What Motivates You to be Financially Responsible?

By in Guest Post, Personal Finance | 19 comments


Enjoy this creative article written by Dave Mateer at Money In The 20s where he writes about investing, personal finance, and life after college to help 20 somethings plan now so they don’t pay later.  The post is part of a collaborative endeavor by members of the Yakezie Network, the world’s largest network of personal finance and lifestyle blogs. This month’s, topic for our blog exchange is “What Motivates You to be Financially Responsible?

When you’re done reading this article, head over to Money In the 20s and check out my article on the same topic.

This is an interesting topic because it truly made me reflect on my past and ponder my future.  After taking some time to think this topic over, I came up with two key reasons that motivate me to be financially responsible.  These two reasons are PAST FINANCIAL MISTAKES and RETIRING YOUNG.

Past Financial Mistakes

 As I reflected on the past, I wanted to see if there was a specific moment or event that made me want to be financially responsible.  There is one point in my past that clearly sticks out above all the rest.  During college, I grew somewhat addicted to gambling.  My friends and I started playing poker once a week.  However, as time went on, I had the urge to play more often.  As a result, I began to play online poker nearly every night.   

When I got bored with playing poker, I would start playing online casino games. 

When I got bored with playing casino games, I would start betting on sports. 

I think you get the pattern… I’m not sure of the exact amount of money that I lost, but if I had to guess I would say $4,000 over 2.5 years. 

I started to see why so many people struggle with an addiction to gambling. It truly can ruin your life if you don’t get it under control.  However, I never felt the need to seek profession help, and luckily never needed it.  I was able to rationalize what I was doing and where it would lead me if I kept gambling.  That was all I needed to kick my gambling habit. 

That is by no means my only past financial mistake.  Check out my post Financially Stupid Decisions After College – Buying a New Car to read about one of my other past mistakes.  I hope I can help others avoid this mistake!

These missteps truly motivated me to get myself under control financially.  

Now, I can proudly say I no longer gamble and haven’t for quite some time.  I’ve matured well beyond my college years!

Retiring Young

I can’t bear to think about working until I am 65.  Currently, I am 25 years old and working for another 40 years just isn’t in my plans.   To be honest, I just don’t know that I will even be alive at the age of 65.  I can’t imagine saving for retirement the next 40 years only to never get a chance to enjoy it.  I don’t want to be the guy that saved his whole life and died on a giant nest egg.  

 I want to retire young so that I can enjoy retirement to its fullest.  I can think of quite a few things that I would like to do in retirement.  

First, I would like to spend a substantial amount of time traveling internationally.  The only places I have traveled internationally to date are Canada, Mexico and Argentina.  However, Argentina was for work and I didn’t have much time to explore.  I would really like to spend some time in Europe and go visit the town in Italy that my Grandma grew up in before immigrating to America. 

Second, I would like to get more involved in community service.   Third, I would like to run a full marathon.  Running a marathon is something I couldn’t even fathom doing right now.  There just doesn’t seem to be enough time in the day to train for one. I could go on with a long list of ideas for retirement, but I won’t bore you with that.

I struggled while writing this post because I wasn’t sure I wanted to discuss the gambling issue. However, it actually feels good to share because it’s not something I talk about often.  I’ve found that sometimes you just have to make mistakes to learn a lesson. 

My mistake taught me a valuable lesson about financially responsibility that I will never forget.

Barb’s comment; Dave’s disclosure is certainly a reflection of growth and strength. Acknowledging a mistake, dealing with it, and moving on is a key trait of successful individuals.

For a quick overview of Investing Strategies, pick up my FREE eBook; 20 Minute Guide to Investing (top right of the page). If you like what you’re reading, sign up for my RSS feed or email subscription and follow me on twitter so you get the word immediately.  

What are your reasons for being financially responsible? What obstacles have you overcome in your financial journeys?

image credit; MJ’s photographs


  1. It takes a lot of courage to admit one’s mistakes publicly. I’m glad you kicked the habit and took control of your life.


    April 8, 2011

  2. There’s no reason to be ashamed of having bad habits in the past. You didn’t hurt anyone (except yourself) and you did a great job of moving past it. Congratulations!

    Kevin @ Thousandaire.com

    April 8, 2011

  3. More people learn from their mistakes than their successes! I am glad gambling is over for you. Being financially responsible can be boring and certainly predictable. I made a career out of it. I spent most of my career as a CFO where being financially responsible is not a choice. I used my talents and skills to advance my career. The rewards that come along professionally and personally keep you motivated to act responsibly.


    April 8, 2011

  4. Traveling would be a great way to spend early retirement years! Sorry to hear about the gambling phase you went through! Just out of curiosity, do you see much of a parallel between investing in risky individual stocks and casino gambling? Just was curious if it feels the same sometimes or not….

  5. Thanks everyone! It was definitely a mistake that I learned from. I appreciate all of the kind words.

    @Jacob – Yes, I would say there is a parallel between risky investments and gambling… That is probably why I like to invest a small portion of my portfolio in options. I guess I just have a tolerance for risk and that isn’t always a good thing as you can tell from the gambling issue.

    Dave @ Money In The 20s

    April 8, 2011

  6. I agree… I really dont want to work another 39 years myself…

    Pat S

    April 8, 2011

  7. I’ve only been investing in options for a few months and I am in the red right now. There is a lot of volatility with options.

    If you are interested in them, I highly recommend you read a book so you fully understand them. I read Options for Beginners and Beyond.

    Dave @ Money In The 20s

    April 9, 2011

  8. @Dave-Seems like selling covered calls is the safest way to go. There are also lots of programs where you can practice without using real cash. It’s important to understand, most options strategies are highly speculative.


    April 9, 2011

  9. I agree Barb. Options are probably too speculative for most people to invest in. I would recommend using a simulation/program to practice without real cash. And, if I did use real cash, I would only contribute “play” money (small amounts of money that you can afford to lose) to options.

  10. Dave. First of all congratulations for sharing and being so open about your personal motivations. This is the kind of story that allows readers to relate and find inspiration.
    Second, I think identifying your motivations at such an early age is gold. Now, with a clear picture of what you want, you will surely be able to accomplish your goals before the 40 years you’d have to wait for retirement. In fact, knowing what you aim for will help you speed un the process even further, because you’ll have the focus needed to accumulate and be consistent.
    Third, and this one is for Barb, congratulations on inviting Dave to post. I think this is one of the best ways to allow your loyal readers to have access to other perspectives on the topic and it enriches your content. Well done!

  11. @Jacob-Great summation. There’s so much to be aware of in the financial markets, that adding options to the mix for most is another way to increase your money to greater risk.
    @Eduardo-I really enjoyed this guest post as much as my readers. Dave exemplified what blogging is all about. Sharing ones experiences and learning from them and hopefully helping others along the way.


    April 10, 2011

  12. I’m looking to retire young as well. And I don’t mind working while I’m retired but I just don’t want to be required to work to survive. I think 45 is my goal age.

    LaTisha @FSYAonline

    April 10, 2011

  13. @LaTisha-Starting young and saving and investing wisely will set you on the right path. Good luck.


    April 10, 2011

  14. To me, it’s about avoiding being super old and having to work. I can tell you that my overall energy level at 40 is not what it was at 30, much less 20. Not that I’m bad off or anything in that way, but it’s inevitable that we will age. It can’t be easy to work when old. I don’t want to because I have to, only because I want to. To be in that position, it’s all about saving and investing.


    April 11, 2011

  15. I so agree with you about the thought of working until 65 being painful to think about. I want to work, but the more I deal with Corporate America and the older I get the more I would like to venture into some more flexible lines of employment.

    Denise @ The Single Saver

    April 12, 2011

  16. What a fantastic guest post! I am financially responsible to give Future Evan choices! Whether that is to do the job I want to do, take vacations when I want to take them, etc.


    April 12, 2011

  17. @Squirrelers, Denise, and Evan- It seems like the opportunity to choose and have options is a key motiator for all. I look at money as providing freedom and choices! And I agree that this is a superb guest post!


    April 13, 2011

  18. If an instance in a past which is perhaps a mistake has evolved you into a financially responsible person, it’s fair enough to thank that incident. It is necessary to make sure a mistake is not happening for the second time and a plan is followed properly. Thanks for such an inspiring blog.

    Alex Hung

    April 19, 2011


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