4 Negative Money Beliefs That Are Hurting Your Financial Success

4 Negative Money Beliefs That Are Hurting Your Financial SuccessYou’re smart and hard-working, but for whatever reason, you can’t quite reach where your ambition tells you to go.

Of course, this is not all on you.

Real wages have remained stagnant for decades while living expenses rose with inflation. If you weren’t born into a well-to-do family, then upward mobility might feel as out of reach as the people who champion trickle-down economics.

Systemic issues aside, your money mindset matters a great deal as well.

Is it possible that your views of money are holding you back from enjoying greater financial success and living the life you want?

Let’s find out. See if any of these four common money mindsets apply to you.

Negative Money Belief #1: All Rich People Are Evil.

When you equate wealth with moral bankruptcy, your natural inclination is to avoid becoming rich (and by extension, avoid becoming someone you’d despise).

The Reality:

Are there people who did unsavory things for the sake of money? Absolutely.

Are there people who trample others on their way to success? You bet.

Just like not all people from a particular race or religious background share identical personality traits, not all rich people are evildoers either.

If you look hard enough, you could find benevolent multi-millionaires in every charity golf tournament and on every beach in Barbados (alongside their less philanthropic counterparts). They do exist.

The possession of wealth doesn’t change who you are. It simply magnifies the characteristics you already have – the good and the bad.

If you’re a narcissist, more money will enable you to buy a larger pool of “yes people.”

If you’re someone who volunteers at animal shelters in your spare time (my idol, really), wealth will empower you to do even more good deeds – donating more of your money and time.

Or, like me, you’re somewhere between Mother Teresa and Bernie Madoff on the morality spectrum and enjoy the simple pleasures in life. Being wealthy will grant you lasting financial peace and the foundation of generational wealth, which are priceless if you ask me.

What To Do:

Find a role model who exemplifies the values and principles you want reflected in the best version of yourself, whether it is a celebrity or someone you actually know.

Learn as much as you can about them – their upbringing, their motivations, what makes them successful, and most importantly, how they give back to society.

Once you are able to decouple wealth from immorality, you’re ready to emulate your role model and get on your own path to success.  

Negative Money Belief #2: Financial Success Can Happen Overnight.

If someone believes that they could become an instant millionaire, they wouldn’t be eager to put in the work necessary to actually become a millionaire the old-fashioned way — working hard, saving, and investing.

I know someone like that. In all the years I’ve known them, they’re constantly on the hunt for the next big thing, and taking shortcuts whenever possible.

A decade later, they’re still chasing after their ever-shifting dream.

The funny thing is, this person is actually pretty capable, and if they would just focus on one goal and take the slow and steady route in life, they probably would’ve achieved much greater things by now.

The Reality:

If wealth were easily attainable, we’d all be rich.

Behind every success story are years of late nights, internal struggles, and humiliating rejections silently endured.

Achieving something worth achieving is hard. Pushing through is the name of the game.

There’s a quote by Li Ka-shing I adore so much I posted it on our fridge.

Li Ka Shing quote - Casual Money Talk
My Chinese handwriting still looks like that of a 6th grader.

It roughly translates to this:

If you want an ordinary life, you face ordinary challenges. If you want the best life, you’re bound to face the toughest challenges. This world is fair – before embracing the greatest success, you will be dealt the greatest pain.

Wealth is grown, like a tree. It can take years of cultivation and dedication to see it blossom and bear fruits.

What To Do:

We’re wired to chase after short-term gratification. A potential reward 10 years from now is unlikely to get you excited, especially when the going gets tough.

So set mini-goals that are easier to commit to.

Although progress will be slow-moving at first, as long as you keep trudging along, you will actually be heading somewhere, instead of walking in circles.

Negative Money Belief #3: If You Want to Be Rich, Then You’re Greedy.

Too often, I see parallels drawn between aspiration and greed.

This is downright misleading.

The Reality:

Merriam-Webster defines “aspiration” as a strong desire to achieve something high or great.

Merriam-Webster defines “greed” as a selfish and excessive desire for more of something (such as money) than is needed.

Both are about having strong desires to achieve. The difference lies in whether you’re driven to accumulate wealth beyond what you need.

This begs the question — what do you need in life?

  • How about enough money for you and your family to live off of?
  • How about a carefree retirement?
  • How about wealth for your future generations?

Yes, you’re allowed to need (not just want) those things. It doesn’t make you greedy.

I would also argue that greed isn’t attached to a specific dollar figure. Rather, it has more to do with your intentions and state of mind.

You’re only greedy if your sole focus is the number of digits in your net worth and the influence that money wields over others, rather than the intrinsic benefits that money could bring.

What To Do:

Don’t be shamed into thinking that wanting more than the bare minimums to survive on means there’s something wrong with you.

If you put in the effort, you’re entitled to enjoy life, and leave a legacy behind.

Surround yourself with people who’re helping to build you up and encourage your success, not those who try to tear you down with vitriolic rhetoric the minute you make a smidgen of advancement in life.

Negative Money Belief #4: I Will Never Be Rich. Why Bother Trying?

When you’ve been stuck in the same economic lot for too long, and all your efforts to climb out of the hole have gone futile, it’s hard to imagine life being any other way.

The Reality:

To put it simply, if you try, you will be more prosperous than if you didn’t.

Let me try to convince you.

Wealth doesn’t follow fatalistic predictions. Wealth is the reward for value creation, and that’s as true for large corporations as it is for you and me.

Value is something that people need, want, can’t live without, and are willing to pay for.

Companies create value by offering useful products and services. We, as people, rely on our expertise.

Regardless, value isn’t concocted haphazardly out of thin air – it requires research, trials and errors, strategy, and relentless grunt work. You have to try very hard to create value, basically.

But because it is so highly desired, if your work does bring value, wealth is bound to follow.

This is why you should bother trying.

What To Do:

Figure out the intersection between what you’re good at, what you’re interested in, and what makes money.

This is now your specialization. Take up courses, gain relevant experiences, attend seminars, read papers – do everything you can to become an expert in it.

If you’re willing to invest in your future that way, it would be difficult not to become more successful.

Onward and Forward

If you’ve held negative beliefs about money, it can be hard to move beyond those limiting thoughts and embrace your own financial power.

By understanding them and cultivating newer beliefs conducive to success, you too can find wealth on your own terms.

Just remember that setbacks are expected on the road to success, so don’t let them knock you off the path.

I smell great financial success in your future!

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Category: MindsetMoney For Beginners

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Article by: Flora Pang

Flora Pang aspires to become someone who plants trees in their spare time, writes thank-you notes to strangers, and serves in UN peacekeeping operations around the world. But to date, blogging about personal finance remains her only contribution to society. You can catch her rambling about money on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and (to a lesser extent) Pinterest.