Having worked in financial services since 1987, I have met many financially successful people. I have also come across the others who simply don’t get it and become financial failures for life. Most successful people I know will have aspirational financial goals. Others are happy with goals to achieve a moderate lifestyle. The key is to have goals backed up by a plan to achieve them.

If you don’t have a plan, you will more than likely fall into one of the three groups of financial failures that I have listed below. Keep reading and you’ll see that I have added some simple tips to break away from what is holding you back.

1 – The ‘Gunners’

You know who I’m talking about! The people who are always going to do something about their financial life but never get around to do it. (Gunner do this and we’re gunner do that!)

If you think you are one of the gunners, remember ‘A plan to have a plan is not a plan’. You have to be committed to getting a plan in place. My recommendation is call a financial adviser right now and lock yourself in for an appointment.

The trouble with gunners is the lack of commitment. The only way to overcome this problem is to lock yourself into a course of action. If you are a gunner, stop reading and set that appointment up. If you’re not a gunner, continue on.

2 – The ‘She’ll be right’ brigade

These are the people who live life from week to week without a worry in the world, at least early on in their life. When you get to my age, you soon find that the ‘She’ll be right’ brigade are now very worried indeed. They find themselves like rabbits in the ‘financial’ headlights with no idea of what to do next.

If you are in this brigade, my recommendation is to take some time out. Start looking at your financial life and swallow some harsh reality pills. For example, for a comfortable life in retirement a married couple would need an income of $58,784 and a lump sum of $640,000 to generate this income.  (Source Super Guru and ASFA September 2015) The longer you take to get started, the harder it is to build a nest egg that will keep you comfortable.

The key is to promise yourself to make a change. You may find some of the challenges ahead to be daunting. It may seem much easier to put your head back in the sand, but that will only make life tomorrow more difficult than it is today. Start with some general reading, find a good adviser and you’ll soon be making some financially informed decisions.

3 The ‘Lifestyle creep’ army

This is a little more complicated to explain but stick with me. On the outside, this army of people look very successful. They have progressed their careers and earnings and they also progressed their lifestyle spending. This army drive around in the latest flash cars in designer clothes and regularly take up lavish holidays.

The big trap for the lifestyle creep army is a sudden end to their success. Generally, your 40s is the best decade of earnings. However, if you lose your job (your industry could go through a down turn), finding a new comparable job is hard. However, your lifestyle continues burning up the small amount of savings you have. The savings are small because buying flash cars and designer clothes are massive wealth destructors.

The best tip for this group is ‘Park your ego’. Take some time out and discover the joys of life that don’t revolve around your status symbols. You might have to drop some friends who will put pressure on you to keep turning up at trendy restaurants in the latest fashions.

It doesn’t matter what group you may find yourself in, the challenge is to take time out to change. Change is much harder that you may think, so make sure you get some strong support, someone who will hold you accountable to your financial goals. Ideally this will be a financial adviser you can trust. You can make a start with our guide for finding a financial adviser that is right for you.

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