Vincent Chan

The 4 Money Habits You Need

Welcome to reThinkable – my weekly newsletter where I share actionable insights to build a wealthier and healthier life.

I had an exhausting weekend – my airline lost my bag with my filming equipment. Apparently, airlines lose bags all the time.

Thankfully, I had an AirTag in my bag so I was able to easily find it.

 If I didn’t, my holidays would’ve been ruined.


Here’s what we’re covering today:

💰 Where did all his money go?

🎯 How to build good money habits

🔑 How to make this stick

Estimated read time: 5 minutes and 4 seconds

💰 Where did all his money go?

I have a friend who makes $125,000 a year but lives paycheck to paycheck. And he’s not alone. Nearly half of Americans earning $100k or more do this.

But what surprised me the most is this:


1. He’s single

2. Has no kids and

3. Lives in a “low cost of living” city

So what the heck is going on?

Most people, who want to become financially free, focus too much on how much they earn. When in reality, they should focus more on how much they spend.

The problem is, most people don’t understand what actually influences our actions. We think our mental state, mood, and feelings dictate what we do but that’s wrong.

In reality, most of our actions are habitual, meaning our habits play a crucial role in our lives.

1. If you make a habit of eating a vegetable-heavy diet, you’ll be healthier

2. If reading is a habit, you’re likely to be smarter

3. If being frugal is a habit, then it will be easier for you to save

The problem is, building good habits is hard.

And building good money habits is even harder.

But there is a way to do it. 

🎯 How to build good money habits

Before I show you how to build good money habits, here’s 4 that we need to focus on.

1. Saving

2. Budgeting 

3. Investing 

4. Consistently learning 

Being able to turn these 4 things into habits will allow you to prepare for unexpected expenses, take advantage of life changing opportunities, and significantly grow your wealth.

Here’s how to build good money habits

1. Choose a cue: This will be something that prompts a specific behaviour

2. Pick a routine: This is the behaviour you want to turn into a habit

3. Choose a reward: If you successfully execute your routine, this is the reward you get

If you always forget to invest money, here’s what you can do:

1. Cue: Get notified after your paycheck hits your bank account

2. Action: Transfer $200 from your checking account to your investing account, which automatically invests in a S&P 500 index fund

3. Reward: Treat your to an Apple AirTag for $1 (jk)

On a more serious note, the reward could be “treat yourself to a chocolate cake.” People struggle to build good habits because good habits aren’t fun. But rewarding ourselves make our brains perceive the actions as pleasurable rather than as a punishment.

But let’s be honest: setting up a good habit is the easy part. The hard part is making these good habits stick for a prolonged period of time.

🔑 How to make this stick

Having a cue, action, and reward isn’t enough to make good habits stick.

Here’s what you need to also do:

1. Make It Easy

For every habit you’re trying to build, start small. If your habit feels like digging a huge hole, you’ll likely quit.

Example: If you’re not used to reading, you’ll struggle to build a reading habit if you start reading a hundred pages a day. Instead, start with just 2 pages. Then slowly increase to 3 pages, then 4 pages and so on.

2. The Two-Day Rule

It’s natural to take a break from building a good habit. Maybe you’re too exhausted, or just forgot to do it. The trick is, don’t beat yourself over it. 

However, follow the Two-Day Rule and don’t take off more than a one-day consecutive break. If you skip more than 2 days in a row, there’s a significantly higher chance you’ll skip the 3rd, 4th, and 5th day.

3. Build Structure

A lack of structure is a recipe for failure. To build more structure, you need to:

4. Make Not Doing “It” Uncomfortable

Our brains will do anything to avoid painUse this to your advantage by making it more painful to skip a habit than to do it.

If your habit is to save $500 every month, set up a punishment trigger if you fail. How?

Give your friend a valuable item of yours. Then tell him he can keep it if you don’t send him a screenshot of your bank transfer at the end of every month.