Psst.. I have a secret to share. I’ve dabbled in Six Stupid Money Mistakes that kept me broke and courting homelessness.
Money is scary, confusing and a topic most of us avoid and obsess about.
Here’s my offer of hope and the belief that you can recreate your life despite disastrous money mistakes.
Money makes us all a little stupid until we learn to master it. In my thirty years of financial trial and error, I’ve found six predictable, easy to fix money screw ups.
The Number One Stupid Money Mistake we all make is believing that someone is coming to save us.
Men and women have different versions of this.
Each version allows for people to procrastinate (which is never a good choice when it comes to money).
During childhood, many women are taught that math is for boys. As they age, this belief quickly morphs into money is for men. Although I like to believe we are no longer a part of a society where women long to marry for financial security, I’m sure that way of thinking has reconfigured itself in a way that keeps women trapped in situations that are unhealthy and nonproductive.
Men , on the other hand, have their own well learned pathologies.
Apparently, many men want shiny new things: cars, houses, phones that are nice to look at yet don’t provide any type of financial security.
Most men think that if they can go to work all is right with the world and that being employed is the answer to everything.This is the belief that a job will save you.
Until it doesn’t.
The Number Two Stupid Money Mistake many of us make is not being clear about how much we need each month to run our households.
A couple of years ago, I wrote about the ignorance I dwelled in regarding my personal household finances.
I was running an $800 deficit each month.
Anyone who knows spit about business can tell you that bleeding $800 per month means you won’t be in business long.
While I’m all for the google-eyed shenanigans that is love and marriage, it would behoove all of us to look at our lives and intimate partnerships with a smart businessman’s eye.
Pull out those bank statements- those credit cards and that cable bill. How much is really coming in and how much is going out?
How much is it costing you per month to live?
The Third Stupid Money Mistake is partnering with the wrong person.
I had a wise friend who used to proclaim: Hell is Marrying the wrong person!
While it provided a well deserved chuckle, it was a truth personified.
Our community, and I’m speaking of gay men, often get lead by our crotch and spend no time working through financial what ifs with the man of our dreams.
I never discussed finances with a mate until I was 43.
At 43, I met a wonderful man and we began discussing finances immediately (he was working full time and I was couch surfing with no job). As I began working part time and then full time, my income increased forcing us to renegotiate our previously agreed upon goals. After figuring out how much we need per month and coming up with an amount we would both contribute the Dumb Mistakes stopped.
Many of us get down with some fool then let him borrow our car or money and before you know that twit has moved into your home.
I get you and I’ve been there…
When I was younger, I was notorious for dating the wrong men.
Addicts, unemployed, grown ass men living with their parents or an ex, were all the types welcomed into my dating pool. Anybody beyond 25 still living at home is an issue just as living with an ex is a big NO NO!
Suze Orman says you should have a long hard gander at a potential suitors spending habits and tax returns.
Spend time observing how the new trickster handles his money- does he have any outstanding debt; is somebody after him? When you go out to eat who pays and how does he treat the wait staff?
Does he ask for a ten spot or dub once a week to hold him to pay day?
These are all danger signs that say run!!!! You in danger.
The Fourth Stupid Money Mistake– Not Having a Drop dead Account- always comes back to bite you in the ass.
This set up allows you to handle all the fun little reindeer games life will bring you.
Unemployment, a blown transmission, a leaky roof.
While these mishaps don’t occur everyday, they pop up at just the wrong moment.
What about working with ridiculous people that make you consider murder on a consistent basis.
Fixing this doozy (by putting aside first 6 months, then nine then one year’s worth of salary) can eliminate multiple homicides and provide alternatives when you’ve outgrown your job or it’s outgrown you. The only thing worse or as bad as marrying the wrong person is being stuck at a job you hate and only tolerate because you need the money and neglected to create your Drop Dead account.
With some robust coinage, you can tap out, move along and say I’ve had enough and be able to do something about it.
Having lived through both situations, I understand that being broke is no fun.
Our Fifth Stupid Money Mistake– failing to invest your loot.
Black folks don’t fool with the stock market nor invest for a number of reasons. If you’ve been hoodwinked repeatedly by banks and employers, you tend to not give money to strangers. When you add not being able to see or touch the money, you also decrease the chance folks will put away something for a rainy day.
Most of us have no friends or family who can provide trusted financial advice.
What is the bloody point of working so hard for money and then not making that bitch work for you?
Pimp it out and get some return for all the shit you have to to do to earn it.
There are companies like Stash and Robin Hood that let you begin with $5.
The Sixth Stupid Money Mistake is not having a Side Hustle.
A wise and disturbed family member used to remind me that we all come into this world with a few skills- gifts that support us when things get tough.
These gifts come in handy between jobs or as we build a career.
When we are attempting to move forward and take care of some new business or a new idea, we need funding.
We set ourselves on the road to freedom and making smart money decisions when we have an ongoing and reliable Side Hustle that makes steady and reliable progress toward having a life of our choosing.
Side Hustles (in my personal life) now mean paying off student loan debt and building a financial future and generational wealth.
Most of us make the mistake of not getting and keeping a side hustle for some pretty dumb reasons- being tired , not having the time. When we allow these ridiculous reasons to rule our minds and make our decisions, we guarantee that we will be stuck in a 9 to 5 sentence for life.
Because of the way the world has evolved, it is crucial that we prepare for the worst.
The worst could be the end of a job or career and or a company downsizing. When this happens or something worse, we are left with trying to scramble and make sense of our lives and what needs to happen next.
No one ever says when I grow up I want struggle, disappointment and an existence that I have no control over.
If there’s no plan, the world will only bring you crap and you’ll have to accept it.
And here’s the best part…
You can change, You can stop making the stupid mistakes we just covered and make some new financial traditions.
Get more skills. Find out what you want and make a plan to get it.
Which one of the Stupid Money Mistakes are you committed to letting go? Can you think of others that might be useful to eliminate?