Four Mental Barriers That Stall Your Financial Success

How to Overcome the Roadblocks Keeping You from Reaching Your Goals
Kathy Longo, CFP®, CAP®, CDFA Friday, 06 March 2020

Four Mental Barriers That Stall Your Financial Success

We’re well into the New Year, and it’s time to check in on your financial resolutions. If you feel your resolve beginning to falter, you’re not alone. In fact, research suggests that about 80 percent of New Year’s resolutions are dead in the water by February. Why does this happen? Let’s delve into four reasons your money goals may be stalled.

Financial Detachment

We live in a digital world where we auto-pay most of our bills, use apps to make purchases and swipe debit and credit cards far more often than we handle cash, write checks or visit banks. This digital reliance means we are more disconnected from our money than ever, making it all too easy for us to lose track of our finances. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average American only spends two minutes per day managing their finances.

What’s the solution? Start by checking your accounts on a weekly basis so that your financial goals will remain top of mind. It’s easier to feel connected to and motivated by your savings goals, for instance, when you’re logging in to see your account balance frequently. You can take this a step further by naming your accounts in ways that reference your goals, too – think “first house” or “dream retirement” rather than “savings”.

Bad Influences

Your spouse, family members, and close friends can influence your financial decisions heavily. This sometimes happens without your conscious thought – you spend a lot of time with someone and you begin to align your habits and values with theirs. If you have a spouse who doesn’t share your financial goals or friends who engage in retail therapy every time you’re together, it can be difficult to maintain your resolve to reach your own goals.

If you find this happening, you don’t need to cut all ties with those closest to you. Instead, be vocal about your goals and ask for their support and encouragement.

SEE ALSO: Optimism is Lucrative


Oftentimes, financial goal setting requires you to make changes in your habits or lifestyle in order to achieve your objectives. While this type of change is usually for the better, it can still be scary. Changing one aspect of your life will sometimes produce a snowball effect in other areas, meaning that going after your financial goals could change your relationships, your career trajectory or how you spend your free time. In addition to the fear of change, some people also struggle with fearing financial success. It may sound counterintuitive, but it’s a legitimate problem for people who grew up believing that money was bad or that they don’t deserve to be well-off.

However, having fears and insecurities about money doesn’t have to stop you from succeeding. Set your sites on your goals, take baby steps toward them, celebrate your small wins and continue pushing forward. If you aren’t sure you can do it on your own, build a supportive relationship with a financial advisor who will put your best interests first.

SEE ALSO: The Value of Experiences Over Things

Misplaced Focus

It’s easy to get caught up in goals that society tells us are typical of the American Dream – a big house, shiny car or fancy vacations, for example. You need to ask yourself, though, if these things are truly your priorities. Maybe you want to maintain a modest home and retire early or travel frequently in lieu of owning property and settling down somewhere. Whatever goals you set your sights on, make sure they’re your own. If you don’t focus on your unique needs and wants, it’s difficult to remain motivated to accomplish your goals.

If your financial resolutions seem to have fallen by the wayside already, it’s not too late to get back on track. Understanding the barriers that stand in the way of your money dreams – and actively working to overcome them – is a great way to reinvigorate stale financial goals.

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About the Author

Kathy Longo, CFP®, CAP®, CDFA

Kathy Longo, CFP®, CAP®, CDFA

Kathy Longo brings over 25 years of expertise and experience to Flourish Wealth Management. Kathy is wholly dedicated to improving the life of each client and finds joy in making complex matters simple and easy to understand. She excels at asking the right questions, uncovering new possibilities and implementing the most advantageous strategies for success. Playing such a pivotal role in her clients’ lives remains an honor and a privilege. After earning a degree in Financial Planning and Counseling from Purdue University, she began her career at a small firm in Palatine, Illinois where she worked directly with clients while learning to build a viable, client-centric business. Over the years, she gained extensive knowledge and wisdom working as a wealth manager, financial planner, firm manager and business owner at notable, various sized companies in both Chicago and Minneapolis.


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