in one of the tiniest niches on Earth, she now travels the world helping others turn their own genius into profitable online businesses that change lives.
It didn’t occur to me that I could be the primary driver of my income endeavors, rather than my experience or my degree or my employer.
Eventually, my voracious consumption of entrepreneurial books, blogs, documentaries and podcasts pushed me past the tipping point, helping me take responsibility for my earnings future and transforming my approach to earning more.
To truly maximize the opportunity for income growth, take ownership of your income potential. Outside factors are undoubtedly influential, but none are more powerful than your own resolve and follow through.
~ Stefanie O’Connell is a financial expert, Gen Y advocate, speaker and author of the recently released book, The Broke and Beautiful Life. She is dedicated to helping young adults achieve financial greatness on her blog, The Broke and Beautiful Life.
A limiting belief I used to have was I would never make more than $500k per year. Much of this can be attributed to that I had never surrounded myself with others that had achieved this. In fact, my original mentor that hired me was making this and he was the richest person I knew. When I started exploring other successful entrepreneurs and realizing that many of them were making 7 figures and, in some cases 8 figures, I started to change my mindset from “How could I ever make that amount of money?” to “What steps would I need to implement today to get there?” That mindset shift has been huge for me and I’ve easily surpassed the $500k level and rapidly closing in on 7 figures.
~ Jeff Rose is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ professional, the CEO of his own wealth management firm and wrote a best-selling book on personal finance. On his site, Good Financial Cents, he inspires you to take charge of your money and make “cents” of your financial future.
I think a major limiting belief was that I had to master multiple channels in order to build a platform and start generating leveraged income, or “snowball income” as I like to call it. In other words, that I had to be on YouTube, Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, etc. etc. The truth is you simply need to find something that works and then rinse and repeat – do it over and over again until it doesn’t work anymore. For me, that has been webinars. For others, it might be Pinterest or something else.
As a result, often my #1 piece of advice to someone who is getting started is they need to find whatever works for them and then just beat it to a pulp – do it over and over.
~ John Corcoran is an attorney, writer, and a father, and a former Clinton White House Writer and Speechwriter to the Governor of California. He helps people turn their relationships into revenue and is the creator of Smart Business Revolution, the Smart Business Revolution podcast, and Webinar1K.
1. Start with a ton of cash and buy pre-existing cash-flows like real estate, income-producing websites, and dividend-paying stocks,
2. OR build something from scratch with your own “sweat equity.”
The challenge is option #2 often comes with weeks or months of “spec work,” hours you toil away for no immediate return. Perhaps the ability to push through those times and see the light at the end of the tunnel is the critical skill for entrepreneurs.
~ Nick Loper is an online entrepreneur and lifelong student in the game of business. On his blog, Side Hustle Nation, he helps entrepreneurs launch their businesses or take their side hustles to the next level.
Maren Kate Donovan
Early on my most limiting belief was the idea that hard work (e.g. long hours, etc) directly correlates with success. I would spend hours just *staring* at the computer, versus getting up and experiencing the world, because I felt guilty that I wasn’t working *hard* enough—thus would never become successful.
Once I divorced myself from this limiting belief, and focused on the idea of abundance and the 80/20 principle—my life changed and success became much easier to come by.
~ Maren Kate Donovan is an entrepreneur who has started several businesses from selling mystical jewelry on eBay, to connecting busy professionals with virtual executive assistants through Zirtual.com—which recently sold to Startups.Co. Currently, she is the creator and writer of Escaping The 9 To 5.
I used to think that having a “real company” was tied to having a certain type of office, X number of employees, etc. I’ve now found that you can’t let history or critics determine what is or isn’t the company you should be building.
It was freeing coming to the realization that we didn’t have to follow the traditional life/business scripts that were already written for us. Forging our own path, we can build exactly the type of company we want and would like to work with ourselves.
~ Justin Cooke is a partner at Empire Flippers and host of the Empire Flippers Podcast. He shows others how to create an online empire through building, buying, and selling profitable websites and online properties.
I used to think that the only way to earn passive income was by buying real estate assets or by setting up a huge company where I would have a management team to run the organization. As both these options need huge investments to be made in the first place, I always thought that earning passive income was a distant dream. Two years back I started hearing stories about people who earned money though the internet. This shattered my limiting belief and made me explore ways to earn passive income online. I make my first dollar online by publishing a Kindle book that took me less than $100 to publish. As I understood the potential of this platform, I started publishing more and more books with minimal investment. Now, the books I’ve published on Amazon have become my highest income source.
~ Jyotsna Ramachandran is the HomeEntrepreneur™ (stay-at-home mom + entrepreneur) who helps people start a home-based business and grow it by becoming a published author. She is also the bestselling author of Job Escape Plan.
Somewhat ironically, Jack Bogle launched the first index fund (The S&P 500 Index Fund) in 1976, just a year after I started investing. How much wonderfully easier and more profitable my investing life would have been had I learned about it right away and been wise enough to embrace it.
I didn’t and I wasn’t.
It took ten years before I heard of Bogle and index investing. By then I had been seduced by the concept of being able to pick individual stocks and/or star fund managers who could.
Because I was reasonably successful (and in fact achieved financial independence by 1989) doing this, I was very slow to really examine the research. It is not, after all, that you can’t make money picking stocks and fund managers. It is that indexing is far easier and far more powerful.
To this day I cringe when people intending to compliment me say my blog and its tilt toward indexing are a great option for beginners and those not willing to learn how to invest. Rubbish. It is a great option for those who want the best possible results.
But it took me another ~15 years to finally embrace it. Why? Well besides the fact I was getting good if not optimal results without it, I think there is a lot of psychology behind it:
1) It is very hard for smart people to accept that they can’t outperform an Index that simply buys everything. It seems it should be so easy to spot the good companies and avoid the bad.
But the research over the decades in comprehensive and clear: It’s not.
This was my personal hang-up and I wasted years and many $$$ in the pursuit of out-performance.
2) To buy the Index is to accept “average.” People have trouble seeing themselves or anything in their life as average.
But in this context “average” is not in the middle, it is the combined performance of the all the stocks in an index. Professional managers are measured against how well they do against this return. It’s a very tough benchmark.
In any given year – and of course this varies year to year – ~80% of actively managed funds underperform their index. Go out 15+ years and the percent who do is vanishingly small.
This means just buying the index guarantees you’ll be in the top performance tier. Year after year. Not bad for accepting “average.” I can live (and prosper) with that kind of “average.”
3) The financial media is filled with seductive stories of individuals and pros who have outperformed the index for a year or two or three. Or in the rare case, like Warren Buffett, who has done it over time. (I cringe at the often touted suggestion to just do what Buffet does. He is famous precisely because he has done something excitedly rare.)
But investing is a long term game. You’ll have no better luck picking and switching winning managers than winning stocks over the decades.
4) People underestimate the drag of costs to investing. 1 or 1.5 or 2 percent seems so low, especially in a good year. But such fees are a devil’s ball & chain on your wealth. As Jack Bogle says, performance comes and goes. Expenses are always there.
5) People want quick results. They want to brag about their stock that tripled or their fund that beat the S&P. Letting an Index work its magic over the years isn’t very exciting. It is only very profitable.
6) People want exciting. Heck, I’ve even admitted to playing with individual stocks with a (very) small fraction of my money. But I let the Indexes do the heavy lifting and they are the ones that build my F-you Money.
7) Finally, and perhaps most influential, there is a huge business (Wall Street) dedicated to selling advice and brokering trades to people who believe they can outperform. Money managers, mutual fund companies, financial advisers, stock analysts, newsletters, blogs, brokers all want their hand in your pocket. Billions are at stake and the drumbeat marketing the idea of out-performance is relentless. In short we are brainwashed.
Indexing threatens the huge fees they can collect enabling your belief and effort in the vanishingly difficult quest for the alluring siren of out-performance.
My advice: Use The Index and keep what is yours.
In reality, though, a successful investor could be the millionaire next door — a t-shirt-wearing, beer-drinking average Joe who maintains a simple strategy of sticking to low-fee index funds.
Once I discovered this, and began investing in index funds for the long-run, my net worth and financial life improved dramatically.
~ Paula Pant is a journalist-turned-blogger, speaker and media commentator specializing in personal finance, real estate, and lifestyle design. Her finance and lifestyle design blog, Afford Anything, helps people break the shackles of paycheck-dependence and achieve financial independence.
I think one of the biggest hindering beliefs that hold millennials back from investing (and it was hard for me as well) was the thought that you had to have “a lot of money” to invest. By this, I mean that people are afraid to start investing with $100. And it’s tough. I remember when I started investing with just $500. My account grew to $550 in my first year, which really isn’t a lot of money. But it is a 10% return – a lot of investors would envy a 10% return! It’s just tough to think small in the beginning.
However, hindsight really shows the importance of starting small and investing regularly. 10 years later, my portfolio has grown significantly – all because I just started investing and letting my money grow and compound. In 20-30 years, it will be worth even more than it is now.
So, the goal is to just start. Don’t let your small starting amount hinder you!
~ Robert Farrington is America’s Millennial Money Expert™ and America’s Student Loan Debt Expert™. He is also the founder of The College Investor, which is the top resource for helping millennials get out of student loan debt and start building real wealth for their future.
When I started my career in finance I was working under the assumption that I needed to outsmart everyone else to succeed in the markets. Every year I have slowly chipped away at this line of thinking and now I know that intelligence is not the be-all-end-all. I’m actually amazed at the number of geniuses I come into contact with that are wrong on a regular basis because they’re so overconfident in their abilities or too stubborn to change their minds. These are highly educated people with very good job titles in the world of finance, yet they have zero common sense to apply that their knowledge in a way that works.
And this idea goes beyond investing in the markets to any line of work. You absolutely have to develop an ability to solve problems and think critically to succeed in any field. Combine these skills with a genuine thirst for learning and that’s a tough combination to beat. The smartest people I know are the ones that are constantly learning, not the ones that think they already have everything figured out.
~ Ben Carlson is the Director of Institutional Asset Management at Ritholtz Wealth Management, which creates detailed investment plans and manages portfolios for institutions and individuals to help them achieve their goals. He is also the creator of A Wealth of Common Sense, a site that explains the complexities of the various aspects of finance in a way that everyone could understand them.
I was educated early on to fear the markets and to not invest because you might lose your money. I put the minimum in to get the match at work and even cashed out my very first two years of my 401k after my first job and didn’t roll it over.
Many years later, at my current job, I sat in a finance meeting in early 2009 in the midst of the biggest market decline I have ever seen and wondered what to do with my money. I was contributing 10% to retirement and was ready to start decreasing my contributions. The finance adviser our company flew in got up and I was ready to have my fears justified and instead he said, “what a great opportunity for you to make money.” Wait, what?!? He then displayed multiple options of what could happen with our money. We could cash out, keep doing the same thing, or buy when the market is at a historical low. Then he showed what was likely to happen over the next several years in each scenario.
I learned I had been doing everything backwards financially. I was keeping myself poor because of my fear. I have maxed out from that day in my investments and have hundreds of thousands of dollars in my accounts.
My goal for my money isn’t tomorrow or next week, it is to have control in the future. If you truly want to build wealth you have to decide when you will invest.
~ Lance Bandley, former TV journalist turned PR Manager, blogs about smart money, debt elimination, wealth investment and financial independence over at his site, Healthy Wealthy Income.
The major belief I had to overcome to be successful was the false belief that financial advisors know more about investing than I could ever learn. It turns out that most financial advisors are commissioned salesmen in disguise, and reading one good investing book will teach you more about investing than they will ever learn. Sophisticated investing can be ridiculously simple and inexpensive. The onus is really on financial professionals to show their value above and beyond maxing out retirement accounts and investing in low cost target retirement funds. Most not only do not add value to that simple solution, they actually subtract from it.
~ Jim Dahle is a practicing, full-time, board-certified emergency physician just a few years out of residency. He is the author of The White Coat Investor: A Doctor’s Guide To Personal Finance And Investing, and the creator of the blog, The White Coat Investor to help medical students and practitioners improve their financial situations.
I consumed A LOT of financial books and magazines and attended a lot of seminars. Started with Money Magazine more than 20 years ago, moved on to other periodicals including WSJ, Forbes, Fortune, Barrons.
Ultimately, I realized that a simplified investment strategy coupled a few common sense guidelines worked best for me.
~ Jim Brown is the Director of Forensic Accounting at Milberg, LLP and is currently writing his first self-published book, The Investor Mindset.
One major limiting belief I had was thinking that I couldn’t earn more. I’ve always worked in the nonprofit and art sectors, so I thought I’d always be broke. I thought I was destined to be a starving artist, do-gooder. Then I got sick and tired of being broke and realized that I wouldn’t pay my debt off at the pace I wanted if I didn’t make more money. So I started thinking, “How can I make more money?” And I started side hustling. I took on odd jobs, cleaning people’s houses, pet sitting, being a brand ambassador and more. Then, I started freelance writing and editing. Ultimately, I quit my job and am now my own boss. Being my own boss forced me to ask for what I’m worth. I had to face these limiting beliefs head on and get out of my comfort zone. I asked for raises and asked for more. The world didn’t end and I keep pushing myself further. By earning more, I’ve been able to take a year off my goal and get out of debt even sooner.
~ Melanie Lockert, a freelance writer and all-around side hustler, started Dear Debt in January 2013 to keep herself accountable in the debt payoff process, eliminating a total of $81,000 in student loan debt. Her blog is committed to inspiring others to get out of debt for good and take back their lives.
I always thought that the way to get ahead was to go to college, find a good job, work your tail off, and hope that someday I might be able to buy into the business where I worked. That’s the path I was on, and it works for some people. However, it never occurred to me that there could be another way. What I finally came to realize was that I was leaving all of my dreams (and my power to accomplish them) up to somebody else’s decisions. I was letting somebody else dictate my career path and my fate. Everything I ever wanted was there, but nobody was just going to hand it to me. I had to go out and seize it for myself. For Holly and I, the key to becoming self-employed was to get out of debt and learn to control our money as fast as possible. Once we understood this, we poured all of our focus into becoming debt free. Holly was able to quit her 9-5 within a year, and I quit mine about 2 years later. Now, our destiny is in our own hands. We run our online businesses from the comfort of our own home and travel the world whenever we desire. It’s amazing, and it’s all because we learned to manage our money and go after what we want.
~ Greg Johnson and his wife Holly are the creators of Club Thrifty, a personal finance blog that teaches you how to stop spending and start living, so that you can live life on your own terms.
All throughout school, I was taught that debt is a tool for success. I was never taught that it might be sufficient to lead a life with no debt until much later, once I was far away from the “educated” influencers. Today, I have absolutely no debt and I own two houses free and clear (on my way to dozens of future investment properties – bought with cash of course). After living this life, I would highly recommend it to everyone.
~ Derek Sall shares the importance of living below your means and building wealth on his blog, Life and My Finances.
One thing that hindered my success when it came to paying off my debt load was the belief that it was “normal” to carry some sort of debt. People have become so used to having a balance on their credit card, or having a car payment, that it is considered weird to be the one who doesn’t owe any money. That belief was quickly eliminated when I realized that I no longer wanted to spend money that I hadn’t even earned yet. I built a plan and stuck to it, regardless of what my friends and family thought.
~ Alyssa Fischer, the creator of My Mixed Up Money, blogs about her journey to become debt-free and the best ways to save, repay, and keep your life as normal as possible.
The belief that held me back from paying off my student loan debt was a pretty common one: I thought I only needed to make minimum payments. I literally didn’t know anything about personal finance when I left college (I was a music education major!). I also didn’t know that interest accrues on student loans during the 6-month grace period, which ended up costing me several thousand dollars as well.
I wish I could say I was super awesome and figured it out on my own that I needed to make bigger payments, but I honestly can’t. It all kinda clicked for me one day when I was wakeboarding with a family friend. During some casual conversation he asked me what my plan was to pay off my debt. After he found out that I was a stock Millennial and didn’t have one, my friend told me to start making the biggest payments I could and warned me that the debt would keep me from ever becoming wealthy. So…I did it.
Had I not listened to him – I always joke with people that I would be happier. I would have had a nice car, the ballin house, etc. (and tons of debt). Thankfully, I decided to go for long term happiness instead. I put my head down and paid off $40,000 in 1.5 years and haven’t looked back since!
~ Bobby Hoyt, the creator of Millennial Money Man, helps millennials build their wealth by discussing how to live below their means and do things differently to achieve a better quality of life.
I never had an issue with money growing up because my parents instilled a “save first” mindset. However, it wasn’t until after college that I started to understand and achieve financial success. For me, it came down to understanding the importance and value of tenacity.
Showing up, making the right decisions and believing in yourself are all important, but they’re just the price of entry. When it comes to investing, building a career and growing a small business, success isn’t measured in days or months – it’s in many years. Everyone wants to know how to get rich quick, but few want to put in the effort required to make it happen.
The biggest reason for my success is that I rarely quit when things get difficult. I overcame my quitter mentality by always trying to remember the bigger picture when things get difficult. Today might be difficult but in a month from now I probably won’t even remember what was giving me such a hard time. I believe I’m successful because I’m tenacious.
~ Andrew Fiebert helps people straighten out their financial situation and keep their cash under control on his site, Listen Money Matters.
My belief was that someone like me didn’t save money. My parents came from Poland and struggled their whole lives to get by. I figured that this was the path for me. I didn’t think that any options existed. I overcame this by simply setting small goals. For examples, when I first saved up for a trip, I realized that I could save up for bigger purchases. When I was 17, I told a friend that I would buy a condo as an investment property before I ever bought a car. I stuck to my word.
It doesn’t matter where you come from. What’s important is where you’re going. Start from nothing, stop for nothing.
~ Martin Dasko is an entrepreneur, hustler, and professional wrestler. He helps young adults in their 20s get to financial freedom (or have enough beer money for the weekends). You can find him blogging about personal finance, making money, and getting the most out of life on his site, Studenomics.
1. Accepting the status quo
2. Thinking of money as a goal instead of a tool
When I say status quo, I’m talking about the financial behavior most of us accept because that’s what we’re told to do or that’s what everyone else does. We’re told to pay the minimum payment on our student loans, so we consider that part of our monthly bills rather than a lump sum we can pay off sooner. Same with a car loan. Another example of status quo: I once got into $1,000 worth of credit card debt because I figured that was beans compared to most people’s debt.
Then I started thinking beyond the status quo. Instead of asking myself, “What’s acceptable financial behavior for most people?”, I asked, “What could be possible to improve my money situation?” I started thinking of ways to use money to my advantage, and this illuminated the opportunities I had to improve my finances. For example, my mom suggested I move back in with her to supercharge my debt payoff. People like to give Millennials a hard time for moving back in with their parents; they’ll toss around the word “subsidizing.” Call it whatever you want–I did it, and I paid of my student loan in a year.
When you let go of the status quo, you open yourself up to more opportunities. That’s when your money really starts working for you, rather than the other way around.
And this brings me to my second limiting belief: that money is the goal. For a long time, my goal was simply to make a lot of it. That was fine, but it was also directionless. As a result, I penny pinched, but I had no real fire to make or save a lot of money. So I asked myself, “What do I want in life, and how can I use money to get me there?” In answering, I started to think of money as a tool.
For example, I wanted to be a freelance writer and travel the world. Obviously, that seems far-fetched, and people told me as much. They asked me why I was leaving a good job to do something crazy. My answer? I was done chasing money. I just wanted to use it to do what I wanted in life. And a few years later, I’m writing and traveling the world and earning more than I did before. I got lucky, sure, but I also worked hard–a hell of a lot harder than I did when my goal was simply “money.”
Control is key when it comes to managing your financial situation, whether you’re in debt or just feeling stuck. I was surprised at how much I could accomplish when I put myself in a position of control, and letting go of the status quo and using money as a tool made a huge difference.
~ Kristin Wong is a freelance writer who spent years trying to get her finances in order, and now she helps people do just that. She writes and makes videos about saving money, managing it, and making more of it on her blog, Brokepedia.
Up until a couple of years ago I had a view that habits were something that the lazy had. They were a negative thing. To me, a habit was something that a person who was scared of change wore as armour. I figured that person was lazy, happy to just shamble along with the Horde as long as they didn’t have to adapt.
I still think accepting change is good, the ability to adapt is a powerful one. But realizing that habits can be positive, as well as destructive, had a huge impact.
By starting to track my net worth every single week, initiated last summer, I created a positive financial habit. Each Sunday I sit down with a cup of home brewed coffee and update my net worth. This simple habit made me more aware of my finances and led to calculating my savings rate on a monthly basis.
My new heightened finance senses started to tingle and I noticed that myself was a heathen, I myself had negative habits.
Using my new found pool of motivation from net worth updates, I began deconstructing some of my unconscious negative habits. The twice daily coffee. The lunch time cafe stops with friends. The popping out for Sunday brunch.
You see, the new focus on my net worth gave me the motivation to start suplexing and destroying negative spendy habits, which in turn increased my savings rate and so my net worth. This has been my own perpetual motivation device since.
This year I’ve increased my net worth by 50% and hit a savings rate of around 60%…all of that started by creating a single positive habit.
~ Mr. Z writes about his journey towards financial independence over at The Finance Zombie, a personal finance blog with a penchant for heavy metal, zombies and cycling, just the way it should be.
Years ago, I thought that all that living simply entailed was to declutter and buy less stuff. But overtime, I found that to stop waste and clutter from entering our home, we also had to learn to say no! Today, we think twice before accepting something that is handed out to us: flyers, freebies, party favors, business cards, single use plastics (such as plastic bags), and junk mail. Accepting these things not only creates a demand to make more, they are a waste of resources, and once they are brought into our home, they add to the clutter and require effort to dispose of them later. Refusing is the first rule to living a Zero Waste, simple lifestyle. Give it a try, you’ll be amazed how much stuff you’ll be able to stop from coming in.
Scarcity and Abundance
Overcoming my scarcity complex was probably the hardest, yet most beneficial thing I’ve ever done for my money mentality. It’s easy to live in fear and always worry that there isn’t “enough”— money, time or success. Working through that belief and consciously working towards an abundance mindset has changed everything. I now believe that there is enough for all of us, myself included.
~ Taylor Milam writes about earning personal freedom through personal finances on The Freedom From Money, a personal finance blog with a focus on wealth creation and frugal living.
I guess my financial goal would be becoming self-employed in hopes of achieving convergence. According to author Chris Guillebeau, convergence is when “we have good relationships with family and close friends, we’re excited about work, we’re in good health, we do more or less what we want to every day, and we know we’re making a difference in the world. In short, we find ourselves full of gratitude and regularly challenged in an active, abundant life.”
A couple major limiting beliefs have hindered my success.
I thought a college degree would be my “golden ticket” to a better life. It took me 8 years of going to school on and off to finally get a Bachelor’s in Finance. I already had experience in the industry, so I thought this would be the final piece that would land me a much better paying job. After a couple of exhausting months of interviews and rejections, I realized it wasn’t.
Another belief was that I thought I needed to invest lots of money to get started. You know…hosting, advertising, etc. but that hasn’t been the case. In fact, it was just an excuse to not even get started. I’ve only spent $15 on a web domain so far so that just goes to show that you don’t need to spend a ton of money to get your ideas/product out to the world.
Lastly, I thought I didn’t have any time to create something meaningful. It’s not that I didn’t have the time, it’s just that my priorities were all messed up. Sure, my team was winning games in Fifa ’16, but I wasn’t doing anything meaningful to get me any closer to my goal.
I had more than enough time; I just had to spend it more wisely. It’s just a choice that you have to make if you’re serious about your goals. All I had to was put in the time and effort into more meaningful things than video games.
So there you have it. A degree doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll achieve your financial goals.
You also don’t have to have lots money or time to get started; you just have to prioritize your time better and actually get to work.
~ Marc Paetzold writes about getting out of debt, making a living and leading a fulfilled life on his blog, The Self Employed Movement.
The major limiting belief I had around money was “resenting wealth.” Growing up I had divorced parents, one of which had money, but the one I lived with didn’t. I was sent to a school with very wealthy kids, while I was living with much less. Money became a huge focus, and a persistent “poor us” attitude filled my home. In my mind, money was equated with being bad, and being poor was equated with being noble. As I became an adult, I had become so “noble” that I was homeless, living on the streets. I remember resenting people that drove nice cars, or had any success at all. Yet, if I was honest, I wanted success too. I deeply wanted to become wealthy myself.
Eventually I was able to see that my identity wasn’t going to allow me to become something I resented. I had to shift this money belief, and I decided to shift my thinking. I started to appreciate other people’s success as often as I could. Say I saw someone with a nice car, I would notice the trigger of jealousy or resentment, let it go, and then try to connect to being genuinely happy for them. Later, I started to go out of my way to let them know that I liked the car, or whatever success I noticed they were having. Almost immediately my money situation started to change.
Through this shift I removed the limit of “money being bad,” and instead have created a healthy love affair with money and value. I’ve been able to create a huge amount of success and happiness since this shift.
~ Rob Scott is a transformational coach who helps people shift and dramatically breakthrough their limiting beliefs to achieve the results they want in their lives.
One belief that majorly limited my financial goals years ago is that it’s “normal” to have debt, to retire after age 65, to only save 5% of your income and so on. Back then, I thought I was on track if I followed the “average” path that everyone else seems to take. However, I now know that I don’t want to be average. I started reading financial blogs and realizing that there are some really amazing people out there who are able to retire early, pay off debt quickly, and so on. I truly believe that reading financial blogs is what helped me to pay off my $40,000 student loan debt after just 7 months of trying, start my business, and so on.
~ Michelle Schroeder blogs about a variety of personal finance topics, such as basic financial literacy, budgeting, saving and earning extra money on her site, Making Sense of Cents.
The one major limiting belief I’ve overcome is thinking outside of the box when it comes to my life and my future. Growing up, we’re taught to do well in school, go to college, get a job, work for years, then retire. That was the “track” and your biggest chances of success involve following this track. The reality is that life isn’t that simple and there isn’t one track. It’s not a treasure map with dotted lines and an X at the end, it’s more like a journal where you chart your own path.
I was able to overcome it because I started a side business, while working full time in the defense industry writing software, and that side business flourished. I was able to quit my job, deviate from the “track” and begin to do things based on my own rather than what I thought I was supposed to do. It all started because I tested a little project on the side, just for fun and outside the norm, kind of like my own little “give an inch, take a mile” but in life.
~ Jim Wang is a thirty-something father of two who has been featured in the New York Times, Baltimore Sun, Entrepreneur, and Marketplace Money. On his site, Wallet Hacks, he shows you the philosophies, strategies and methods he used to become financially independent and free to pursue what was important.
I was told and bought off on the lie that car payments were always going to be a way of life. You would get a new car, pay a car payment for 5 years, and as soon as you paid it off it would be time to go out and buy another car again. After all, this is what people do every all the time. This is normal.
However, once I realized that new cars lose 60% – 70% of their value in the first 4 years, I started thinking, “What if I did something a little different?” Instead of buying a new car, why don’t I just buy a 4 year old car at a 60% – 70% discount? So, we tried it out and were able to pay cash for an even older car – 12 years old! However, it didn’t stop there. We decided to keep making our $480 car payment to ourselves each month. The result? Well, you guessed it – every 10 months we had another $4,880. Our car was doing just fine and we then thought, “What if we invested our car payment into a mutual fund instead of just a savings account?” So that’s exactly what we did. We created a 5 year rule; meaning we can’t pull the money out for 5 years since it’s in an investment. We continue to make a $480 monthly payment to it, and 4 years later its worth just over $29k. The crazy thing is, we have only put in $23k, the rest was the interest.
So, we decided to become the bank instead of paying the bank our money. So the guy that once told me car payments were a way of life. Yeah, he’s an idiot.
~ Chris Peach is sharing ideas and creating products for people who are looking for a better way to handle their money. On his site, Money Peach, he loves showing everyday-normal people how to go from living paycheck-to-paycheck, to getting completely out of debt and creating hope for their future.
I’ve never had to worry about my pursuit of financial independence being hindered by my beliefs because I’ve always been a strong advocate of personal responsibility. A big part of being personally responsible includes striving to be financially self-sufficient and beholden to nobody; as such, we understand better than most people that debt is a form of indentured servitude that forces us to sacrifice our future earnings in exchange for instant gratification — so keeping our debt to a minimum is essentially second nature to us!
~ Len Penzo blogs about being personally responsible — not only for our personal finances, but also for everything else we do in life. His blog was also selected as one of Kiplinger’s Personal Finance Best Money Blogs in 2010, and then honored again in 2012.
I didn’t even know what “financial independence” was until a few years ago, so to me that’s the first step in figuring it all out! Once you know that, and see others doing it, I feel like there isn’t really a hindrance other than time and how badly you want it at the end of the day.
The one limiting belief I had about reaching financial independence was not feeling like I deserved to be financially free. As soon as I started asking myself, “Why not me too?”, wealth began flooding in. There’s so much money out there for the taking. It’s up to everyone to get what they deserve!
~ Sam Dogen is the creator Financial Samurai, which delves deeper into investing, real estate, retirement planning, career strategies, money philosophy, and more, so we can all achieve financial independence sooner, rather than later.
I think the major limiting belief that used to hinder my pursuit of financial independence was always thinking of my income or earning potential in the context of hours worked. For a long time, I thought the only way to get paid was to work a set number of hours (usually the traditional 40 hours per week), and so I focused entirely on increasing the price I could charge per hour. Not a bad strategy on the whole, but it took so much skill development and effort to increase my income this way. My undergraduate degree brought me from say, $15/hr to $30 an hour, and then my MBA in Finance could command a salary of $40/hr, but I was still being paid to show up at an office and sit in a desk for 8 hours per day.
Then it occurred to me that money didn’t have to be tied to my time at all, I could be paid for skills and knowledge instead. Now I prefer to build up income sources through products, like eCourses, which might take some time to create initially, but can create an indefinite income stream forever thereafter — without any additional work. I can do a 1 hour speaking engagement and charge the same amount of money I used to earn in a whole week as an employee. People don’t pay me for my time any more, they pay me for my skills, knowledge, and abilities. All that matters is I deliver the final product or service, it doesn’t matter if it takes me a few hours (or none at all) to do so.
Once I divorced my income from my time, I wasn’t limited by time anymore. There are only 24 hours in a day, and when you’re working for an hourly wage, you can probably earn money only 8 or 10 hours of that day. Maybe 12 if you really like overtime. I can earn money 24 hours a day now, because I am not paid for my time. Financial independence is easier when it’s being earned 24 hours per day rather than just 8 or 10.
~ Bridget Eastgaard is the creator of Money After Graduation, your guide to making, saving, and spending money in your 20’s for a healthy, wealthy, and happy life. She also offers courses to help you crush your debt and grow your wealth through stock market investing.
Skepticism made me put off trying the very thing that finally set me free. So keep an open mind, and learn as much as you can from those who have already achieved the goal you want to achieve for yourself.
~ Avery Breyer is the multiple best-selling author of the Smart Money Blueprint Series. Avery has been featured on live radio, WOR 710 “The Voice of New York,” on The Financial Quarterback which is hosted by 5-Star Wealth Manager Josh Jalinski.
Travis and Amanda
(1) assuming retirement is only possible later in life,
(2) one needs a lot of money to live a comfortable life in retirement,
(3) managing one’s own finances is too complicated to do without professional guidance.
Luckily, over time with help from friendly people on the internet, we were able to correct all three of these misconceptions!
First, it turns out that financial independence and early retirement are not exclusive to those aged 50+. It is possible for anyone to live modestly, calculate how much money they need to live on each year, and then proceed to build up an investment portfolio to live off of. For us, we calculated our required savings to be $1 million and we’ll be living on 3-4% of this annually ($30,000-$40,000).
Second, after poking our heads out of the San Francisco Bay Area bubble, it’s easy to see that the cost of living outside the most expensive areas in the US is actually very reasonable. Finally, with some online research it was relatively straightforward to put our savings into low-cost Vanguard index funds for a diversified and balanced portfolio! More details on our portfolio and how we saved up can be found here.
~ Travis and Amanda are a young couple in their early thirties, saved $1,000,000, quit their jobs, and began their journey of financial independence. Follow along at Freedom With Bruno.
When I started on the early retirement journey, there were a lot of things I had to figure out: How much money would I need? How much longer would I have to work? How much was I currently spending? All of those questions had easy answers though in basic math.
By far, the hardest part for was wrapping my mind around the idea that it’s OK to quit working decades earlier than most. Before I stumbled on Mr. Money Mustache, I had never heard of a person quitting before they were in their 60s. Even folks who have amassed great wealth often continue to work. The concept is incredibly foreign.
What I eventually realized was that I started on my journey for the wrong reason. I had a really bad day at work and didn’t think I could tolerate my job for three more decades. Not wanting to work isn’t a good reason to pursue early retirement. I was running away from something bad instead of pursuing something good.
I finally felt comfortable with early retirement when I realized that I could have a much richer, more fulfilling life without the demands of working full time. Being able to spend more time with the children, pursuing projects that have been on the back-burner for years, read, and keep my body and mind in better shape are just a subset of the activities I look forward to pursuing once I no longer work full time.
~ Mr. 1500 encourages and inspires others to abandon their consumer, spendaholic ways in favor of a more fulfilling existence. His goal is to build a debt-free portfolio of $1,000,000 through aggressive saving, smart lifestyle choices and investing by February of 2017, 1500 days from the birth of his blog. Learn how to do the same at 1500 Days to Freedom.
When your peers are living the paycheck-to-paycheck lifestyle and society has told you that 65 is the age when everyone retires, it’s easy to doubt your plan to retire in your 30s.
Even though I was confident in my calculations and I could see that my spending habits were completely different from the people around me, it was hard not to get sucked into mainstream thinking.
To overcome this, I began interacting more with people who already retired early. I started a podcast so that I could interview people who already achieved early financial independence, like Mr. Money Mustache and J.D. Roth, and talking with them showed me that it was definitely possible.
The more I surrounded myself with people doing what I was doing, the more my plan started to seem normal and the more “normal people” started to look crazy!
Once I figured out that early retirement was possible and I learned what I needed to do to achieve financial independence, it became a waiting game. I knew the journey to early retirement was a multi-year and possibly multi-decade trek, so I got used to working toward a far off financial goal that wouldn’t have an immediate benefit. Over time as I accumulated more and more wealth and got closer to my early retirement financial goals, I began to appreciate the freedom that comes from having some wealth, even if it’s not yet enough to fund a full early retirement. Unexpected bills and sudden money emergencies don’t seem so bad when you have $100,000 or more in liquid investments for example.
~ Through careful saving and planning, Justin McCurry managed to accumulate enough wealth to become financially independent by age 33. He shares his financial wisdom on his blog, Root of Good, discussing how to make more money, keep more of your hard earned money, and invest your money so that it works for you over time.
I believed in society’s approved path through life – meaning, go to college and graduate with a degree, find a job, find a wife, have kids, spend money and retire in my 60s to enjoy the remaining years the best I can with whatever I was able to save during the course of my working years. And I started off my life after college with that in mind, and promptly bought a sports car, a house in the suburbs, went out to eat a ton and only saved the bare minimum. I was a wreck with a big smile on my face. I was living what I thought was the dream. The American Dream.
After reading some incredible personal finance stories online, I began to question how happy all of my “stuff” was truly making me. Eventually, that turned into me actively getting rid of stuff I had accumulated, and I found that my happiness level wasn’t decreasing. In fact, it was on the rise! The less stuff that I possessed the happier and simpler my life became. The transition was amazing. Downsizing was addicting.
I overcame my belief in conventional wisdom by striving for something very, very different. Through my research, I discovered just how possible early retirement is for so many of us, and that became my guiding light. Coupled with my new lifestyle that prioritized saving rather than spending, I slowly climbed out of my previous spendthrift life and entered the world of wealth accumulation. Watching my wealth build is so much more fun than spending money on stuff that’ll probably wind up in the back of my closet one day anyway. Now, I am about a year away from retirement at the ripe old age of 34.
And the rest, as they say, is history.
~ Steve Adcock plans to retire by 2016, sell most of his possessions and travel the country with his wife in an Airstream RV on a yearly budget of $30,000. He shares his financial journey and gained knowledge on his site, ThinkSaveRetire.
Now It’s Your Turn!
If you made it this far, I would like to thank you for taking the time to read this expert roundup article! I hope you found some valuable and useful tips that you can start implementing immediately.
Again, if you’re one of the featured experts above, thank you so much for your fantastic contributions!
If you can take one or two of all the amazing tips from this post and then take some massive action, what would it be? Share in the comments please!
Also, if you have overcome a limiting belief and, as a result, you achieved greater financial success, I would love if you can share your best tips in the comments section below and continue the conversation there.
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Thank you so much, you’re all awesome and be sure to go out there and do something great. Until next time, keep crushing it!