You may have noticed that this site is sometimes about psychology. It’s the most important part of wealth. That said, here are some things that may be holding you back.
Not Making Enough Money
What’s that expression? You can’t squeeze lemonade out of a dead horse? A dead horse cannot be coaxed, squeezed, or cajoled into producing lemonade. All efforts at obtaining lemonade from this animal will be futile. If you make less than $25,000 per year (the bottom of the middle class) then the same goes for you and money. It’s just not happening.
Going Shopping for Fun
There are two types of people that go to the mall regularly. Young people that spend their money foolishly, and old people that need a comfortable place to walk around and get exercise. Malls aren’t the best way to buy things because there’s likely a cheaper alternative and you can probably get better service elsewhere. I’m not saying the mall is the devil or anything, but Satan would definitely shop there if he needed a new pitchfork.
“Ugh I’m so bored. There’s nothing to do. I guess I’ll just go to the mall.” If spending money is a pastime, the money can easily be put to better use. It’s easy to get hooked on that rush when we buy something new. There’s a “wow!” sensation and a “this is mine!” feeling that’s not quite like anything else. It’s weird, right? Why should something that was once on a shelf in a store suddenly and magically make us feel differently because it’s now in our hands? If it has some immediate utility, sure, ok, but that’s not the feeling I’m familiar with. It’s more like a “Now I get to have it! Hahaha!” kind of feeling. It still happens to me when I buy things, but now I know it will wear off.
Thinking “Just A Little More Will Make Me Happy”
“If I could have just one more pair of shoes, just a slightly better car, if I could just have a little more money, then I would be set!” Probably not. It’s statistically improbable and psychologically unlikely. Look at it this way, when have you NOT wanted more in life? Even when we have everything we need, we still have the thought “A little more would be nice though.” Stuff, and money, do not bring us happiness. Realizing that is just a milestone on the path to a certain kind of maturity with money.
Still not convinced? Think about this. How much money do you make right now? What kind of car do you have, how big is your apartment, and how many things do you have in your house? Have a good idea of all of the stuff you have (that still hasn’t made you happy enough)? Great. Now remember where you were five to ten years ago, or however long ago it was when you first entered the workforce. How much money were you making then? What kind of car did you have, how big was your apartment and how many things did you have in it? So what happened there? People’s earning power grows with time and so do their spending habits. Happiness stays about the same. Study happiness to be happy. To make money, study that.
Always Wanting the Latest iPhone/Android/Technology
“Oh my gosh! The latest iPhone is 0.1% faster and has a slightly different color than the last version! I just have to have it!”
When friends or colleagues show off their new toy, it’s “normal.” Spending all of your money, being in debt, and working for “the man” until you’re 65 is also normal.
Thinking Credit Card Debt is “Normal”
It’s not that friends and colleagues purposely hold you back, it’s that they don’t know any better. If credit card debt seems fine and it seems like everyone has some, then it’s because of the people we socialize with. That’s how we judge what’s normal. It’s hard to find rich, frugal friends because there are so few available and because sometimes they hide by never talking about money. Sometimes they stand out though. Look for people who ride their bike to work everyday, own an old model car, and bring their lunch every day (when you know that they make a decent salary and can afford more).
Complaining About Money
As a child, crying is quite useful when there’s a loving parent to come to the rescue. As an adult, it makes people want to stay away from you.
Here’s the thing about complaining. If you’re complaining about something, then you’re not spending that time trying to improve what you’re complaining about. Rich people are not complainypantses, they’re doers. Next time you want to be a jerk to someone when they complain about something, you can just ask, “What have you done to improve that situation?” and “What books have you read to learn about that?” Those are real crowd pleasers.
Spending Close to What You Earn
Being rich doesn’t automatically mean you have to own your own company or make millions of dollars. Many rich folks started out as middle class working folks – they just invested wisely and lived below their means. It’s not the only way, but it may be the easiest way. It means not investing only 10% of your income – it means investing 50% or more of your income. Whether you get to that 50% mark by spending the same and earning twice as much, or by earning the same and spending half as much doesn’t matter.
Thinking Investing is Dangerous
“Oh no, I couldn’t invest. I might lose my money!” If you think you could lose your money in the stock market, you’re absolutely right. People that haven’t learned what an index fund is or what staying invested for the long term through a recession is will lose their money.
Most people’s money is lost anyway though, by default. Ever get a bonus and buy something with it? A new couch, a bigger TV, a fancy dinner at the local French restaurant “Le Très Très Cher?” If so, that money is gone now and it won’t be invested. For people that know the basics, investing is safer than buying more stuff. The return on investment for stuff is always less than 0%.
Thinking Expensive Vacations Are Awesome
Well, actually, expensive vacations are awesome! Cheap vacations are awesome too though. So if you’re going for maximum enjoyment for your dollar, try saving some money instead. Vacations are fun because they’re about new experiences, about relaxing, about doing new things, and about being with people we love. All of those things can be accomplished while sleeping in a hostel instead of a 4-star hotel. Most of those things can be accomplished nearby instead of halfway across the world after an expensive flight.
Believing Rich People Are Just Lucky
In fact most rich people work for their money. A belief that they don’t and that you can’t is a major obstacle that will prevent you from becoming rich. You’re right that most people can’t become rich, but you’re wrong about why. Most people can’t become rich because they believe they can’t and therefore don’t try hard enough.
Thinking Rich People Don’t Care How Much They Spend
“Man, when I’m rich, I’ll just buy whatever I want!” Yeah, that’s a thought we’ve all had at some point. It’s false. People that stay rich don’t spend without thinking. Wealthy people generally spend more time thinking about their money. There is more of it to think about, after all.
Thinking A Windfall Would Help
“If I could just get a bunch of money at once (lottery, inheritance, bank heist, whatever), then I would be set for life!” No, not really. If you don’t know how to manage your money now, you wouldn’t know how to manage it then. Really you should be thinking “If I just knew how to manage my money then I would be set for life!“
Eating at Restaurants for Fun
“But I love restaurants! They’re so fun!” Not as fun as being rich!
Want to be rich? Change how you think about the things mentioned above and change what you do with what you have. The money will follow.