Financial health means different things to different people. For most people, it means the ability to financially overcome expensive and unforeseen challenges, such as losing your job for an extended period of time. It means being able to afford the essentials as well as budget for the extras, like vacations and down payments and retirement. It means less stress and anxiety because you know you’ve got enough to live comfortably.
For others, being financially healthy means you’re a boring person who is failing to live life to its fullest. After all, every dollar you don’t spend right away is another lost opportunity to immediately fill your world with consumer-based fun. By throwing their financial health to the wind, these people live life on the economic edge.
If you aspire to be one of these financial daredevils, here’s the checklist you need to follow in their footsteps:
1. Forget about financial goals
Live for today and never make any plans for the future. Do you want to own a house someday? Do you want to be able to afford to retire, so you don’t have to work in your old age? Stop thinking about those long-term goals. Instead, only focus on your immediate needs. You can plan for tomorrow… tomorrow.
2. Live paycheck to paycheck
Some “experts” claim living paycheck to paycheck is a dangerous game. One economic curveball, they say, and you won’t be able to pay for your basic needs. But that’s only one viewpoint. By squeezing every last dollar out of your paycheck, you’re actually being very resourceful. If this is working for you, why would you bother cutting down on unnecessary spending? Just to save for a rainy day or your future financial goals? Yawn.
3. Neglect your credit score
Who cares if a high credit score helps you get approved for loans and credit cards with the best interest rates! And nevermind that it's free to check and monitor your credit score these days. Building up good credit takes too much long! Sure, there are some clever tips and tools to help you build credit faster, but you won't see an increase immediately, so what's the point?
4. Ignore your due dates
This might be the simplest tip on this list. You don’t even have to do anything to accomplish it. Just make sure you’re not doing things like putting the due dates of your bills in your calendar. And whatever you do, don’t set up easy and automatic payments for any of your bills through online banking. If you already had automatic bill payments set up, login and correct your mistake ASAP. Automatic bill payments the quickest easiest way to slip up on your quest to mess up your finances.
5. Get a payday loan
If you’re like most employed people, payday is once every two weeks. But did you know you can get an advance on those paydays? That means you don’t have to wait until your actual payday to put some cash in your hand. These are called payday loans and they’re an easy way to hurl yourself into a dangerous financial tailspin. What a rush!
6. Max out your credit cards
From brunches to vacations to the latest tech gadgets and beyond, it’s very important you don’t miss out on what everyone else is doing. So don’t deprive yourself of the things you desire, or even the things other people desire. In fact, don’t even delay your gratification by budgeting or saving up for that big purchase. You have credit cards for a reason. Fill ‘em to the limit. YOLO!
7. Don’t even bother trying to understand income tax
Doing your annual taxes is a lot of work. In order to either pay as little as possible or get the biggest return possible, you have to use simple (and FREE) online tax filing software and follow basic step-by-step instructions, or drop your information off at a place like H&R Block where a trained professional does everything for you. Way, way, way, way too much work. Just wing it and see what happens instead.
Or, you can improve your financial situation
If you change your mind about messing up your finances, simply do the opposite of what we propose above by:
- Setting financial goals for yourself. Define what success looks like to you and break it down into small, achievable steps.
- Breaking the cycle of living paycheck to paycheck through conscious spending & simple budgeting habits.
- Calendarizing & automating your bill payments.
- Avoiding predatory payday lenders at all costs.
- Keeping your credit card balances below 30% utilization if you can, or better yet, at 0%.
- Seeking out simple & easy-to-understand financial education about things like taxes, government income assistance, credit, investing, saving, and more.
And above all else, remember that it’s never too late to turn it all around. Start building towards a brighter tomorrow today!
Fresh Start Finance serves Canadians with practical advice on personal finance and credit-building solutions. Whether you have bad credit or no credit, we know how to help make your financial future brighter. Bookmark and subscribe to our blog for more useful tips, or speak to one of our consultants today to see how we can help!