Enjoying a financially healthy life requires all kinds of different considerations, and includes a wide variety of different components and factors.
Of course, you’ve got to develop your financial literacy, and understand how things like investment really work. Then, you need to take advantage of that knowledge and maximize your investments. And, throughout it all, you need to develop the skill of maintaining a budget, tracking your expenses, and being attentive to just where your money is actually going.
As a matter of fact, though, there are all sorts of things that can undermine your financial security, and that can put you in a situation where circumstances seem completely out of control. What’s more, many of these mishaps are driven by financial illusions of one type or another.
So, if you’re considering a short-term business loan, or are racking your brains trying to figure out why you never meet your savings targets, here are a few financial illusions to dispel before taking any further steps.
You probably don’t need a suite of digital tools and programs for organizing your life
The nature of the world today is that everything is becoming increasingly digitized, and there is now a wide variety of digital tools and services available for helping you to manage essentially every dimension of your life.
In light of this – and considering the effective advertising that many of these services employ – you could be forgiven for thinking that you need a whole suite of digital tools and programs for organizing your life, and keeping things on track, in today’s rapid-paced and busy age.
Of course, the vast majority of the digital tools and programs out there now run on a subscription-based model, which involves you having to make recurring payments in order to access those services. Additionally, those tools are increasingly web-based, with your data stored in the cloud rather than locally.
Some of the consequences of this are that the more of these digital tools and programs you employ, the more money you will routinely be spending on a monthly (or annual) basis. What’s more, the way these tools are set up, you’ll often be funneled into an ecosystem that involves integrating these different components, and will therefore constantly be at risk of accumulating more subscriptions.
The simple truth is: you probably don’t need a suite of digital tools and programs for organizing your life. For many of these tools and programs – even the slickest ones – most of the same benefit can be obtained relatively easily using a spreadsheet on your computer, or a traditional paper notebook and pen.
You can certainly track your to-do lists, your calendar, and your budget in less high-tech ways.
Some of the benefits of using these kinds of “low-tech” systems include the fact that you are completely in control of your information, you don’t become dependent on another company, and you don’t have to pay regular subscription fees.
Don’t fall into the cycle of always wanting to get the “newest and best” of everything
Have you noticed how whenever a new smartphone is released by a major manufacturer, its shelf life is only really a couple of years at best before the next version comes out?
There’s a certain illusion that would have you believe that always getting the “newest and best” of everything is essential in order to stay on top professionally and socially, to be as productive as possible, and to have the highest quality-of-life.
In reality, though, the core functionality of these products rarely changes in a very deep or meaningful way, and it’s entirely possible to sidestep the consumer trap of always looking for upgrades. In fact, if you aren’t constantly being lured into making these kinds of purchases, you’ll likely benefit significantly; both in terms of your sense of well-being, and in terms of your financial health.
Be very cautious and selective about any coaching and mentoring programs
There are, of course, coaching and mentoring programs out there that are well run, and that can give you a great introduction to something. But it’s just as true that many coaching and mentoring programs are essentially a waste of your money.
For entrepreneurs, in particular, it often makes sense to seek out expert coaching if you want to establish your own business, develop your competency in a particular area, or glean some new insights that you might otherwise have missed.
Be very cautious and selective about any coaching and mentoring programs you do sign up to, however. As a general of thumb, the more narrowly focused they are the better. For example, if they will teach you something directly practical like how to use a particular programming language, then they are more likely to be genuinely useful.
Coaching and mentoring programs that are more vaguely-defined, however, such as “how to succeed at business” courses will often be exorbitantly expensive while not teaching you much of anything that you couldn’t have learned on your own by reading a couple of good books.
Be aware that many products and systems are actively trying to manipulate you and to get you hooked
As the writer Adam Alter notes in his book “Irresistible,” there are all sorts of different products, companies, and systems out there that are actively trying to manipulate you and get you “hooked.”
This is perhaps most blatantly the case with social media, where many practices have been adapted directly from the gambling industry. But, it’s true of a wide range of different domains, as well.
Always do your best remain attentive, and to notice when a product or service seems to be structured in such a way as to actively manipulate your psychology and get you hooked. Video games, for example, can be a massive time and money sink while delivering no return on investment at all. A big part of the reason they work as they do work is by knowing the right way to press people’s psychological buttons.
Suffice to say, if you avoid spending money in these sorts of ways, and falling into these sorts of funnels, you’ll be much better off financially and in all others senses, too.