“Change your thoughts, and you change your world” Norman Vincent Peale

 

“Above everything else, guard your heart; for it is the source of life’s consequences.” Proverbs 4:23

 

Have you ever noticed that two families can have the same income and same number and age of children but live very differently? One family can have a relatively affluent lifestyle while the other is barely making ends meet. What causes this enormous difference? The answer is the decisions we make about our personal finances. This includes our decisions about household spending, household budgeting, investment planning and retirement planning. In short, the difference is how the two families think about money.

Poor people have fundamentally different attitudes about money than wealthy people. I am sure we all know someone that always quickly returns to poor status even if they somehow obtain wealth in the short term. They just can’t hold on to money. On the flip side, I am sure we all know someone that always quickly returns to wealthy status if a negative event wipes out their prior fortune. My premise is that this is not a matter of luck, but instead is a matter of attitudes about money that makes the difference.

So how do we all learn to think about money like a wealthy person? How do we learn to leave the stinking thinking of a poor person behind?

First, we must learn to recognize that many of our beliefs about money, when and how to spend it, and why and how we save it are not correct. These beliefs have been placed in our psyche by external sources, advertisers, marketers, and others with their own for profit agendas. We must learn how to identify these external influences that pollute our personal financial belief system. We must stop the stinking thinking.

Second, we must re-examine our concepts of needs verses wants. What most of us believe we need has been greatly influenced by Madison Avenue’s advertising executives. Are you content with advertising executive hands in your wallet or would you like to regain control? Let’s learn how to make sane purchasing decisions.

Third, we must re-examine our need to have everything now. We must learn the benefits of patience. Owning everything through buying on credit is not true ownership. Instead we own nothing and the banks own us and the benefits of our future income. We have become slaves working to pay off debt.

When did it become “Ok” to be in debt?

Forth, we must re-examine our concepts of security and normalcy. Many feel that working for a big, well established corporation equates to job security and safety of future income. This “normal” view has been proven to be quite incorrect in the current economic downturn. Just like the “normal” desire to own a big house (and subsequent big mortgage) has bankrupted many families. We must learn that we are the only people we can count on – not a corporate job, and not a bank financial officer telling us what we can afford. Size does matter, sometimes smaller is better.

Fifth, we must re-examine our concepts of retirement and savings for retirement. Retirement is an obsolete concept that poor people cling to. The traditional concept of retirement is stinking thinking. Wealthy people work to achieve financial serenity in order to do the things they enjoy much earlier in life. Why wait for a retirement age? Learn how to defrost your frozen dreams as soon as possible.