5 Lies That Were Sold as Rules for Financial Success

There’s no shortage of advice – including many on how to achieve financial success. While some of this advice is solid, there are also several common misconceptions or “lies” that have been presented as foolproof rules for success. In this article, we’ll debunk 5 such myths and explore the truth behind them.

teacher giving instructions not to cheat

In everything, there’s no shortage of advice – including many on how to achieve financial success. While some of this advice is solid, there are also several common misconceptions or “lies” that have been presented as foolproof rules for success. In this article, we’ll debunk four such myths and explore the truth behind them.

Lie 1: “Stop Using Your Phone to Start Working”

couple hugging and using smartphone near sea on sunset

Phones are always regarded as distractions and unproductive. In fact, this is often shoved down as “advice” from parents and older generation.

In the age of smartphones, it’s become increasingly common to hear about people using their devices to earn extraordinary incomes. Whether through app-based businesses, social media influencer gigs, or online trading, the message seems clear: put down your phone, and you’re leaving money on the table.

Truth: While it’s true that smartphones offer opportunities for income generation, it’s a mistake to believe that merely using your phone will lead to wealth. Ultimately a phone is a tool and like any other tool, it only amplifies the ability of its user. Success in any of these endeavors requires dedication, skill, and, often, creativity. Instead of quitting your smartphone, decide on the tool that you’ll want to excel at and focus on doing that.

A clear example is Mr. Beast. He may not have used his phone to succeed but replacing the phone with YouTube (these are just tools), it can clearly inferred how value can be extracted depends on the user. Here’s an interview with him that evidences this.

Lie 2: “Start Investing, ASAP”

Another common misconception is that everyone should start investing. Any losses will be negated through long term hold as history has proven. In fact, it is the basis of the prominent dollar cost averaging strategy where an investment held long enough will provide substantial growth.

Truth: Investing can be a powerful wealth-building tool, but it’s not a guaranteed path to riches. As we have investigated in detail here, history has shown that the losses can be substantial and may only recover after long period of time. Again, as we detailed in the article, it may prove to be just an easy and efficient marketing gimmick.

Before you start, it’s crucial to educate yourself about different investment options, risk management, and financial goals. There’s no need to rush; take the time to learn and make informed decisions that align with your unique financial situation.

Lie 3: “Start a Side Hustle for Extra Cash”

marketing exit technology business

The idea of starting a side hustle has gained immense popularity as a means to boost income. Whether it’s freelancing, selling handmade crafts, or driving for a ride-sharing service, side hustles are often presented as a surefire way to financial success.

If you’re not doing a side hustle, you’re doing it wrong and you’re never gonna succeed financially.

The media

Truth: Side hustles can be a great way to supplement your income, but they’re not the only option. Entrepreneurship is not for everyone, and there are various ways to increase your earnings, such as negotiating a higher salary, investing in education, or finding innovative ways to save.

In fact, a radically efficient approach is to simply focus your efforts on your main job, expand your scope and increase income by either climbing the corporate ladder or changing companies. It centers your attention at 1 thing, instead of splitting them across different streams. Of course, the context matters and if you’re finding success in whatever you’re doing, stick to it.

Lie 4: “Always Buy a Home; It’s the Best Investment”

white and red wooden house with fence

A prevalent myth is that homeownership is the ultimate financial goal, and buying a home is presented as an unequivocal path to wealth and success. It is preached as the American Dream – get a job, get a house and rear a family.

Truth: While owning a home can be a valuable asset, it’s essential to consider factors like location, market conditions, and timing. Renting can offer flexibility and opportunities to invest in other assets, like stocks or bonds, which may yield better returns.

Another reason why this may no longer be applicable is because of the nature of work. Gone are the days where we can simply work in 1 location. Globalisation has made it more competitive and the global trend of travel lust have relocation more attractive. Getting locked in for >20 years in a home mortgage no longer makes sense and coupled with the hassle of purchase/sale, home ownership is less of an advantage now. Renting instead presents valuable options.

Lie 5: “Follow your passion and put in hard work to succeed”

The only way to do great work is to love what you do.

Steve Jobs

Steve Jobs gave this quote almost like a parting gift and it has found its way often into mainstream media and self-help books. It advocates for the need of doing your passion at work in order to excel and succeed. It romanticizes the idea and dream of working on your hobbies and likes. It almost seem like a marketing ploy. However, we think the following might be a better interpretation.

Truth: The quote objectively mentions 2 points: doing great work and loving what you do. We think that these are extremely important but not necessary in the same spectrum as what Steve Jobs put it in. It is much more important to do great work compared to loving your job – it is good to not hate but yet excel in whatever in you are doing. Only doing great work can provide value to others and help you succeed.

Manage the spectrum and intersection of doing great work and your love for the task.


It’s essential to critically evaluate commonly touted rules for success and they may be crafted for a reason. Success is not one-size-fits-all, and what works for one person may not work for another. Rather than blindly following these myths, take the time to understand your unique financial situation, set realistic goals, and make informed decisions. By doing so, you’ll be better equipped to navigate your financial journey and achieve your own version of success.

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