Many people believe that financial success is reserved for an exclusive club of talented visionaries for whom the planets have aligned. The biggest obstacle to becoming rich, however, is not your lack of talent or luck. It is because you are too easily influenced by external factors.
We like to think we control our destiny. The Invictus poem commonly quoted by Nelson Mandela: “I am the master of my fate, I am the captain of my soul” is not true for 99% of people. It only applies to a small minority. The majority of our decisions are based on how we have been hardwired and influenced. You need to understand these influencing factors and work against them.
Here are FIVE factors that are preventing you from being financially free.
Factor 1: Your Childhood
The average person, by the time they reach the age of 18, has spent 25,000 hours in the company of his/her parents. Parents have left an indelible influence on your life and probably have shaped your views on money. They were either very anxious and frugal, or extravagant and reckless, or they could never make ends meet. Regardless of how they spent it, your parents most definitely never spoke about it or educated you on it. Financial issues rank high on the list of conflict areas between couples. It is unlikely that you were able to navigate childhood without a negative view of money.
Solution: You need to flip this negative money association. Unfortunately, this doesn’t take days weeks, or months. It takes years because this negative belief has been tattooed onto your subconscious. You need to stop working for money and start making money work for you. You need to stop being a net spender and become a net investor.
Factor 2: The Jones’s
Keeping up with the Joneses is a powerful sociological force. This pressure to keep up with your friends, relatives, neighbors, and colleagues forces you into irrational money decisions.
Solution: Stop being so self-conscious and concerned about what other people think. The truth is that they don’t really care about you. The Jones’s are too busy with their own internal struggles and battles to be worried about what car you drive, the watch you wear, and where you are going on vacation.
Factor 3: Society
Society is tyrannical and judgmental. It tells you that you are inadequate. One of the results of throwing yourself into society is that you are vulnerable.
Solution: There are three ways you can react to this. Firstly, you can accept society’s judgment and live the life of a defeated victim. Secondly, you can try and dedicate your life to the pursuit of impossible excellence. Thirdly, you can convince yourself you are good enough. That third option is all you need to become financially free. Financial freedom is not achieved through being exceptional – it is through simple discipline that anyone can master – spend less than you make and invest the difference starting from the earliest age possible.
Factor 4: Social Media
The more time you spend on social media, the more you are being manipulated by algos that "tell" you what to buy and what to believe. Google and Facebook are not doing the manipulation – they are getting you addicted to their platforms. The manipulators are the corporations that use these platforms to sell you their stuff. This is different from traditional advertising – TV, billboards, and magazines. The algos are observing you, tracking what you do, see and watch, and then looking for ways to change your behaviour. They are pushing you to buy that new pair of shoes, to take that expensive vacation to the Maldives. Combine this blatant propaganda with Instagramers displaying how “perfect “ their lives are in these fancy shoes and exotic destinations, and you quickly believe that you “need” these things in your life. You whip out your credit card, make the purchase and then spend the next 12 months digging yourself out of debt when you should be investing and growing your wealth.
Solution: The solution is simple, but hard at the same time. You need to cut back on the time you spend on social media.
Factor 5: The Financial Industry
The financial industry does not want you to be free. Just like the medical establishment wants to keep you ill and coming back for treatment, the financial system wants you to consume like an imbecile. Through marketing and advertising, it sells you an almost unattainable lifestyle that if you reach, you simply become another one of greed`s whore. It is never enough. Banks want to keep you ignorant and coming back to buy their products. They say they want to educate you but nothing could be further from the truth. They want to sell you their rancid products with a new shiny wrap. They want to skrew you again and again, and you get to smile while they`re doing it.
Solution: You need to educate yourself financially and take control of your future. You need to learn about the stock market, and index funds, and invest directly at the lowest cost. If you invest through a financial advisor, they charge you too much and leave you taking all the risk. This is an abusive relationship.