Five Habits of a Bad Money Manager


If you struggle with money management, you’re probably struggling with other issues as well. While many people grappling with medical bills and unforeseen expenses are not to blame, others have the resources and lack the motivation to succeed. If this sounds familiar, review the habits below. Their presence in your life could be a catalyst for larger problems.

Bad habits include:

1. Take a look at your closets. Now look at your dining room table. Would you be comfortable allowing guests to wander through these areas? If the answer is no, you’re probably messy by nature. There’s nothing wrong with a little clutter, but living in a borderline hoarding zone is cause for concern. If your physical space is in shambles, your financial space probably needs some attention as well. Start by clearing out the clutter and reviewing our budget template. Both will help you reclaim order in your life.

2. You’re not a fan of waiting around. Standing in line, cooking meals and even driving to work make you crazy. While you may dismiss this behavior as Type A, there’s another word for it: impatience. If your day-to-day seems like a never-ending nail-gnasher, I’m guessing you don’t take the time to sit down and focus on financial stability, either. Sure, creating a budget and savings plan isn’t glamourous entertainment, but it’s a necessary part of living responsibly. Schedule an hour of financial review every week to ensure your money issues are well managed. Your credit score will thank you.

3. If you avoid conflict, sharp objects and general discomfort, then congratulations: you’re normal. No one looks forward to dealing with life’s hard questions, but avoiding the subject completely will only lead to greater worries down the road. In the case of personal finance, avoiding unpaid bills can damage your credit, drain your savings and even cause bankruptcy. Take the smart route by dealing with your issues now and contacting your creditors. They may be willing to help you weather a bad situation. 

4. The Eeyores and Debbie Downers of the world can always find the worst in things. Every opportunity is also a potential failure. If this sounds like you, then you’re a classic catastrophizer; that is, someone who immediately fears the worst. While you may have some baggage to sort out, adopting this mindset is dangerous, especially where personal finance is concerned. For example, suppose a friend recently tells you about her plan to save for retirement. You respond with, “Good for you, but it’s not like it’ll ever be enough. This country is too expensive and Social Security will be bankrupt soon. Why bother?”

It’s true, the system is scary, but you’ve missed the point of the conversation. Participation is key. If you fail to take part in the process, you only have yourself to blame. Take control by adopting a less cynical approach to money management. Shake off that dark cloud of doubt.

5. You know one thing for sure: The world owes you. You’re an American citizen, a free person with valuable ideas and intelligence. You should be given the right opportunities and the resources to succeed. One question comes to mind: Why? The world is full of disappointed people who wasted their potential, many of whom believed they deserved a life that never materialized. While you can’t control your upbringing, you can control your perspective as an adult. Success comes to those who work for it and plan for the future. Consider the 800 Club, and elite group of people who boast the nation’s strongest credit scores. Their status was not “deserved,” but cultivated through years of careful attention, planning and personal responsibility. Take a lesson from their perseverance and put your self-importance on a shelf. Allow your actions to speak for themselves.