Wealth Banes: 3 Habits That Will Ruin Your Finances

When I was a little boy, my dad told me that I’ll never be poor if I avoid 3 habits. These three habits are drug use, gambling, and overspending. He calls them wealth banes. As an adult, I have to agree with him. If your life is mired in any of these, your finances will suffer.  I am glad to say that I manage to avoid all three to some extent.


Photo by Adam Baker via Flickr


It was harder to get into trouble with spending too much before credit cards became ubiquitous. Unfortunately, borrowing has been too easy over the past few decades and we are seeing all kind of problems as a result. These problems include:

But you can’t blame this solely on credit card companies. There are also the consumer-oriented media and lack of personal finance education to blame. In general, we’ve forgotten the meaning of the word enough and are trying to live beyond our means.


I do gamble for entertainment purpose, but I do have a strict $100 per day policy when I visit Atlantic City or Las Vegas. In this instance, I am not talking about casual gambling. I am talking about compulsive gamblers who believe that the next bet will be the winner, or that they will have to recoup their losses. Basically, I am talking about people who couldn’t resist the temptation to gamble. Those who crossed the line between entertainment and addiction.

Since the odds are stacked against them, most gamblers do lose money. And those who couldn’t resist the temptation invariably lose a lot more than money. Get help for your gambling addiction before it’s too late.

Alcohol and Drug Abuse

Last of the wealth banes is alcohol and drug abuse. Drugs and alcohol rob you of self-control. They create a bottomless pit that you cannot fill. And yes, they are costly in more ways than most people realize. An addiction can cost you money, harm your health and relationships, destroy your career, and even kill you.

Do you know anyone who is afflicted by these wealth banes? I know a few and it’s not fun when you have to deal with them — especially when they are someone you love.

About the Author

By , on May 25, 2009
Pinyo is the owner of Moolanomy Personal Finance. He is a licensed Realtor specializing in residential homes in the Northern Virginia area. Over the past 20 years, Pinyo has enjoyed a diverse career as an investor, entrepreneur, business executive, educator, and financial literacy author.

Leave Your Comment (9 Comments)

  1. ctreit says:

    As I am reading through this post again, I realize that all three of these habits are addictive. All three can give you a rush and a short-term feeling of exhilaration whose long-term consequences can be disastrous though.

  2. TStrump says:

    While I don’t abuse alcohol, I sure do waste a lot of money each month.
    As a matter of fact, I spent $60 last night and felt terrible the next day.
    I’ve also seen the effects of drug abuse on some talented people – their lives are wasted.

  3. Unfortunately we live in a society where enough is never enough. From an early age children are bombarded with advertisements about things that they have to have. As they get older it never lets up, they are programmed to buy and buy no matter what their financial situation is.

  4. DDFD says:

    Great advice!

    Many of my coworkers are big overspenders– they are so over-extended right now it isn’t funny . . .

    As for gambling, it sounds like you take my approach– a trip to a casino is entertainment that needs a budget. How long can I entertain myself on this $60 before it is gone?

    Alcohol, like anything else needs to be consumed in moderation.

  5. Ryan P Smith says:

    Having riskier investments or being less diversified than you should ought be classified under the gambling rule….

  6. craig says:

    I like your policy on gambling and although I barely ever am at a casino, try to have a similar limit. When setting the limits and having the will power to walk away you can have fun, the adrenaline rush and not go crazy.

  7. Matt Jabs says:

    Drinking leads to overspending & is closely linked to gambling.

    Up until the end of 2008 I was drinking more than I should. I no longer drink at all. I never gambled, but I did overspend and I found that I overspent more while drinking.

    Besides costing a lot of money directly, drinking also indirectly leads to bad financial decisions. When intoxicated all decision making abilities are affected, so it makes sense that avoiding intoxicating beverages will ultimately be a sound financial decision! I am speaking from experience.

    Excellent points Pinyo.

  8. Ron says:

    Great advice. I’ve never even been tempted by the allure of gambling and alcohol/drugs have no appeal to me either, though I do drink here and there.

    Overspending? That’s MY problem in a nutshell.

  9. Mike says:

    Your Dad had some wise words – I think all three of those things are bad if you don’t keep them in moderation.

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