12 Money Myths Wasting Your Time and Energy


©Humphrey Yang

©Humphrey Yang

With over 1 million YouTube subscribers, Humphrey Yang has become one of the internet’s most popular personal finance gurus. Known for his investing tutorials and no-holds-barred financial advice, Yang helps debunk misleading money myths that he believes distract people from realistically tackling their finances.

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In a recent video, Yang outlines 12 money myths that he finds particularly problematic. These range from assumptions about debt and financial advisors to beliefs around homeownership, investing and what it means to be wealthy.

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Your Coffee Habit Isn’t Stopping You From Getting Rich

The personal finance industry often cites small daily expenses like fancy coffees as standing in the way of home ownership. However, Yang argues that for most Americans, the largest share of discretionary income gets swallowed up by recurring major costs like healthcare, housing and college tuition. Especially with inflation driving prices higher across categories, Yang believes reducing spending on big-ticket essential items will do far more for the average person’s bottom line than sweating insignificant small luxuries like a daily Starbucks run.

Not All Debt Is Bad

Debt used strategically to increase future income, like reasonable student loans or mortgages, can actually enable wealth building over time. Yang refers to these types of debts as “good debt” — borrowing that pays for itself and then some. The key, he says, is ensuring the debt you take on has the potential to yield returns, rather than simply draining your funds towards interest and purchase depreciation.

You Don’t Need a Financial Advisor To Get Wealthy

Many believe professional guidance is a must if you want to be a serious investor. However, Yang explains that most financial advisors fail to beat the market and self-directed index fund investing. He says advisors best serve those needing specialized services like tax planning or estate management. For investing itself, Yang prefers fiduciary fee-only advisors when seeking guidance, since they legally must provide optimal advice regardless of their compensation.

You Don’t Need to Track the Market Daily

Obsessively following daily market news and stock tickers tends to hurt more than help individual investors. Yang argues the most effective strategy is choosing reasonable, diversified funds matched to your risk appetite and timeframe, then mostly tuning out market noise over the long run. Successful investing requires discipline, not action.

If You’re Young, You Should Still Invest

Yang strongly challenges the notion that investing early is unnecessary. He provides an example where beginning just 10 years earlier leads to over $150,000 in additional retirement savings, even when contributing far less per year. He urges young adults to leverage time and start investing early — as in, now!

It’s Never “Too Late” To Start Investing

Conversely, Yang discourages beliefs that one can be “too old” to benefit from investing. He emphasizes that every year still working counts, and that markets can still grow savings over 10-30 year timeframes. Rather than regretting the past, Yang suggests investors focus on diligently contributing what they can, when they can — no matter their current age.

You Don’t Need To Make a Certain Amount To Take Action

Yang highlights the tendency to put off goals using money as an excuse, like promising to take a dream vacation “once I’m making six figures.” Beyond a reasonable middle-class living, studies show additional income does little to increase happiness. Yang argues we instead focus on values, interests and opportunities that enhance life quality in the present. Financial security enables this, but specific dollar amounts are often arbitrary gatekeepers.

Not All Credit Cards Are Bad

When used conscientiously, credit card points and perks can outweigh their costs for savvy consumers. However, Yang cautions that credit cards also enable and encourage overspending. For those unable to pay statement balances in full, credit cards’ high interest rates can quickly snowball small indulgences into major debt burdens.

Higher Price Does Not Always Equal Higher Quality

Yang points to the common assumption that higher cost equates to higher value. However, both cheap and expensive goods span the quality spectrum, making actual price sometimes meaningless. Yang advises evaluating purchases based on personal utility rather than using high price as a superficial proxy for product quality. Don’t overpay for prestige.

Home Ownership Isn’t Always Best

Yang questions the idea that home ownership is inherently superior to renting. With property prices ballooning, buying a reasonably-sized home now costs almost double renting one in many areas. While buying can build equity long-term, Yang suggests first weighing factors like your timeline, mobility needs and area affordability when considering purchasing property rather than defaulting to chasing home ownership.

The Rich Don’t Always Dress to Impress

Although some influencers flaunt their wealth on social media, Yang says that can often be smoke and mirrors. He explains that the richest individuals often live frugally and maintain a low-key lifestyle in order to accumulate their fortune. Maintaining expensive cars and clothes is more representative of those faking affluence by stretching themselves thin financially.

No One is Born Good With Money

Contrary to the idea that financial skills are innate, Yang argues no one inherently “has it” when managing money. He shares that money savviness is cultivated through education and disciplined habits over time — not gifted at birth. Yang offers several practical steps anyone can take to incrementally improve their financial decision-making. It just takes mindfulness and effort.

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