Written By Rheanne Burns, Former FLP Foundation Partner in Service; Copywriter
There are many different attitudes and beliefs surrounding money. It can make it difficult to define how you actually feel. Beliefs are ingrained in us from a young age, whether that’s consciously or unconsciously, and they shape our views and attitudes. What you believe may not actually be your own belief. Often it’s what you’ve accepted because the belief has been passed down from generation to generation.
No one talks about it so the cycle is never broken.
How lame is that?
Let’s take a look at some popular beliefs about money, and some different perspectives that embrace the positive aspects of money.
1.) “Money doesn’t grow on trees.”
If I’d received a dollar every time I heard that message growing up, my retirement would already be funded by now.
This belief implies a message of scarcity, lack and confusion. It’s saying that money will eventually run out, along with I’m not sure where to get more of it. Now those are some depressing thoughts. Yes, money literally does not grow on trees but it is out there waiting for you to claim it. If it wasn’t, there wouldn’t be 18.6 million millionaires and 705 billionaires in the U.S. alone. Their money is coming from somewhere, and you can get in on the action too. Take your idea and use it to start a business or spend time developing a marketable skill. Just do whatever you can to invest in your success and you can achieve results.
No one talks about it so the cycle is never broken.
2.) “Money is the root of all evil.”
We’re giving an awful lot of power to money here.
So many people believe this to be true. They think money turns good people into bad people, that it corrupts, it makes people greedy, and generally just ruins things. That sounds a bit extreme.
Money itself isn’t evil. In fact, it has the potential to do a lot of good in the world. The root cause of evil lies in the choices people make in how they spend their money or allow it to influence their behavior. Money cannot make people do anything. Those who use money to further their own agendas had those agendas to begin with. People put money on such a pedestal that they allow it to be the ultimate deciding factor in many important personal life decisions and often, in cases of social injustice.
Oddly enough, Mark Twain actually said that “the lack of money is the root of all evil.” In my opinion, if you believe Twain, it’s the fact that people don’t have money that makes them do evil things to get it.
3.) “Living in poverty is noble.”
I’m honestly just going to call this ridiculous.
Ask someone who truly lives in poverty, with no other choice, how noble they feel. I’m going to guess that’s not how they’d describe it, and they probably spend time thinking about how they can change the situation.
Living minimally is one thing, but it still means that you can afford the basics. There is nothing glamorous about living paycheck to paycheck, believe me.
Henry David Thoreau states that “wealth is the ability to fully experience life.”
Having wealth allows you to do the things that are meaningful to you, such as give to charity, travel, volunteer, experience new cultures, etc. Yes, you can give your time to a cause but it can be hard to find time depending on your situation. Wouldn’t it be easier to do the things that are important to you if you had the means to do so and didn’t have to worry about how you’re paying your rent (or mortgage) this month? I think yes, so stop glamorizing being broke.
4.) “Wanting money makes me greedy.”
There’s this weird notion that if you want to have a lot of money, you must be greedy. Or that people who do have money are greedy.
That isn’t necessarily the case. I will concede that there probably are people who want money for the sake of having money. They’re the exception, not the rule.
Most wealthy people donate heavily to charity, have their own foundations or scholarships, and use their wealth to make a difference in the lives of their family and others. They want to leave a legacy for the next generation so that they don’t struggle but also so that they can do great things too. Having more means you can give more, and most wealthy people do just that.
5.) “You have to spend money to make money.”
People always claim this one. Usually to justify why they’re spending money they shouldn’t be.
If you are starting a business, you absolutely have to spend money to make money. But it doesn’t have to be all of your money, or put you into debt. There are smart ways to begin an entrepreneurial path without going broke. Find a mentor or talk with someone you know who owns a business and they will be happy to give you pointers.
The other example of this is with investing. You have to have money to invest long-term though. The market will have ups and downs, so you will effectively lose money while you’re making it. But you shouldn’t be investing if you don’t even have an emergency savings available.
These are just some of the common, mostly negative, beliefs that people have when it comes to money. But just because you’ve heard them before doesn’t mean you have to believe them. You can change your perspective, focus on the positive aspects, put in some effort, and transform your financial life.