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The 9 Reasons You Are Still Broke

Posted: 06/11/2012 1:02 pm

You might remember a story that came out last year in The Huffington Post around Christmas called "The Real Reason You're Single."

Although much of the advice in the column was controversial or at least unpleasant to read, the thesis came down to this: You can't blame everything on the world, your circumstances or other people.

In a similar but different vein, today's LearnVest Daily is dedicated to all the excuses we've ever made for why our finances aren't everything we've dreamed:

  • Our jobs just don't pay enough
  • Our friends are bad spending influences
  • We're too deep in debt to ever get out


In response to those, we bring you nine reasons you're broke... when you shouldn't be.

1. You Put Your Entire Paycheck in Your Checking Account
Of course, you should have a checking account, but depositing all your income straight to checking sets you up to overspend and sideline your savings goals. After all, the money is right there, ripe for the spending, and socking cash away for the future requires transferring it separately to your savings account.


A better solution? Set up automatic deposits straight from your paycheck into your various savings accounts. It's called paying yourself first, and it's much harder to miss money you've never seen in the first place.


2. You Spend on Stupid Stuff
Although we're a financial website, we actually think you should spend money... on the things that will actually make a difference in your life. Spending on a meaningful vacation or a clothing item that will revolutionize your wardrobe? Totally worthwhile. Spending extra on things like your electricity bill or your medicine cabinet? Totally stupid.


3. You're Reliving Your Childhood
Whether you admire your parents or swear you'll never turn out like them, you might be more like them than you think. We get a ton of our beliefs about money from those who raised us. But don't let your family get in your head -- or impact your bank balance.


4. You Don't Have Any Goals
You're much likelier to save if you have something to save for, especially if it's something important to you. Get some emotions on the line by thinking of specific reasons you're working so hard at your finances. Are you trying to save up for a house someday? A family? A new car? A much-needed vacation?


5. You're Gullible
Okay, that's a little harsh: It's not all on you. Stores employ a ton of tricks to try to seduce us into buying more than we intended. So if you're not savvy to their ploys, there's a good chance you've fallen into at least a few of their traps.


6. You're Scared of Your Own Power
Your power to grow your money, that is. Investing may sound like an intimidating thing meant only for financial gurus, but you're missing out if you're too chicken to jump in. If you invested, 40 years could turn $1,000 into almost $22,000. (We calculated that here.) Meanwhile, that same $1,000 would leave you with only a little over $2,000 after 40 years if you put it in a savings account with 2% interest! (Calculated here.)


7. You're Paying Your Debts Wrong
Even if you're responsibly paying off your debts, you could be keeping yourself down if you're paying them in the wrong order.


Don't divide your payments equally among all debts, like credit card debt or your student loans. Those with the highest interest rates grow fastest, so focus on the most toxic debts first. How do you know which those are? We created a whole model for you to spell it out. Check it out here.


8. You Don't Value Yourself Enough
This hiring manager told us, "Women simply accept, while the men negotiate. I would have essentially the same candidate, the only difference being gender, and I was paying her $20,000 less."


9. You're a Defeatist
We know how it goes: It starts with a small spending gaffe. But then you figure you're off the wagon, anyway, so you let yourself keep buying more, and, before you know it, you're in the depths of a bad spending spiral.


More From LearnVest

The Surprising Costs of Being a Woman

Why Shoppers Hate Honest Prices

Break all your financial bad habits with the Take Control Bootcamp


LearnVest is the leading personal finance site for women. Need help managing your money? Our freeMoney Center will help you create a budget. Our free bootcamps will help you take control of your money, cut your costs or get out of debt. And our premium financial plans--managed by LearnVest Certified Financial Planners--can help you chart a course for the future you want.

 

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