5 Ways to Kill Your Financial Progress (And How to Get Ahead)

get out of debt

Maybe you’ve experienced this. You’ve been trying to get ahead financially, scrounging up a little bit here and there to save into an emergency fund or your IRA, but it just seems like you never make any progress.

Why is that? What are some things that are killing your financial progress? Let’s take a look at five things that may be impeding you financially, and ways to overcome:

1. Bury Yourself in Credit Card Debt

This is obvious, but if you want to know the single best way to kill your financial progresss to bury yourself in credit-card debt. All that debt you’ve racked up, and all that interest that keeps getting tacked on is a sure-fire way to bury yourself right into a financial black hole.

It can be an endless cycle, and almost an addicting cycle as well. It’s so easy to get that monthly statement and want to cure the shame by going out and buying yourself something nice. Believe me, I’ve been there. But, I also worked hard to get out of debt!

The way forward is to STOP! Stop using your card for a while, go on a cash diet, and use any extra money to pay down that debt. You’ll get ahead when you stop using that card for things you can’t afford!

2. Spend More Than You Make

Speaking of using that card to buy things you can’t afford, let’s talk about the real issue. If you spend more than you make, I can guarantee that you will never get ahead financially. You will absolutely kill any financial progress you’ve made!

This is a basic one as well, but I’m amazed at how many folks continue to spend like there is no tomorrow! This is the root cause of debt! And it doesn’t matter how much money you make.

I know of a very successful professional who constantly spends more than his huge salary. And he finds himself in more and more debt each year. The way ahead here is to make a budget, review it after a month or so, tweak it, review it again, and stick to it!

3. Take Withdrawals from Your 401ks or IRAs

Taking an IRA withdrawal or borrowing from your 401k is like taking the express lane to financial regression! Sure, it seems like a great idea, right? Borrow money from yourself and pay yourself back with interest! What’s not to like?

I’ve seen 401k loans go bad so often. If you lose your job, quit, or retire; that loan will be treated as taxable income for the year and you’ll have to pay tax (and potentially a penalty) on that money!

The opportunity cost of taking from an investment that could be earning higher interest than what you’re paying yourself, plus the loss of compounding make this a bad move!

Yet, many folks borrow from their 401ks like it’s their emergency fund!

The way ahead is to totally forget about your 401k or IRA (at least until retirement, that is). Leave it alone! Don’t touch it. Seriously, don’t touch it – just keep saving into it and forget you even have it.

4. Keep Up With the Joneses

Well, there goes neighbor Jones in his brand new luxury car! “Wait a second”, you think. “I know I make more than him, how can he afford that car?”

“If he can afford that car, then I know I can. Plus, it’s embarrassing driving this hunkajunk car past his house every day. I’ll just check online to see if there are any deals on those new Audi’s!”

And there you go, you take on a ridiculous car payment to keep up the image. But the reality is, your neighbor probably can’t afford that car either. So you both spend money you don’t have on cars you don’t need to impress others. It’s a cycle. Dont’ get me wrong. Luxury cars are not evil.

The issue comes when we lack contentment and buy things we can’t afford! Keeping up with the Joneses has devastating effects! The way out is to seek contentment. Understand that material wealth alone does not make you happy, and that you should be using your time and energy to pursue True Wealth!

5. Cease to Care About Your Money

If you really want to kill your financial progress, then just stop caring about it. Unfortunately, I’ve seen this all too often, where a couple just thinks that everything will just work out by itself. They stop proactively trying to get ahead.

Usually, this is the case when one is in massive debt, and sometimes the reality of the credit card debt almost freezes someone to a point where you can’t do anything and you don’t want to do anything.

The way out is to reorient yourself back to the basics again. Dream about the day when you’ll be debt free. Read stories of how others have succeeded and use that as motivation. Figure out how to save money and start caring about your finances again.

What are some things that have killed your financial progress in the past?

Photo by skibler

  1. Terry

    I find that I am constantly doing the first three–not out of a desire for “stuff”, but simply because I don’t earn enough to support my family. Unfortunately, I really don’t see any way out of it. I keep praying that God will improve our circumstances, but for whatever reason he hasn’t seen fit to do so.

    • Miriam

      I am sorry you are experiencing financial strain, Terry. I went through a lot of years in the same terrifying situation. Please know that I prayed for you.

  2. Debt Free Daniel

    Easier said than done. Knowing how tempting it is to spend with a credit card at hand, people find it hard to resist that temptation. Credit card is like the apple at Eve’s hand. Until people learn how to accept things as they are, be humble enough and stay within their means, they can’t get out f debt.


  3. Jason @ Redeeming Riches

    Terry, that is a difficult spot to be in. Keep faithful and God promises to provide for our every needs – he never leaves nor forsakes.

  4. Jason @ Redeeming Riches

    Daniel – that’s a good analogy (the credit card and the fruit)

  5. Miriam

    This is a good reminder of how to stay on track. It seems that socializing now means you constantly hear someone recite a list of all their material things. I live a pretty humble, blessed life, and yet when I am around other people with more, I start feeling like I am missing out on things. It takes me giving myself a good talking-to, to get back on track. God is so good to me. I never want to minimize the tremendous blessings he bestows on my life. This means being content with what I have and making sure my debtors are satisfied. All to the glory of God!!