The following post is by MPFJ staff writer, Catherine Alford. Cat is a freelance personal finance writer who blogs at www.BudgetBlonde.com.
I used to think that luck was just – well – luck! As in, isn’t is so lucky that those people won the lottery or picked the right stock at the right time?
However, what I’ve realized over time is that you can actually create your own luck when it comes to your finances. It might not be “lottery luck,” but with a few simple steps, you can ensure that you remain lucky throughout the course of your financial life.
Here are some common phrases that I hear with respect to money and luck.
There are a lot of misconceptions about finances and how people reach their financial goals. I’m sure you’ll be able to relate to hearing some of the comments below, and hopefully you’ll be able to see the same pattern as I did, which is that those who are “lucky” in terms of money actually worked hard to get there first!
1. Mr. Smith is SO lucky that he got to retire at 55!
No, Mr. Smith isn’t lucky.
Mr. Smith lived below his means. He probably drove an old truck, didn’t upgrade his life when he has the ability to, and invested slowly over time. People like Mr. Smith are perhaps lucky that they aren’t prone to materialism or lucky that they have a knack for saving. The truth is, though, that people don’t retire early because they are lucky. They typically retire early due a lifetime of planning and hard work. I can’t tell you how many people reach retirement age and wish they had the ability to quit working. Don’t wait for luck or envy those who are able to. Everyone has the ability to do this. It just depends on how you plan.
2. They are SO lucky they get to go on vacation! I haven’t been on one in years!
People tend to go on vacations in two ways. They either put it on a credit card and have debt problems later or they save up for it ahead of time.
Sure, many of us are fortunate to get vacation time or fortunate to have a little bit of extra income to buy a plane ticket here or there, but is that really luck? I would say that “vacation luck” is self-created. We either get a break from work because we worked hard to earn it or because we saved up for it. The people who don’t take vacations over the course of several years make conscious decisions not to take one or not to make saving for one a priority. Remember, we can make our own luck when it comes to our money because we control what we do with it!
3. You’re so lucky you get paid to work from home.
This is one I’ve been hearing a lot lately, ever since I started working 100% for myself.
Every time someone says it to me, I vacillate between cringing and feeling grateful that I have the ability to do what I do. However, there is nothing “lucky” about getting paid to work from home. It’s hard and scary and challenging to break out on your own and become self-employed. I didn’t just wake up one day and decide to stay in my pj’s and write from the couch just because I’m a lucky girl. It happened because I worked for it. I always like to point out that there’s no magic formula to what I do. Anyone with enough discipline can do the exact same thing. They just have to want to. Again, there’s nothing lucky about it. To be honest, though, it is kind of lucky that I don’t have to wear blazers anymore.
4. They’re so lucky they started investing early.
Investing is one area where you can definitely make your own luck with your finances.
Sure there are people who pick the right stocks or inherit stocks that their grandparents owned. That’s fortunate for them. However, if you don’t have any sort of trust fund, it’s up to you to make your own luck. You can do this by being conservative with your investments, starting now if you haven’t started yet, and teaching the next generation about responsible investing. The truth is, information about investing is open to anyone and everyone. Regardless of your education level, there are free seminars, books, and blogs that can teach you about investments. No one is lucky because they started investing early. They were simply willing to take the time to learn about it and took action to make sure it was a part of their lives.
Ultimately, when it comes to your money and long-term wealth, there aren’t shortcuts for most of us. Yes, there is a small sect of people who come from very wealthy families or who inherit something they weren’t expecting. However, for the average person with a normal job, it’s up to them to create their own opportunities in life and finances.
So what will it be? Are you going to be lucky or not?
What steps are you taking to create your own financial “luck?”
Share your experiences by commenting below!
***Photo courtesy of http://www.flickr.com/photos/timypenburg/5283231645/sizes/l/