What’s keeping you from buying income-producing assets and investing as much as you can save? I have looked at my own journey and developed this list of three fears that I believe hold all of us back from pursuing wealth-building opportunities that will free us from the rat race, give us greater security so that we are not depending 100% upon an employer for our income, and present us with life options that are only available if we have the money to be self-supportive.
Fear of Getting Started
Do you believe you have to know everything about saving and investing before you starting saving up to buy assets? Are you crippled with making that first move of opening any type of investment account because you’re not sure yet what you are doing? Meryl Streep says her husband tells her, “Keep going. Start by Starting.”
You don’t have to know much of anything in order to get started. What you do need to know is that you understand it is important to take control of your finances and that only you are responsible for your future, your stability and your well-being. Open a savings account, a money-market account, an index fund, or an IRA. Join your employer’s retirement plan. But take a first step, then commit to figure things out along the way.
Fear of Making Mistakes
It is inevitable that in life (and in wealth-building efforts) we will make mistakes. We may not invest at the right thing at the right time, or we may miss out on a tax-saving account because we didn’t read up on all the material our employer gave us years ago. We might smack ourselves in the future because we wasted money on consumer purchases we really didn’t want or need, but bought anyway.
The fear is real, but it should not be so powerful that you use it as an excuse to do nothing. Once you get started, then start reading books, websites and blogs about saving and investing. You don’t need to dive into the stock market at first — and shouldn’t because you don’t know enough to buy individual stocks. If you want stocks, start with an index fund. But make sure you become a student of personal finance and learn all of your options. After you get educated, you’ll be able to make decisions for yourself, not based on the newest and hottest info from the radio talk show host.
Accept that in life, you will also make mistakes. The important part is realizing you will also learn from them and move on.
Fear of What Others Might Think
The perception of our peers and family members can be pretty strong when it comes to money, investing and retiring. Many people on the path to early retirement forego immediate gratification that consumerism offers in order to amass vast sums of money as quickly as possible.
However, many of us avoid letting friends, co-workers and family members in on our plan. Why? If you don’t want to get discouraged, you will likely need to keep this plan to yourself. The majority of adults feel that they “earned” that new car (and car payments) or that they “need” the new big screen TV (“it was on sale!”) or it is too much work to get the washing machine repaired as an excuse for buying a new/bigger/better model.
The majority of American’s live paycheck to paycheck. One study pointed out that a significant majority had only 9 days of funds to live on if their paychecks stopped. Ouch. When we are surrounded by a majority that holds a completely different mindset, we are bound to be subjected to their criticisms and ridicule. So do your thing and keep it to yourself. But you will sleep well. I promise.
p.s. Check out the new NDQ Guide: 500 Tips the guide that will give you actionable steps to jump start your savings and investing immediately.
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