Love and money, money and love. When it comes to making changes in one’s life, especially in the middle years, most people want to change either their financial situation or their relationship situations. The problem with both areas is that we tend to come with a lot of baggage, really a lifetime of thoughts that have been melded along the way. Together, let’s explore how to think about money.
Why We Get Caught Up
If you have never experienced something in your life, it’s easy to learn about it from several different points of view. Learning about something new comes with few or no preconceived notions.
When I think of pottery, I have several images that come to mind: the potter at a wheel, pottery in a kiln, pottery for sale at an arts and crafts show or farmer’s market, and giant pottery pieces that sit in the lawn and garden section of home improvement stores. If I think really hard about it, my plates might be considered pottery. I bought them at a big box store years ago, but if someone who knew about pottery told me they were pottery, I would easily accept it.
Why would I accept that? Because I am not a potter and while I know some things about pottery, I am not really invested in the subject. Heck, I just googled it and most ceramic tableware is a form of pottery formed through injection molding that allows for mass production. Cool. Learn something new every day, right?
But does this change how I think about my plates? Well, I may notice it a little as I load the dishwasher over the next couple of days, but not really. I’m not invested in pottery. I have plates and cups and appreciation for pretty hand thrown pieces, but that’s the extent of it. No big shift in my life because I do not often think of pottery.
Now let’s look at money. How many times a day do you think about money or financial related things? And what is the gravity of the thoughts?
For instance, if you have plenty of money in the bank, you may not think twice about pulling out your debit card at Starbucks for that latte and muffin. If you can easily afford it, it’s low stakes. And yet your mind still equates the swipe of the card with money. (If you are starving and have absolutely no money or food, you probably aren’t fixated on a $5 coffee and $3 muffin because $8 can go a lot further in a supermarket.)
In high gravity thoughts, the stakes are much bigger. Situations where you can no longer pay your rent or mortgage have dire consequences. Even people with healthy savings accounts can feel the gravity of needing a new transmission in their car or sudden unemployment. High gravity money thoughts occur often when those types of situations arise. You may not think about missing a cup of coffee and muffin often after it was denied, but if you are facing a financial disaster like foreclosure or giant medical bills you can’t pay, they tend to come to the mind repeatedly. In fact, just try to stop thinking about them.
How long have you known money existed? Pretty much your entire life, right? Pass out dollar bills at a preschool and the kids will get excited, I promise. Money is a lifelong thing, have it or not. Our thoughts about money have been molded and shaped by those around us for a very, very long time. Even if you come from a family that didn’t think it was polite to talk about money, kids are great at overhearing. They are also good at noticing. We didn’t always recognize it at the time, but almost everyone noticed a parent or other adult checking out the price before buying something or seeing them want for something that was financially out of reach.
There are so many money thoughts that surround us on an everyday basis. Advertising is always about the money, spoken or unspoken. There are promises of deals that help you get what you desire, or in the case of luxury items such as high end cars, the idea that if you have to know the price you can’t afford it. Money, money, money.
What a Dirty Subject
Many of us come with the additional baggage that money is a dirty subject. One of my friends growing up was easily sixth or seventh generation wealth. Her parents bought cars with cash, took long trips on whims, and never looked at the prices of anything they bought. Yet they considered money a taboo subject. You never brought it up, you never talked about it.
In our house, though soundly middle class, you never talked about money either, mostly because no one wanted to hear a fight. Most of our family fights revolved around money in one way or another. Fights between siblings, fights between our parents, and the fights between parents and one of the kids almost always boiled down to money. (The other subject was boys, as we were all girls, but that’s for another day.)
Check out our popular expressions about money:
Money is the root of all evil.
Money doesn’t grow on trees.
More money than sense.
Pay through the nose.
Money makes the world go ’round.
Money isn’t everything.
The list could go on and on, but you get the point.
Changing Our Thoughts about Money
Many people never change their thoughts about money. They take whatever beliefs they have, good and bad, from the cradle to the grave. For some, this serves them well. For others, it inhibits them from living the life they truly desire, even to the point that they don’t let themselves even dream about these desires. The majority of people want more money. That’s why the lottery jackpots grow and Publisher’s Clearinghouse has its sales gimmick. If there wasn’t an overpowering desire for more money, lottery jackpots would cease due to lack of sales and Publisher’s Clearinghouse would find a new game.
Here’s the kicker, though. If you have a set of beliefs about money that does not serve you and you do not change them, more money is not the answer. Statistics from the National Endowment for Financial Education are listed in several online lottery related articles stating that 70% of lottery winners are broke within just a few years. Wow.
I can clearly remember the first time I encountered the truth that different people had different thoughts about money and that it was possible to change those thoughts. I picked up a copy of Rich Dad, Poor Dad by Robert T. Kiyosaki. Talk about an eye opener.
My next read was The Millionaire Next Door by Thomas J. Stanley and William D. Danko. This opened my eyes to how differently I perceived who was a millionaire and who was not. The idea that there were millionaires in my middle class, blue collar neighborhood was shocking to me. The notion that the high income, white collar neighborhoods tended to spend their money on luxury items and status symbols, often at the expense of their savings and net worth challenged my outsider beliefs.
When you think about it, you can see the signs. We’ve all seen professional athletes and musicians that filed for bankruptcy or read their stories of foreclosure. When the money rolls in, they think it will roll forever. They buy giant mansions that have a hefty tax bill, then when the career is over, if they have not developed a wealth mindset and diversified, they can’t pay the taxes. (Just one example, there are plenty of other reasons too.)
Learning about investments, portfolio diversity, depreciation, and other mechanical pieces of wealth is just a part of the puzzle. You can read all the books it takes to understand them, but if you do not change your mindset along the way, it will do you no good.
Change Your Beliefs
You must go back and change your core beliefs, or your paradigms about money. You must realize that you are the one in control of your wealth. And that can be really challenging. It’s easy to think, “When I get that raise” or “if they just gave me a decent bonus.” Those are outside factors, just like winning the lottery or having a song bust the Top 40 charts.
So how do you change your models and beliefs about money? Personally, I read book after book, learning the mechanics, but while I did improve my financial conditions, I did not solve my core problems because of my beliefs. I was too emotionally tied to money. I let it dictate and control my mood, my circumstances and my life. And while I am still reaching for my financial goals, I accept that I create my wealth and I dictate my mood. I control my money and financial life, not the other way around.
A few years ago, I took a Bob Proctor master class. I cannot remember the name of the master class, but I still have the program in storage. And it wasn’t just Bob Proctor, Mary Morrissey co-hosted the program. I’ll tell you three secrets about the class: 1) My husband and I fought over how much money I spent for “some compact discs and a workbook” 2.) My husband had to be cajoled into doing the program with me 3.) We changed our lives and reference it often
Learn How to Think about Money
The May event has passed. The next one will be in October and I will update details as they become available.
On May 4th – 6th, the Proctor Gallagher Institute is hosting a teaching seminar in Los Angeles with Bob Proctor and Sandy Gallagher called Your Paradigm Shift. The event is available for a live stream attendance (with a fourteen day window for replays if you miss a segment or want to hear something again). It’s a full two and half days to help you identify and shift your paradigms.
Even if you would “never consider” streaming such an event, I urge you to click the button below and visit the page. There is a powerful video and a full page of information on paradigms and beliefs. Watch the video and read the information. It can help you change how you think and will definitely give you ideas to ponder. Click Here!
Have you challenged your thoughts about money? What kind of changes did it bring about? I’d love to hear about it.