5 Money Fantasies That Make You Sound Financially Stupid

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3. “I’m going to take my small business on Oprah.”

Congratulations on starting a small business! Guess what? Oprah is not a business plan! You can write to her ten times a day for the next ten years and she will not care one whit about your coconut flan delivery service.

It’s true: Everyone who goes on Oprah becomes an instant bestseller. But you’re more likely to win the lottery. (See above.)

What You Should Act On Instead: Don’t wait for Oprah–just get started. Create small goals, and pursue them every day (even if it only takes you five minutes). It works: Debbi Fields, the founder of Mrs. Fields cookie company, broke her business’ earning goals down to the hour to keep track of her progress. Genevieve Thiers, founder of SitterCity, stresses the importance of presenting your business before it’s perfect–the trick is just to have something, anything at all.

4. “It’s okay to splurge on this because I deserve it.”

What you deserve and what you should buy are two different things. Everyone who goes through labor and delivery deserves a “push present.” That doesn’t make it a smart purchase nor does it really make any sense. If you have the cash to spend, then great. But “I deserve this” statements reek of ill-earned smugness.

Yes. You deserve it. We all deserve it. That doesn’t mean you automagically get it.

What You Should Act On Instead: The occasional splurge isn’t a bad thing. The trick is learning how to splurge right. Splurges should be purposeful and give you joy, which will flare and fade at the same rate regardless of whether you spend $5 or $500. So the trick is to make your “splurges” small and frequent–to extend the fun without breaking your budget.

5. “I’m going to marry rich.”

“Becoming a Real Housewife of Beverly Hills is nice,” says Graff. “But it’s not a career goal.”

It really drives me crazy when my friends act powerless even though they actually have the keys to the success they want right in the palms of their hands. You don’t have to be Snow White, waiting for your prince to come. You can be Dorothy Gale, and click your heels together three times whenever you want.

What You Should Act On Instead: Become your own support system. Whether or not there’s a prince in your life, prioritize building the vehicles that will get you where you want to go: your emergency fund, your retirement fund and your savings account. Don’t know where to start? You’ve come to the right place. Our 50/20/30 rule can help you set up a budget, and our free Money Center and app can help you track where every dollar goes. You’ll be donning those ruby slippers in no time.

Financial FantasiesAmy Keyishian has been a staff writer for Cosmopolitan Magazine, a freelance writer for Glamour, Self, Maxim and other magazines, and now blogs for LearnVest as well as Recipe.com and Kveller. She lives with her family in San Francisco. 

  • Engchik

    Thank God i don’t say any of these things!!! well, ok, maybe i’m slightly guilty of saying i’m writing the next bestseller…but i write so much and have a decent following that is just a personal goal. If money is attached to it, then great!

  • http://theWardrobeCode.com Nicole Longstreath

    Fantastic advice! The easy part is dreaming up the big idea – not many get past that. But not many actually intend to get past it either.

  • Marie

    Great advice. I like the Action Items that accompany the money fantasies. I have heard people say all of these, and even thought a couple (very fleetingly!) myself. Much better to focus on taking the steps you can each day than to indulge in this thinking.

  • Jaedwards4

    Well THIS was convicting!!! My husband and I have different ideas of managing our money and I have been dreaming of winning the lottery to “solve” or unresolved differences in this subject matter. And actually thinking about it now, I am thinking that winning the lottery would probably just make matters worse! While I would be trying to pay off our debt, he’d pull up in a new Jag!

  • Goldberry

    I guess these dreams are even more attractive when one can’t find a good job and saving isn’t an option.  Good luck to everyone else out there who is looking for work!