I often (unsurprisingly) get asked what I think about various investment schemes, often appearing as a “quick-fix” solution to your financial goals. And every time I’m asked it reminds me of diet wonder pill ads.
“How so?” I hear you cry…
How many times have you been channel-surfing late at night after the kids have gone to bed, or taken a rare sick day and ended up watching daytime tv, only to come across those infomercials advertising weight loss wonder drugs?
Pictures of flawless 20 and 30 somethings, white teeth, chiselled torsos, leading a fit and active lifestyle thanks to the miracle pill being spruiked before your very eyes.
How many people really think these magical tablets work? You’re probably shaking your head right now, declaring “Not me, I’m not that stupid”.
Yet, think about how many millions, perhaps hundreds of millions of dollars worth of these drugs are sold every year? TV advertising is not cheap, and it obviously pays for them to promote their wares there.
The buyers are chasing an impossible dream, a quick fix, and often, after the money is spent pursuing the fast track solution to their problems, they are left deflated, disappointed and still overweight.
I am not a health guru, not by a long shot. The worst investment I’ve ever made has been in a gym membership.
My wife on the other hand is a fitness devotee. She regularly works out and pays particular attention to what she puts in her body. In fact, she’s a qualified fitness instructor and used to regularly lead aerobics classes.
I’m lucky to have her keep me in line. We are the perfect case of opposites attract.
As an expert, qualified fitness professional, she has her own weight loss philosophy.
Here it is:
Eat Less, Move More.
It’s beautiful in its simplicity isn’t it?
Watch your consumption, and be more proactive with your activity.
And the more you think about it – the same principal applies in the financial health space! The principal of containing consumption and being proactive about smart, consistent and deliberate financial activity.
How many of us gorge on our incomes, binge on our credit cards and are the equivalent of a financial couch potato?
Then when we’ve encountered a financial health scare, seen a financial photo of ourselves, or suffered a metaphorical fiscal heart attack, and we decide “Right, it’s time to do something about this.”
But like weight loss, the road to financial success is long, requires hard work and sacrifice, and often a complete change of lifestyle and habits.
And just like people who keep the weight off, watch what they eat and sign up to a gym; financially successful people have discipline, make the odd sacrifice and most importantly have the ability to enact change.
However, this can be too hard for some, and they revert back to their old habits of gorging on income, binging on credit cards, and sitting around waiting for things to get better.
And then they see the ad.
Maybe not on TV, but on Facebook perhaps. The financial silver bullet. The investment to make all your dreams come true, with the same good looking 20 and 30 somethings, with their white teeth and enviable good looks.
The spruikers are there alright, peddling their financial wares to the desperate – who are all after a quick and easy solution to their financial woes.
Like the weight loss pills, we all look at it objectively and cynically remark “if it looks too good to be true then invariably it is too good to be true”
But like the fat blasting wonder drugs, these financial spruikers sell millions of dollars worth whatever their super solution investment is.
And thousands fall for it, out of desperation, immediacy and often perceived ease.
And like the miracle weight loss pills, after the money is spent pursuing the failed rapid solution to their often long term financial problems, they are left deflated, disappointed and still poor – often poorer.
The road to wealth, like health, can be simple. Watch what you spend, don’t binge, and create habits that lead to smart, repeatable, sustainable decisions with your money.
Try it. It’s amazing how great your finances will look.