“A habit cannot be tossed out the window; it must be coaxed down the stairs a step at a time.” -Mark Twain
Habit: A settled or regular tendency or practice, especially one that is hard to give up.
You’ve probably heard this a million times; your habits are essential to your success in life. You need to cultivate acceptable practices to ensure that your growth is constant and deliberate. I have a theory that change is an unending journey and the quality of your positive habits are the vehicles through which you can ensure continuous growth.
The growth of every aspect of your life is a product of your habits. And this includes your financial life. How well do you understand your numbers? Do you often find money disappearing from your reach without a proper understanding of how they do? Want to know what invisible holes suck up your money?
For every facet of our existence, there are complimentary habits to enhance growth. There are habits you can imbibe to enhance the growth of your spiritual life, emotional life, and many more.
And in the same vein, there are also, what I like to call “habits of the poor”. Well, you are reading the right article. Here, we will look at some of the habits of the poor and know if they keep you down from enjoying a freer financial life.
Poverty does not only mean having to resort to the streets, homeless, and becoming a beggar. A person is considered flawed if they lack the financial resources to meet a minimum standard of living.
In some countries, the government has a role in impoverishing its citizens’ lives, but your responsibility is yours alone. It should not be delegated to any parent, guardian, organization, or government.
If you are in a country that impoverishes its subjects, that does not mean you should be poor and remain poor because there would also be rich people in your country. Some people were not fortunate enough to be born into wealthy families but fought their way into wealth by understanding the power of quality financial habits.
If you resonate with those set of people, then you might have to pay attention to these points. There are some habits that rich people have cultivated over time that help them maintain their wealth, and they keep getting more prosperous, and there are habits that the poor also have developed, and it keeps them poor.
These habits of the poor clearly distinguish them from the rich, and you may not consider yourself inferior, but if while going through these habits of the poor, you find out that it is a habit of yours, you may soon end up poor as these are the major habits of the poor.
1. Bad Spending Habits
A poor person has terrible spending habits. According to a study by Thomas C Corley, the rich made a habit of tracking their spending in the early days of building their wealth, but the poor did not.
Ninety-three percent of the poor admitted that they did not budget their spending, sixty-three percent admitted that they were not frugal with their money.
Seventy-seven percent had multiple credit cards, and sixty-nine percent used those credit cards to purchase big-ticket items.
Conversely, ninety-two percent of the rich relied on only one credit card. This study by Thomas Coley shows that the poor’s bad spending habits are making spontaneous purchases that have not been previously planned for, spending without a budget, not being able to track their expenses, running into too many debts using credit cards.
The poor do not know where all their money goes. They just mindlessly spend and sometimes even spend more than their income.
You may not even spend recklessly, but when you do not track your expenses, you will subconsciously develop a habit of spending that is unhealthy, and these are habits of the poor. The poor let their money control them instead of the other way around. These are poor money habits of the poor.
2. Inability To Save And Invest
Poor people also have a job or business and earn money as the rich people do, but the poor have not investment or savings to fall back on in times of need.
The poor live from hand-to-mouth. When the income rolls in, there are giants of bills and debts already waiting to swallow it all up.
The poor believe that they earn so little, and savings or investments become like a burden. But the rich believe that no matter how small you make; savings and investments are a top priority.
Even when the poor save, he saves with the mentality of spending it later, which is a very wrong reason to save. It is how much you can keep your money and make it multiply that makes you rich, and this is what the poor do not understand or has failed to implement.
Building wealth takes time and does not happen overnight. It is your savings and investments that compound and turns you into a wealthy person.
If you cannot cultivate the habit of taking some money out of your periodical earnings and put them in savings or investments, you will keep working so hard and having nothing to show for it.
3. Inability To Identify And Maximize Opportunities
One of the habits of the poor is that they wait to get lucky. They do not look for opportunities to take leverage on and begin to build wealth. The poor sit around waiting and expecting a financial miracle.
Among all the poor habits, this is the most subtle one, and many people do not notice. The world is evolving day, and rich people take advantage of every opportunity to advance their wealth. The poor cannot turn talents, knowledge, hobbies, information into a channel of generating revenue.
If you can develop brilliant ideas and implement them correctly, nothing can stop you from becoming wealthy. The poor’s habit is that they do not bother to generate money-making ideas, but rather they sit around hoping and wishing.
You can create wealth for yourself by converting intangible assets like your talents or ideas into products or services that would bring value to people, and they would pay for.
The rich are continually thinking of what problems people have and how solving such problems would generate income for them. This is something a poor man lacks and why the rich keeps getting richer.
Poverty is not only the financial or monetary ideas; it is the bankruptcy of ideas. A rich man who lacks ideas may soon become poor.
The poor prefer to exert more physical energy than mental energy. Even if you do not have money, you would have talents and passion, and you should have ideas that can convert these passions to money-spinners.
4. They Avoid Discomfort Or Risks
A habit of the poor is that they will do almost anything to avoid problems. People with a poor mindset see challenges and cower. They are only driven by fear and low self-esteem. Rich people have the mentality of “it’ll work because I can make it work.”
While the poor’s mindset is filled with so many what-ifs. Life is not a bed of roses, and you will not always get what you want or have things go smoothly. There will be times you would have to make a significant decision that might be the beginning of your financial breakthrough, and if you are too afraid to take on the challenge, you will remain stuck.
Life does not give you what you desire but what you demand. This is what a poor person does not know. A rich man knows what he wants and goes for it even though there might be a risk involved.
They are fully committed to creating and expanding wealth. They are unwavering in their desire and will do anything and whatever it takes to acquire wealth as long as it’s legal, moral, and ethical.
“If you shoot for the stars, you will at least hit the moon.” Poor people don’t even shoot for the rooftop in their house and wonder why they remain poor.
Rich people play the game to win, but the poor play not to lose. They are in constant fear of disappointment or failure. If you never move, you will never make any progress.
The poor’s habit makes them only focus on obstacles and the risks involved, and they fail to take the bull by the horn and figure out what to do if the bull seems too challenging to control.
5. They Always Play the Blame Game
A frequent habit of the poor is that they are not good at accepting responsibility for their financial status or situation. Instead, they blame other people, other circumstances, their boss, their spouse, their environment and lack of opportunities, the government, anything but themselves.
They give all sorts of reasons for their plight and prefer to wallow in self-pity that rises up to the occasion and gets to work.
The poor’s habit is saying things like; If I had wealthy parents, If my boss wasn’t so mean, If I went to a better school, If I was born in a different country, etc. The poor see themselves as victims and adopt the habit of self-denial.
Instead of seeking ways to create opportunities for themselves despite their situation, they remain in their comfort zone and keep blaming other people or circumstances for their plight.
When they keep playing the blame game, the resultant effect is that they remain in their comfort zone and they refuse to take responsibility.
Sometimes, they even get angry at the rich and feel unlucky. As if God set aside some people to be rich and some to be poor.
Stop justifying your poverty and do something about it instead or you’ll just keep transferring blames and remain in the same impoverished situation.
If you find yourself guilty of any of these poor habits, you must be honest with yourself and be ready to make changes where necessary. Here are practical ways you can drop those habits of the poor and begin your journey to wealth.
- Create a sustainable budget.
- Track your expenses
- Build up savings and investment plan. People usually measure financial success by how much a person spends, which leads many people to mindlessly spend without a viable plan for the future. Building wealth is much more about how much you can put aside than spend.
- Take Risks
- Associate with the rich
- Avoid get-rich-quick schemes. Financial success takes time and requires relentless efforts. You cannot build wealth on gambling.
- Read books and watch videos on financial literacy.
- Stick to your budget and avoid overspending or impulse purchases.
- Think about what problems people have, the solutions to these problems, and how you can use the answer to their difficulties to generate income for yourself.
These five habits are habits of the poor and should be stopped if you ever find yourself doing them. If you are on a journey to finding wealth, these little things matter, and if you do not take advantage of them, you will only have yourself to blame at the end of the day.
Your financial greatness is solely in your hands, how well can you organize yourself to handle money? Do you still haggle with these habits? Are you willing to put in the effort to stop these poor habits?
Do you think some habits are missing from the list? Feel free to let me know n the comment section and I will be willing to have a conversation with you.
As a way of guiding you, the AFAM UCHE team has put together two books that can help you become a better person financially: The AfamUche Self-development Journal (Here: The Life Compass Workbook) and Planner (Here: Goal Chaser).
With these books, you will be able to follow through with your decision to expunge these habits and inculcate new ones. It is very important that you take advantage of these books and of course if you have questions, or observations, do well to let us know via email or through the comment section.
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