Our society is plagued with the misunderstanding that the acquisition of something more or better will impart happiness or a sense of success. Do you ever tell yourself the following:
  • I’ll be happy when I’m retired.
  • I’ll be happy when I pay off my house.
  • I’ll be happy when I finally get the right job.
  • I’ll be happy when I can afford vacations.
  • I’ll be happy when I get that raise, new job...
It's not a bad thing to look at the things you'd like to attain or the ways you'd like to improve your overall finances. But those should be goals, not a measurement of your happiness. They should have an actual plan for achievement, not be an unreachable milestone with no real hope of attainment.

And if you're using statements or goals like those to try to rectify discouragement or assuage envy, you are actually doing more harm than good. Thinking that way prevents joyful living in the moment. It blocks you from enjoying all life has to offer today. Statements like those limit happiness by delaying the possibility of experiencing true joy until some benchmark is reached. Since a perfect life as others might define it will always be just out of reach, the pursuit of happiness never ends. (Money Tree, Camp, 2013)

Happiness and joy must be seized in the moment, each and every day.

Those are some of the big-picture lies we tell ourselves that can affect our peace. But what about those short-term traps that most people set for themselves on a daily basis? Those traps lead to much dissatisfaction and debt.

  • This new outfit will make me feel better about myself.
  • These new shoes will help me get a date...get a job...have a better day.
  • If I buy this new car and take on this big car payment. I'll feel more successful and proud when people see me.
  • If I throw a big party, my friends will think I'm successful.
  • A new set of golf clubs will make me feel more important at the company golf outing.
Can you see how misplaced markers of success can lead to poor financial decisions? The first step of achieving wealth is to purpose to always live within or even below your means--not spending what you don't have. Once you set that standard and are wiling to do without "things" in order to protect your financial health, you're on the path to becoming a millionaire in five years. Oh, trust me, there's more to the process, but the process has no chance of working if you're not willing to start here.

Stay tuned to upcoming blog posts as we begin to unravel the pitfalls of money mismanagement and some of the ways to use your money to your advantage. Better yet, look into the sidebar and pick up a copy of Money Tree so you can start right now. And be sure to sign up for my free newsletter for access to even more financial guidance that will put you on the path toward wealth.