The 7 "Wealth Traps" - and How to Avoid Them

Most of us have experienced incredibly imbalanced success phenomena:

* A slack-off at school who gets an A because they got someone to help them write an essay

* A colleague who gets promoted because they kiss up to the boss

* A friend who gets a lot of romantic attention simply because he has a lot of money

Why are we frustrated by these situations? Because success was determined not by merit, but by luck or circumstance. And while we’re slaving away doing all of the right things to be successful, others pass us by.

This happens every day in the world of wealth-building. Millionaires are becoming billionaires and once-were six-figure earners are soaring to seven figures while you’re still plodding along making a modest $50 or $60k a year.

Here’s what all of these big earners have in common: They have avoided the worst wealth traps. And most of those traps are tied up in their perspective on wealth.

The good news is, you can avoid them, too—and finally tear down the wall between you and significant wealth.

Let’s take a deeper look at what those traps are:

Wealth Trap 1: The stable or cushy job

You may be happy with a modest $60k a year. Sure, it pays the bills and gives you a little extra for fun. But should you be satisfied with that much? What if you thought bigger?

Let’s say you’re a ski instructor. What about starting your own ski school? If you’re an office copywriter, why not build a side hustle as a marketing consultant?

The comfort of a stable job tends to make people complacent. But if you really want to build wealth, you need to think beyond your current circumstance. What more could you be doing to build your wealth now?

Wealth Trap 2: Risk avoidance

There’s no doubt that building wealth includes a certain amount of risk. When you put your money, time, or energy on the table in an effort to grow your wealth, there’s always the possibility that you could lose what you’ve invested.

But much of that risk perception is dramatized in our own minds. Consider this: If you take most of your saving and buy a property, then invest time into fixing it up so you can rent it out or sell it, what is the actual risk?

There is, of course, financial risk in investing in a property. But how much of the fear of risk is really just laziness? Or worry about what others will think?

When you begin to parse what you believe to be the fear of risk, you will come to realize that a lot of our barriers to wealth-building are really just mental and emotional hangups.

At the end of the day, yes, wealth-building requires risk-taking. But you won’t ever get anywhere if you can’t take a few well-calculated risks.

Wealth Trap 3: Viewing wealth as negative

This is another big mental hangup. If you’ve read “Wealth Can’t Wait” (and you should), you know that wealth is about more than money. In fact, it’s about all of the positive things you can do for your family, friends, and community.

It is not, contrary to popular belief, amassing money for the sake of having money.

Wealth Trap 4: Not staying the course

When I was a kid, I had a friend who played on the school baseball team. He wasn’t very good at it. In fact, he was terrible—so bad that they would always put him in right field so he would never see a baseball.

But my friend decided that if he ever wanted to be a good player, he would stick with it, despite all of the taunting and frustrations. And his commitment paid off. I still remember the glorious day when he came home gloating about three runs he had batted in.

The pursuit of wealth, like anything in life, has ups and downs. It will be difficult, and you’ll win some and lose some. But when you face a setback, you can either learn from it and move forward or quit and never experience real wealth.

Stay the course and don’t let failure derail your path; learn from your from your mistakes and you will be successful.

Wealth Trap 5: The weak social circle

Wealth-building is as much a mentality as it is a practice—it’s a part of who you are. It stands to reason, then, that you will share your wealth-building goals and ambitions with your friends. But if those friends are constantly questioning that ambition, maybe it’s time to find friends who support you.

Friends come and go. That’s the nature of life. What you’re doing is too important to you—and to those you care about—to let your social circle hold you back. So don’t let them, and if you hit a “social circle expiration date,” don’t be afraid to start fresh.

Wealth Trap 6: The victim and negativity trap

Some people love to play the blame game. Do you know anyone like that? They stew in their own victimization and point the finger at others who are (purportedly) the cause of their pain.

Don’t play that game. Victimhood leads to blame, apathy, and general malaise. It’s hard to move forward with a positive vision when you’re locked into this kind of negativity.

Wealth Trap 7: The know-it-all-trap

As you experience success, it’s tempting to think you’ve got this wealth thing down pat. You don’t. There’s always more to learn, and there’s always room for growth.

The illusion of absolute knowledge and what I like to call the “expert syndrome” is a death knell for upward mobility. It limits your curiosity and hinders teachability. You’ll never be done building wealth, so don’t pretend you’ve got it in the bag.

The biggest obstacle to successful wealth-building is you. Don’t let the wealth traps above be the reason why you don’t make the impact you want in the world you care about. Wealth-building is far too important for that.

Matt KingComment