4 Financial Fantasies to Avoid

It happens to us all.  We hear a rumor about a get rich quick scheme.  Or we stumble into a guy on the street corner trying to sell us a business opportunity that ends up being a multi-level marketing scheme.  The media and people around us are constantly bombarding us with financial fantasies that don’t exist.

I’m not saying that shooting for the stars is bad, but one has to be realistic at the same time.  There’s no such thing as a “free lunch.”  That’s actually some of the best advice I was ever given during my college years.  Dreaming is healthy, but expecting some sort of good fortune to fall on us is not realistic or healthy for our financial lives.  Let’s take a look at some common financial fantasies that plague people all around us.

1. Making money with a website with little to no effort.

I’m here to tell you, making money on the internet isn’t easy!  Although I have a blog that is pretty successful, it took around 6 months to make the first few dollars!  Anyone trying to strike it rich within the internet arena is in for a rough surprise.  The only way to make it big online is to devote a large chunk of your time and dedication.  It will take time and tons of patience.  Making money online is not for the faint of heart, and it’s definitely not a way to make money fast.  It’s a fantasy to think that an online business will get you rich quick.  However, if you’re willing to put the work in, then yes, you can reap the rewards, but those will come with time!

2. “The chances aren’t that bad, I’ll win the lottery!”

It’s flat out stupid to think you’re going to win the lottery.  You’d probably get more satisfaction out of buying candy instead.  I’ve seen the financial devastation in people’s lives by placing their hope in the lottery.  I’ve seen some people spend an entire week’s paycheck on the lottery.  It’s a losing strategy and you should avoid this fantasy at all costs.  Even if you did win, studies show that most who win the lottery lose it all anyways and aren’t happy.  Lesson here is this: if you can’t budget and manage your money now, how can you expect to be responsible with winning the lottery?

3. Banking on an inheritance.

I used to think about this one as a kid.  How cool would it be to receive an inheritance when your parents passed?  As I’ve grown older, I have seen people keep this mentality within their financial lives.  I’ve seen people spend recklessly thinking that an inheritance is around the corner.  How do you know if there is as much as you think?  And what if your parents decided to give the money away?  You should never put your eggs in one basket.  This fantasy is not only selfish but can be a real downer when it never happens.

4. “I will make a killing with an IPO!”

Oh boy, this one sends shills down my spine.  You’ve seen it in movies and TV shows.  An excited husband gets word of mouth about a new and up and coming company.  He takes his entire fortune and puts it all on one company’s IPO.  The IPO goes sour on the first day and the husband loses everything.  This fantasy is beyond flawed.  It may seem like a logical way to make a killing, but you’re just playing with fire.  First off, you need money to invest with.  Even if you have the money to do so, it’s hard to made a lot off an IPO.  For example, if you have $50 and it doubles, now you have $100.  Depending on how much you invest, this is not a quick way to make money.  Also, you risk the IPO flopping and losing all your money.  It’s a much better decision to take your money and put it in a Roth IRA or 401k account.

The overall lesson here is to remember that making money requires hard work and lots of sweat.  Financial fantasies have destroyed people’s lives.  Don’t be one of those individuals.  Work hard and the money will come slowly, but it will come!

What are some of your financial fantasies that turned up unsuccessful? Meet us in the comments!

Photo by DaGoaty

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5 Comments
  1. Jonathan K

    “There’s no such thing as a free lunch.” Book 1975 – Milton Friedmen

    – American economist, statistician, academic, and author who taught at the University of Chicago for more than three decades. He was a recipient of the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences.

    1) Getting rich quick through an online venture is a scam. I’ve experienced this twice in my life. However, as you mentioned with a lot of effort and perseverance it is possible. Many companies who promote “pyramid schemes” will often count on less than 1 out of 10 people actually succeeding at the given business.

    “However, if you’re willing to put the work in, then yes, you can reap the rewards, but those will come with time! “ – Jon

    Sometimes it never comes though. I’ve heard a good rule of thumb is to try something for a year maybe two years. If you are still not making money after that perhaps it’s time to look into other options. Of course, chasing one get rich offer after another is not the solution either.

    “The plans of the diligent lead surely to advantage, but everyone who is hasty comes surely to poverty.” Proverbs 21:5

    “He who tills his land will have plenty of food, but he who follows empty pursuits will have poverty in plenty.” Proverbs 28:19

    2) Never played the lottery and never plan to. It’s a waste of money and wrong.

    “Keep your life free from the love of money, and be content with what you have.” Hebrews 13:5

    I agree with Jon:

    “Lesson here is this: if you can’t budget and manage your money now, how can you expect to be responsible with winning the lottery?” – Jon

    Excellent point.

    “Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much.” Luke 16:10

    3) I don’t count on anything from family in regards to inheritance. I want my family to be around as long as the Lord allows. That is more valuable than any inheritance.

    4) An IPO is not worth someone’s family or marriage. Try a mutual fund and invest over the long-term instead.

    “Work hard and the money will come slowly, but it will come!” – Jon

    Great way to end your article Jon. It was really well-thought and some great reminders! Thanks Jon.

  2. Jason Cabler

    There absolutely is no substitute for hard work.

    Common sense, hard work, and time are the best recipe to make money. Yes, some people do strike it rich quickly but those are very rare and they don’t usually keep it for long because they haven’t formed the discipline necessary to manage it well.

    The recipe above builds wealth that will last.

  3. diane

    Good thing I didn’t rely on an inheritence. My dad passed away three weeks ago and only left an unpaid house, brand new car (which will be repossessed) and a lot of bills. Recussing my self from the will in order to not be made liable to pay his bills.

  4. Janice

    I actually have a question. I’ve noticed Christian radio stations giving away music, trips, tickets, etc. Isn’t this a lottery? You and others have a chance to win, but only one (or a few) win and the rest lose/don’t win. What’s the difference between wanting to win tickets and wanting to win large sums of money? I understand that you cannot live off the small prizes offered by the radio stations, but the basic concept is that something is offered and others have to “be in it to win it.”