What is the single biggest mistake you can make with your spending?


People fall into one of three groups. They may (1) run out of (discretionary spending) money before they die, or (2) have about the right amount to last them (by luck or judgement), or (3) their money outlives them. That third situation is also slightly sad, because with better luck or judgement they could have made better use of their money and spent or given away more whilst alive.


So the biggest mistake is either not saving enough (group 1) or not spending enough (group 3)?

Actually, it’s neither of those.

The same mistake is made by most people in all three groups.

Today’s world seems increasingly designed to keep us all on the hamster wheel; chasing the money, lifestyle and toys, which all too often leave us distracted, exhausted, unfulfilled and often unhealthy.

Sometimes people see money as a goal in its own right, whereas it should be just a tool that helps you get to where you want to get to. But shouldn’t the journey be as fulfilling as the destination? After all, life is not a rehearsal and none of us know when our time will be up.

The mistake most people make is failing to stop and consider what they really want their lives to look like and to align their money with this. Unless you have clarified what is most important to you, you are unlikely to make mindful decisions in the moment when the world is trying to grab your attention and your money.

Try this exercise - it’s not easy and often requires the help of an impartial coach or friend to extract meaningful answers.

  1. Quickly write down your 10 most important goals.

  2. Prioritise the most important 5 of those

  3. On a scale of 1 to 10, to what extent do you feel that you spent the right amount of your money on your top five priorities?

  4. On a scale of 1 to 10, To what extent do you feel that you spent the right amount of your TIME on your top five priorities?

Yes, this is very subjective.

Why have we introduced time into this? Because you’re on that hamster wheel. Even if you enjoy your work, or have already retired, we are creatures of habit, so it’s important to have a clarity break and ask ourselves how we are allocating our precious resources.

Dare you look at your actual spending (money or time) over the last 12 months?

What could you do about this to have a more fulfilled life in the year ahead? For example, before making any big money decision, ask yourself if what you are about to buy/ invest/ allocate/ give is really in alignment with what is important to you.

Finally, pay attention to the small habitual decisions which can add up to being just as misdirected.

Imagine how much better life could be. It isn’t just about today or the long distant future it’s also about each day in between.