How you’ve been setup for financial failure

School and Life Decisions

Do you know that you’ve been setup for financial failure? It’s a confronting question that not many people would want to say ‘yes’ to. However since your earliest years this is exactly what you’ve been prepared for, and you don’t even know it. Here are the reasons why.

The first place that sets you up for financial failure is the school system. As confronting as this may be, the school system simply prepares you for more schooling and only at the very end does it prepare you for entry into the workforce as an employee and this is only at the technical level.

Strangely … it’s not really the school systems fault. Why? There is simply is not enough time to teach you what you need to know other than to start the path to getting your first job.

In addition to this, long before any adolescent is allowed to drive a vehicle or borrow money from a bank, students are forced at the age of 15 – 16 to make life decisions regarding the subjects they will take to pave the way into higher education and eventually entry into the work force. Once these decisions are made the die is set for the next 5-10 years.

As an example if you want to become an engineer, you had to take English and Double math and Double Science simply to meet the prerequisites for higher education.

Quite simply there is not enough time to educate and prepare any student at that time of their lives to start thinking about how to secure their future. And besides if there were, who’d teach them?

We do what others tell us

In today’s day and age, everyone is afraid of being offended or offending someone else and discussing any topic involving Religion, Politics or personal finance are taboo and when they are discussed they are often divisive.

When it comes to discussing personal finance particularly in the workplace, people are very judgemental creatures, and when anyone pokes their head above the parapet to either talk about wanting financial independence or to reveal they’ve started their journey toward it, it doesn’t take long before the negativity comes out.

The chances are that by the time you’re in the workplace surrounded by colleagues who are all trading time for money everyone shares the same historic journey.

They were raised by parents who traded time for money. They went to school which prepared them to trade time for money. And along the entire journey anyone who provided another option must have been a scam artist, a conman or simply just got lucky on their way to wealth.

Related: Why money for time is a poor trade

So when it comes to personal finance and securing your future, the support network around one self is very limited. The only people you can ask about money are people who are simply further ahead on the same money for time road. And the answers you will get will simply reinforce the current journey.

It’s like being raised by a family who lives in poverty and asking them how to make money. The only answer you’ll get is to get a steady and safe job. However when you don’t even know what questions to ask, you won’t even think twice about who you ask or the answer you get back.

There is the saying that you’re the product of the 5 closest people to you. If the 5 richest people around you are living pay check to pay check in poverty, then you’re being setup to fail while staying in a ‘safe’ job.

But today that safety is eroding.

Related: Why jobs aren’t safe anymore and neither are you

Fear mentality

Despite all of these issues if you’re able to see the need to take control over your financial future the next biggest issue is getting over the fear of failing.

When you go public with your dream of changing your future, more often than not people encounter resistance from those around them.

The sad truth is that this resistance comes from their own fears of being left behind if you succeed. After all if they have been on the same journey and you decide to deviate and succeed then you’re success will invalidate their own choices. This alone makes their negative advice easy to understand.

But when it comes to taking the first steps along your own path you will have to make those steps alone. And those first steps will be into the unknown. And this means risking making mistakes. This journey into the unknown will be filled with obstacles and setbacks and making those mistakes public validates the status quo even further.

However there is also the mentality that mistakes are fatal. And they aren’t!

Many people accept failure or the risk of failure as a reason (excuse) not to try. However failure does not need to be fatal to your journey.

After all if you choose not to try and improve your position, the worst case scenario is already known. To remain stuck trading time for money.

If you try and make mistakes, you will learn from those mistakes and gain knowledge. However the risk of failure is a dangerous negative motivator and more often than not keeps people fixed in their current position until the risk of failing outweighs the pain of the current situation.

Related: Why you cant buy back your time … yet

Mental Exhaustion

The most dangerous factor when it comes to being setup for financial failure is when it comes to outright mental exhaustion.

Every journey towards financial independence starts off with a powerful motivator, however a powerful motivator does not mean that action is taken.

When the regular work week can involve 40 hours at the office and 10+ hours of travel it is not hard for your day to start at 6:30, leaving for work by 7:30am and finally getting home at 6:00pm leaving you a few hours to yourself before getting some sleep before doing it all again the next day.

Weekends can be filled with social gatherings or personal indulgences, but also with other responsibilities and obligations.

After all of the time deductions are taken care of the amount of time that is left to work on your financial security are few.

Using these few spare hours to work on your financial security can be mentally taxing and when coupled with the risk of running into obstacles and minor failures the whole idea of using this time for ‘work’ even when you’re the client can seem far more costly than rewarding.

This is where the current system can be so demanding and oppressive that simply not trying and scavenging those few hours you have left for yourself can seem a far better choice now than investing for your future.


Each of these factors come into play over a lifetime and progressively mentally close off viable external options until the only option left is to simply submit to trading time for money.

But this is exactly how you are setup for financial failure. We have been conditioned to believe that money is not everything even though it is the universal tool that can allow you to do more, not just for yourself but also for your family and the community.

We are conditioned to believe that there is no other way to survive than by trading time for an hourly rate, even when this system is shown to lead to failure as you approach retirement. We follow the path of least resistance and we remain comfortable with discomfort because it is easier than change.

Related: How superannuation won’t help you retire early

No one succeeds by denying their situation, making excuses or blaming others. In order to truly succeed and change your future position extreme ownership and control need to be taken as soon as possible even when it is new and uncomfortable.

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