4 Deadly Wrong Mentalities Stopping You From Financial Success

Author: Mary Ambrose, CPA/MBA



Who doesn’t want financial success? But let’s face it, average Americans are not that good at handling finances.

According to a CNBC report in 2018, over 40% of Americans have less than $10,000 put away for retirement savings. And U.S. household saving rate is only a little above 6% in August 2018.

You would think $1,000 isn’t much. But guess what, close to 60% of Americans have less than that amount in savings…….

On the other hand, America is one of the richest countries with average salary levels in the top 5 list worldwide.

Clearly, something is wrong in people’s mentalities instead of in our earnings.

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wrong mentalities stopping you from financial success


So, what went wrong? Let’s take a look at some of the top wrong beliefs preventing us from achieving financial success:


1. It’s a “win” if one dies owing debts

Believe it or not, there’s a “hidden” belief in some folks’ mind that it’s a good thing to owe money when the day comes to leave the earth.

I was shocked when a co-worker of mine mentioned this to me years ago hinting that he also holds this belief!

First of all, legally speaking, one’s financial obligations are not immediately canceled upon death. In general, the estate of the deceased individual will be responsible for settling any unpaid debts, depending on the types of accounts and properties involved.

Most importantly, it’s necessary to be aware of a “universal ledger book” for your life in the spirit realm. There are “debits” and “credits” in this ledger, similar to “T Accounts” in the accounting world.

universal ledger book for good and bad deeds

The “debits” are money you owe, wrongs you’ve done to others, things and missions you should have carried out in this life-time but you didn’t……

The “credits” are generous gifts you’ve given others, donations, loving-kindness and lots of other good deeds you can think of.

Now you get the picture?

Well, you might be thinking I’m nuts. But I’ve known enough and heard enough about testimonies that would prove this system to be true. Some people call it “karma”. Some others call it “what goes around comes around.”

Regardless of your religious and spiritual beliefs, if you put yourself in the creditors’ shoes, wouldn’t you want to get your money back?

So, commit to repay every dollar you owe because that’s the right thing to do.


2. Filing bankruptcy is a “solution” to debt problems

This one goes hand-in-hand with the first misconception above.

Just because the law allows someone to declare bankruptcy to forgive all qualified debts, it doesn’t mean one should depend on that last resort without first attempting to clean up the financial mess with everything he or she has.

I know life happens and sometimes you can’t help it. But hey, who doesn’t want to avoid bankruptcy?

After all, your credit score and credit history would be ruined for the time being. You wouldn’t be able to open new credit accounts in the foreseeable future. And you can forget about getting a mortgage for a house you really wanted.

Just don’t accumulate unmanageable debts in the first place.

People who loaned you money wouldn’t want to see their debtors filing bankruptcy and their hard-earned money down the drain. Stockholders of a publicly traded company do not want to hear the news all of a sudden that the company decided to file either “chapter 7” or “chapter 11” bankruptcies.

See my story of “financial disaster” losing six figure gain from an irresponsible company that collected the money and then filed bankruptcy afterwards when the deal fell through (see section 6). Of course, there’s an on-going class action lawsuit about this case at the moment. More to come on that.

Remember, how you handle finances will get reflected in a detailed credit report and background check. A bankruptcy filing or even judgements against you will show up in employers’ pre-employment credit check. Read more about that in “In-depth guide to improving your credit score”.

It certainly would be in your best interest to take care of your finances responsibly, similar to how carefully you would be handling your eyes. We only have one set of eyes and we can’t afford to lose them. That’s how much care you need to give to handling money in order to avoid any drastic measures down the road.

Before you take the last resort of filing bankruptcy, try seeking help from trusted professionals like  American Debt Enders to straighten out your debts and get a fresh start on life.


3. It’s okay to buy a $30K car on a $30K annual salary

In general, lenders want to see debt-to-income ratio of less than 40%. That means, you don’t want to borrow more than 40% of your pre-tax income.

But if you ask me, that criterion is too generous and risky for both borrowers and lenders.

If you make $30K a year, forget about buying a new car and getting a car loan. Your number one priority in life, when it comes to finances, is to increase your earnings potential first.

Related must-read post: How to double your salary in 5 years

However, if you really really have to drive that dream car that’s sitting in the dealer’s lot, then buying a used version might be the way to go.

It’s all about practicing self-discipline.

Carrying debt at high level in relation to your income will make you live from paycheck to paycheck leaving no room for any meaningful monthly savings. It is not something you should do if you want to steer clear of any financial distress and anxiety down the road.


4. Live for today is living life to the fullest

We heard some billionaires spend money like there’s no tomorrow. They may have reasons for doing that.

Most people have a budget and fixed salary so burning cash isn’t an option.

That doesn’t mean some folks won’t go out there and max out their credit cards, borrowing more with home equity line of credit, dining out on a regular basis, leasing or buying the latest trendy vehicles…….

Some say “life is short, it’s better to live for today.”

Yes, life is short. And that’s exactly why we all need to live responsibly because we’ll have to account for everything we did in this temporary journey on earth at the end of our life.

Do you want to be considered a good custodian of the financial resources and responsibilities placed in your hands? Or, do you want to look back at your life and regret some of the decisions you made about money that put your loved ones’ lives, including yourself, at a compromised position?

Every step we take matters to ourselves and to people associated with us. Think twice before pulling out the credit cards again and see if it’s a purchase that’s really necessary.



Hope I didn’t sound too harsh here in this article, but these are definitely some of the most harmful wrong mentalities and impediments that you’ll want to get out of your system if you want to be successful financially.


Leave a comment below to let me know your thoughts or share your experiences and valuable insights with everyone here. 

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22 Replies to “4 Deadly Wrong Mentalities Stopping You From Financial Success

  1. This is a really great, eye opening article as a lot of these mentalities, (for the most part), are held by previous generations, but they’re not getting passed on!

  2. First of all I would like to say fantastic blog!
    I had a quick question that I’d like to ask if
    you do not mind. I was curious to find out how you center
    yourself and clear your thoughts prior to writing. I have had trouble
    clearing my mind in getting my thoughts out there. I do enjoy writing but it just seems like the first 10 to 15 minutes are lost just trying to figure out how to begin. Any
    suggestions or hints? Thanks!

  3. Wow that was strange. I just wrote an really long comment but after I clicked submit my comment didn’t appear. Grrrr… well I’m not writing all that over again. Anyways, just wanted to say superb blog!

    1. Hi Clifton, thank you for writing a long comment. Similar to many other blogs, my commenting section is set up to be manually approved before posting to prevent those spammy comments. Just because it didn’t appear right away, doesn’t mean it won’t appear after I approve it. 🙂 But thank you for commenting twice!

  4. That is so true! I need to show this post to my sister. When we are in a certain age we don’t think wisely and just spend the money that we don’t own. I used to be like that too.

  5. Right on. Thanks for sharing. I really appreciate the point about how we live our life and treat others now while still here on this earth. So true.

  6. This is such an important topic. I started falling into debt after college when I was struggling to find a well-paying job. Last year, I started taking steps to pay down my debt and improve my credit. I only wish I’d known more about this when I was younger.

  7. Omg, I preach this to people every day. Our generation is fixated with living above their means or at it. and wonder why we can’t get ahead. Trying to keep up with the Joneses.

  8. This is so on point!! I find that it’s a balance between being wise and disciplined with money and “living for today. ” I have small kids, so this is a time in my life I’ll never have again. Of course, I want to make the most of it. But that doesn’t have to mean going into debt and living beyond my means. Our financial future (and peace) is important as well. Thanks for sharing!

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