Examining your beliefs about money
Could What You Believe Make You Wealthy? Or Poor?
by Gary Foreman
The Subtle Psychology of Credit Cards
How You Relate to Money In Retirement
Rational Financial Behavior
For ages, mankind has speculated on the power of the mind. You can find quotes as old as the Bible "As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he." Or as new as "The Secret" proclaiming the "law of attraction." Wise men of many philosophies and faiths have thought that what we believe has an influence on who we become.
Could the same be true for our financial affairs? Could it be that the things you believe are conspiring to keep you from accumulating wealth? If that's true, what kinds of thoughts could be holding you back? And, if so, is it possible to replace them with ideas that would help you to reach your full financial potential?
Consider these ideas that could be holding you back.
- You believe that you can't accumulate wealth on your salary. If you're spending your entire paycheck, it's easy to believe that you'll never build any savings. How could you possibly save hundreds of thousands when you're barely making it to your next payday now?
- You think that money is evil. It's a common belief. An often misquoted Bible verse is that "money is the root of all evil." It's actually the "love of money is the root..." Religious people of many faiths believe that you should separate yourself from the world and its riches. So accumulating wealth is something to be avoided.
- You think that you don't deserve any money. You may think that a big bank account is the reward you get for being a good person. And, if you're like most of us, you have a few things in your past that aren't a source of pride, so it's easy to believe that you don't deserve to have any money. In fact, it would be wrong for you to have a growing bank account or IRA.
- You think that all rich people are dishonest and unethical. Many believe that anyone who has accumulated money had to lie, cheat, or steal to get it. That makes your poverty something to be proud of. You chose to be virtuous and poor rather than rich and thieving like them.
- You think that rich people are just lucky and you are not. It's reinforced every time you see a new mega-lotto winner announced. Accumulating money is a matter of luck. And, since you can't control luck, you have no control over the fact that you're still poor.
- You think that you'll lose friends or family if you accumulate money. You've had friends achieve some success and gradually disappear from your life. You wouldn't want that to happen to you, so you equate accumulating money to losing your friends. Therefore the best strategy is to make sure you don't build up any net worth.
Whether you believe any of those six negative financial thoughts or you just want to take control of your finances, consider taking these five positive financial thoughts to heart.
- You are not your money. You are not valuable as a human being because you have money or because you don't have money. You shouldn't judge yourself or others that way nor should you let others judge you.
- Recognize that money is just a convenient way to store wealth and make trading possible. It's just a tool. Use your rising wealth as a way to measure whether you're achieving your financial goals.
- Having money or lacking money is not a virtue or an ethical lapse. Any sweeping generalization of the rich or poor is wrong and bigoted. There are good and bad rich people and good and bad poor people. Judging people solely on their wealth is wrong and could trap you in a false money paradigm.
- You determine who your friends are. Accumulating money doesn't have to change you or your friends, especially if you don't flaunt your wealth in front of them.
- You can affect your financial future. It is not solely up to luck. Many people accumulate wealth by saving just a little each month and letting it accumulate. It may be hard to save money on your income, but it's probably not impossible.
Scientists, philosophers, and theologians will probably debate how our thoughts affect our future for years. In the meantime, you won't hurt yourself by thinking good money thoughts. Who knows? Perhaps what you think will help you accumulate millions!
Gary Foreman is a former financial planner and purchasing manager who founded The Dollar Stretcher.com website and newsletters in 1996. He's been featured in MSN Money, Yahoo Finance, Fox Business, The Nightly Business Report, US News Money and CreditCards.com. Gary shares his philosophy of money here. You can follow Gary on Twitter or visit Gary Foreman on Google+. Gary is also available for audio, video or print interviews. For more info see his media page.
Take the Next Step
- Make sure you're getting the best CD rate. Use our simple CD tool to find out. It's completely private, easy to use and you'll know what rate is available to you in seconds!
- Have a financial question? Get free answers from financial experts.
- Reach your investment goals sooner with investments personalized and managed for you. Get started for free.
- Get control of your financial life. Subscribe to Financial Independence, a free daily email that provides you with the tools to help you gain that control and achieve financial independence. Subscribers get a copy of Are You Heading for Debt Trouble? A Simple Checklist for FREE!
Share your thoughts about this article with the editor.
Debt from my past is preventing me from saving for my future! Tell us: Yes, debt is hindering my ability to save and I could use help dealing with it! or No, debt is not a problem but I am trying to get ahead financially!
More Money Tips & Tools
- Could you be losing thousands of dollars a little at a time?
- Is your financial behavior rational? Or not?
- Avoiding the 'same as cash' trap
- Saving-money secrets of the rich and frugal
- 5 low-risk ways to earn higher interest now
- How to save money fast
- 7 IRA withdrawals that don't trigger a penalty
- This week's Readers' Tips