- John Mavrick
My desire for financial freedom has acted as a double-edged sword. It’s allowed me to put in the hours towards various entrepreneurial ventures, but it has also led to questionable decisions and mindsets that have harmed my financial security and growth. Fortunately, through my perseverance and desire for change, I was able to overcome such obstacles; in fact, my greed from gambling, impulsiveness from materialism, and ignorance while investing have proven to be invaluable learning opportunities to shape my current financial philosophy.
Gambling at 11 years old
Though it may seem strange, I came across my first financial pitfall when I was merely eleven years old. The unquenchable rapacity manifested by my gambling addiction has educated me on the catastrophic effects of greed. Inspired by the reactions of lucky individuals winning life-changing amounts of money through gambling, I yearned to experience similar feelings of wealth and euphoria. Without any hesitation, I put in $5 on a roulette website, and didn’t expect much out of it. Surprisingly, I had managed to get to $200 by continuously betting all my money at once, to which I forced myself to stop and cash out. However, my greed overwhelmed my rationality; within a few days, I decided to put all my winnings on the line on a single coinflip. Miraculously, I had won, and I kept betting the same amount until I had reached $800. I felt exhilarated after seeing my $5 exponentially grow, but I still craved for more. Within a few minutes, I had ended up losing it all. Experiencing such a downfall was morally devastating, and I was unable to comprehend the reality of the situation. Despite my conscious attempts to refrain from such gambling activity, I occasionally relapsed and kept putting in my own money throughout the following months, totalling approximately $200 from holiday gifts and taking surveys. Through this destructive addiction, I realized the compulsive danger of greed; instead of being content with my earnings, my gluttony glorified the possibility of multiplying my money while ignoring the unlikelihood of such an event. Thankfully, by experiencing the damage greed can cause first-hand, I feel less inclined to take such similar risks again in the future; my $1000 loss may have been catastrophic at the time, but it is incomparable to learning such a lesson later on in life and have life-long debt. Furthermore, I have also become more grateful for my current economic status. Although my greed for money may have diminished, a different form of greed continued to threat my financial security.
Instead of deriving pleasure from my financial wealth, I indulged in materialistic possessions. Fortunately, rectifying my history of impulsive materialism has positively changed my mindset towards money. A concerning application can be found in my video-game spending habits; not only have I spent excessive money on a high-end computer, various gaming systems, and the countless games I have purchased to play, I also spent hundreds of dollars on mere cosmetics and micro-transactions. As a result, I enslaved myself to consumerism, impulsively purchasing whatever limited-edition items had garnered my attention, no matter the costs. As of writing this, video games are undoubtedly my highest lifetime expense, and this obsession has caused me to neglect other aspects of my life and has prevented me from saving money for the future. Fortunately, by being reflective of the harmful effects my financial motives manifested, I decided to restructure the way I spend my money and determine value. Nowadays, I try to be more thorough and rational when making financial decisions; I consider whether such an investment would help enhance my monetary or personal growth. If I deem the purchase valuable, I will then go on to do extensive research to find an affordable yet functional option. An example of me exercising this newfound principle is the purchase of my new camera. Although it was an expensive purchase, it meets my criteria of value; I am able to record videos with it to upload to Youtube as a potential source of income, and with it I am able to intricately capture memorable experiences in my life. Thus, instead of viewing money as a luxury, I now perceive it as a resource to further build my wealth and opportunities.
Although I had adopted an intelligent mindset towards wealth, my inexperience has left me prone to financial ruin. By relying on the advice of others and failing to do my own due diligence, my inexperience in the stock market led to poor investment choices. Wanting to build a source of income, I plunged into the complexity of the stock market but was quickly overwhelmed by the different terms, stocks, and strategies. As a result, I sought guidance through online resources like investing subreddits and news articles to see the investing choices of others. After seeing multiple users recommend a certain stock, I decided to allocate a portion of my portfolio to the stock, and within a few weeks, it had doubled its share price. Feeling confident in the research of others, I began to build my portfolio solely off of the choices of others without doing much of my own due diligence. Unfortunately, after investing heavily in renewable energy and tech at all-time-high price points, the stocks began to plummet, and I had little clue as to why; it was only a few days later where I realized that it was due to the increase in treasury yields and the Texas power failures. I had no foundation to back my investments off of, and as a result, I kept searching for reaffirming messages about the stock, distorting my vision to the blatant downfall occurring right before me. Rather than bathe in my gloominess, I used my emotions and newfound motivation to accept my losses and reevaluate my investing strategies. Nowadays, I do my own research when choosing stocks to buy by paying attention to the news and considering company statistics. Additionally, I have realized the uncertainty of the stock market, and am now more favourable towards reputable companies that will provide consistent and steady growth.
Rather than face permanent economic ruin, my economical adversities have cultivated various aspects of my financial mindset. Firstly, my misfortune with gambling has mitigated my greediness. Second, my impulsive consumerism has transformed into a rational view towards money. Lastly, instead of finding shortcuts for my inexperience in the stock market, I have developed a safer and more knowledgeable approach to investing. By viewing my experiences as learning opportunities rather than failures, I have adopted financially sound mindsets that will prepare me for future years to come as more financial responsibilities arise. In doing so, I am slowly building my foundation for my ultimate goal of financial security and freedom.