By Sydney Sekese, CFP® professional and member of the Financial Planning Institute

There are several definitions to describe nemesis. The word describes a rival who just somehow seems able to get the best of you. It can be someone you compete against, someone whose skills are nearly identical to yours and yet, your nemesis always seems to finish ahead of you. 

Nemesis can also refer to something that always causes you problems. This is the definition I would like to adopt for the purpose of this article. The question I pose to the readers is: Could you be you own nemesis? Bad financial habits often result in unaccomplished and unstructured goals.

I encourage readers to recognise those habits and actively try to correct them. Failure to do so could have a massive effect on your financial well-being in the future. Listed below are some of the bad financial habits:

  1. Impulsive buying
  2. Using credit card to buy groceries and not paying the amount due by the due-date
  3. Keeping up with the neighbours and friends
  4. Shopping to boost your mood
  5. Always spending on convenience (plus take-aways)
  6. Spending more than you earn
  7. Ignoring your debt
  8. Not following a budget
  9. Not saving money at all
  10. Ignoring the future

For those readers who are married or cohabiting, there is another habit that could create financial instability; resulting in a relationship downfall. Many of the spending and saving habits are clearly evident during the dating phase and should set off alarms. Financial disagreements early in the relationship can be a leading predictor of divorce. But most people, blinded by love and a desire to get married, often overlook them. No one enters marriage expecting divorce. Unfortunately things don’t always work out the way we expect them to.

Financial infidelity is one of the most dangerous things that can happen in a marriage. When one partner is making significant financial moves without the knowledge of the other, it endangers the financial future of both people and exhibits a disregard for the most fundamental parts of a healthy marriage: trust and communication.

Financial infidelity can simply wreck a marriage when it is uncovered. For example, when a partner discovers a credit card statement that’s charged up to the limit without ever knowing that card existed, their trust for their partner and their idea of financial security are tossed aside simultaneously.

Many people in a relationship take a backseat when it comes to finances. If you want to be successful in life, be part and be aware of all your spending, investing and saving plans together. Learn from each other and be comfortable enough to let your spouse guide you to financial success.

An article I read from a newsletter compiled by Lolly Daskal; mentions that there are ways we can be our own worst enemy (or nemesis). As with many things; awareness is half the battle. Ask yourself the following 11 questions……

  1. Do you put yourself down?
  2. Do you give up easily?
  3. Do you allow others to determine your worth? 
  4. Do have a lot of negative thoughts? 
  5. Do you make yourself constantly unhappy?
  6. Do you have unrealistic expectations?
  7. Do you compare yourself to others?
  8. Do you constantly make excuses?
  9. Do you hold onto things too long?
  10. Do you keep doing the same things over and over again?
  11. Are you often indecisive?

Final thoughts:

There are several studies that have been conducted to determine how long it takes to form a new habit. Despite the myths and studies on this topic, it is wise to be aware of the bad financial habits and start forming good ones. There’s no right or wrong timeline. The only timeline that matters is the one that works best for you.

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