About 2 years ago, I decided to start a business. In doing so, I was startled by the realization that I had a fear of money. I discovered that was afraid to fall in love with it- that it would change me, that I would lose it all once I attained it, and that being rich would negatively affect my relationships.

As a lover of simplicity, it seemed to me that people with a lot of money became blinded by all the shiny things it afforded them. It seemed as though rich people would sell their souls to attain success only to find themselves wishing they had a simpler life. Little did I know, I was falling prey to the money myths that are keeping us poor.

During the process of building my business, I learned that not only is it possible to make friends with money, but that it is necessary in order to be financially successful. Let’s face it, even your only goal in life is help others, it’s nearly impossible to do that without money. I’ve always wanted to do everything from the goodness of my heart and make a significant difference in the lives of others, but I’ve learned just how much it costs to do such a thing.

On my journey to becoming friends with money, these are some of the misconceptions that I had to retrain my brain to think differently about.

The Myth: Money is evil.

The Truth: It’s a resource.

Money itself doesn’t corrupt people; it’s their motives behind attaining it that corrupts them. This misconception often makes people feel guilty for desiring to attain money. I had to stop viewing money as a gremlin that bribed us with fancy things in exchange for our happiness. It was imperative for me to view my relationship with money as a partnership: without it, all of my life’s goals are merely daydreams that will never come true.

Money is not the goal; it is a medium through which to accomplish the goal. The purpose of money is to fund your life’s purpose, to enjoy an abundant and blessed life, and to be a blessing to others. Using it for impure purposes is abusing it. And what you abuse, you eventually lose.

The Myth: It’s obvious who has money and who doesn’t.

The Truth: You could be standing behind a billionaire in the Goodwill check-out line and not even have a clue.

I grew up in the “look like money” era of the late 90s/ early 2000s, which further contributed to my disgust of the rich life. And unfortunately, that mindset still contributes to the prevalent possibility that a person could be a millionaire one day and begging for bread the next. We’ve made the mistake of assuming that buying expensive things and having a large cash flow equates to wealth.

As Robert Kiyosaki teaches, “It’s not about how much money you make, but how much money you keep.” As soon as we make money, we want to look like we have it. But looking like money is expensive. Those who have a healthy mindset about money invest first and spend later. They live below their means while building wealth. This is how a co-worker who makes the same wages and works the same amount of hours as you do could have a six-figure net worth and still show up to work every day. Financially successful people aren’t concerned with “wearing” their money; they focus on making their money moves that will pay off in the future.

The Myth: You need multiple jobs or a big raise to make the money that you want and need.

The Truth: You may just need a budget.

At one point in my life, I had four jobs simultaneously. Four! I knew I had to do something. I decided to get disciplined with the money that I did have coming in and researched how to construct a monthly, weekly, and daily budget. It was a bit time-consuming, but the time I spent budgeting allowed me to cut out 2 of my jobs! Not only was I still able to pay my bills, but I even had money left over to put into savings every week.

It’s so dangerous to think that you don’t have to budget just because you have multiple streams of income or you’re making good money. You still need to tell your money where to go. Even millionaires have a budget. Not to mention, there are so many free apps and budgeting worksheets available that lay it all out and make it super easy. For most of us, it isn’t making money that’s the problem, but managing it.

The Myth: Most wealthy people were born rich.

The Truth: Most millionaires are self-made.

It’s easier to assume that a person was born with money because it makes us feel more comfortable about our current financial situation. It removes the responsibility from us and gives us someone to blame other than ourselves.

According to the book, The Millionaire Next Door, most millionaires are first-generation affluent and became wealthy in the absence of a trust fund or help from parents. Although it’s ideal, it’s not your parent’s responsibility, or anyone else’s for that matter, to set you up to succeed financially. A person with a healthy money mindset never sees themselves as a victim. They use their discontentment with their current situations to motivate them in the right direction by taking responsibility for changing the things they aren’t happy with.

Poverty begins in the mind. Even if you secure your dream salary or win the lottery, you could lose it all in the blink of an eye if you don’t have a healthy mindset about money. The first step to financial success is becoming financially literate. Don’t be a prisoner to your assumptions about money. The more you know about effectively using money as a resource, the better equipped you will be to accomplish your financial goals.

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