We’ve all heard them before; “Money can’t buy happiness.” “Money is the root of all evil.” “Money doesn’t grow on trees.” These are common beliefs about money. Most of your beliefs around the subject of money are influenced by what you heard and witnessed growing up in your home and society.
Since most of what you learned in your childhood stays with you, are you happy with the beliefs you inherited about money? Statements such as, “Rich people are crooks” or, “Your dad worked hard to pay for your education.” These may have been regularly spoken in your home. Maybe in your family, like many others, no one talked about money. Much like the topic of sex, talking about money would have been considered taboo.
Was money the cause of many conflicts between your parents? Did they use credit regularly? Did they often say, “we can’t afford this?” each time you asked to buy something? Many of these beliefs lie in your subconscious mind. And scientists tell us that our subconscious mind runs ninety-five percent of our thoughts. And only five percent is directed by our conscious mind. This means many of your beliefs around the subject of money are subconscious beliefs – you may now even be aware of them.
Most beliefs around money fall under one of six dominant scripts.
Money is bad.
This belief finds its roots in the bible: “the love of money is the root of many evils.” It clearly states that the love of money is the root of many evils. It does not say that money, per se, is the root of all evil. But it is often misquoted to mean that money causes evil in this world.
Many people do believe that money is the cause of corruption. And that wealthy people are somehow corrupt. How else could they have acquired their money? If you believe this, then it would come as no surprise if you cannot attract money.
Having money will solve all my problems.
Underlying this is the belief that all your existing problems stem from not having enough money. And if you had enough cash, your problems will all be solved. This belief comes up through statements such as, “If only we had more money, we would be able …” or, “it’s easy for her to speak, she has a lot of money.”
It’s not money that solves problems so much as what you do with the money. Money does not innoculate us from life’s ups and downs. Divorce, the death of a loved one, and illness. We all face these regardless of how much is in our bank accounts. How we respond to these events will determine their outcomes.
Money makes me look good.
This belief that having more money will make you look good ties money closely to your self-esteem. That the way you dress, the car you drive, and the neighborhood you live in influences how others perceive you. And that, in turn, affects the way you see yourself. Many of us may not be aware or would want to admit that we believe this.
Studies have shown that their appearance judges people. People who appear to have the trappings of wealth are treated better than those who look poor.
Many of us have bought into this idea. The amount of money spent by companies on advertising is evidence of this pervasive belief. Studies show that society does treat people differently based on their net worth. And the rich appear to get away with a lot more. Are you aware of how you treat those with money and those without?
This belief can drive a person into debt to adorn the trappings of socially prescribed ideas of wealth — branded clothes, the luxury vehicle parked in an affluent neighborhood.
There is never enough.
The mindset of there never being enough money is rooted in fear—the fear of being broke. Interestingly enough, this has little to do with a person’s actual net worth.
Multi-millionaires can still fear that they may lose it all. And be left penniless. People raised in the Great Depression often have this fear of being destitute.
Money requires sacrifice.
The idea that you have to make sacrifices to make money is another common belief. That money is hard-earned. We live in a culture that values drive and effort. With the purpose of financial gain. Successful people working eighty-hour week are admired for their dedication.
Most people believe that trade-offs are to achieve financial success—tradeoffs in time with family and balanced life.
Money is merely a tool.
Seeing money as merely a tool is a healthy way to approach the subject. It does not attach your self-worth to how much you have in your bank account. Neither does it imprison you within a mindset of fear, lack, or limitation.
Money is a tool, and you decide how you want to use it. Money does not corrupt. It can enrich your life. It gives you options. It can be used to help.
Change your money scripts.
If you are not aware of what your beliefs are about money, take a close look at your financial situation as it is right now. It should illuminate your beliefs about money. Are you living from paycheck to paycheck? Do you get into debt to pay for the latest gadgets?
Wealthy people tend to have more positive internal scripts regarding money. Question your ideas and feelings concerning money. Are they true? Decide the place you would like money to have in your life. What new beliefs can you have regarding money that supports this?
Think of wealthy people you admire. What is it about them that you admire? It’s probably more than their money. Their business acumen or ingenuity? Maybe, it’s their insight? People like Oprah Winfrey, Bill Gates, and Jeff Bezos come to mind.
If you are not clear what your beliefs around money are, look at your financial history. It will illuminate some of your subconscious beliefs. It all starts with your mindset. Money is a tool. You get to decide how you want to use that tool.
As Henry Ford said, “Money doesn’t change men; it merely unmasks them. If a man is naturally selfish or arrogant or greedy, the money brings that out, that’s all.” Money is paper, but it is the meaning we attach to it that gives it power. What does money mean for you?
Jennifer Thompson worked in finance and banking for over twenty years. She has published numerous books on money: Women and Money: 7 Principles Every Woman Needs to Know to Be Financially Prepared in Any Economy and Growing Up With Money: Raising Financially Resilient Kids in an Age of Uncertainty.
Jennifer coaches people on how to develop a consciousness for wealth that aligns with what they value. You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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