Are you where you want to be with your money? Maybe you tell yourself you’re too busy to start investing at the moment, you’ll do it after the summer. Or that saving can wait, you’re too young to worry about it. Whatever lies you’re telling yourself about money, in truth they’re holding you back from financial success.
Our lives become what we repeatedly tell ourselves. If you keep repeating money lies, instead of becoming the money savvy person you aspire to be, you’ll stay right where you are.
We make excuses for ourselves when we don’t want to face the underlying issues. But ignoring them won’t make them go away. In fact, it will probably make things worse.
Stop telling yourself these 4 things if you want to achieve financial freedom and live the life you want.
I’m the person who….
…is terrible at managing money…
…Loves shopping for a bargain…
Self-definition is a tricky thing. Our self-definition is our beliefs about ourselves, including our attributes and who and what we are.
We are what we tell ourselves we are and this reflects in how we choose to live. We get into trouble when our self-definition is tied to spending. Then it becomes a money lie.
For years I told myself I was the woman who had a new outfit for every special occasion. It meant I was constantly on the hunt for a new dress, which even at thrift shop prices quickly added up.
Thankfully, our self-definition isn’t a stable thing. It can change over the course of our lives as our priorities and interests adjust, as we grow wiser, have a family etc.
But it can also be surprisingly defining at a given moment in your life. If you’ve ever tried to change a habit and found it excessively difficult, it could be because it was tied to your self-definition.
For example if you think of yourself as the person who hates exercise, but then decide you want to get fit, it’s not as simple as just starting an exercise program. First you need to let go of the self that hates to exercise which is pretty hard to do.
Often when we want to change spending habits that no longer serve us, we come up against our selves. These selves don’t want to change, but until they do, becoming the financially savvy person we wish to be will be much harder.
…to buy myself what I want, seeing as I have to go to work…
…it, I’ve been working so hard…
The difference between thinking “I deserve it” and “do I really need it?” can add up pretty fast.
You definitely deserve to spend money in ways that secures your financial future, supports your goals, provides for your needs and enhances your life. Everyone does.
But you don’t deserve to spend more than you earn. Or money that is set aside for another purpose like a holiday or a house deposit. Or money that’s not yours.
Thinking you deserve something is an excuse to spend money unnecessarily. It’s a money lie that also implies that the only way to live a good life is by spending money. And that you can even make up for your time, by buying things.
Ultimately this just traps you into a cycle of having to work to earn more.
Money does allow you to enjoy your life, but spending it to compensate for having to go to work or working hard is not a healthy way to take care of yourself.
It’s time to change your thinking about what spending can do for you. When you work hard, you need to find ways to recharge and relax that don’t negatively affect your financial situation.
I don’t really care about money…
…it’s not what’s important in life…
…that’s why I’m not bothering to ask for a raise…
Most of us despise money, because it often controls our thinking in destructive and counterproductive ways. So it’s easier just to tell ourselves we don’t really care about money.
And if we don’t really care about it, then we don’t have to worry about how we spend it. Or increasing our net worth.
At times I’ve told myself this lie, that money doesn’t matter to me. It’s meant I’ve failed to ask my boss for a raise, settled for low paying freelance work and even failed to invest.
The problem is that money is a tool that gets you the things you want in life. It gets you independence, whether that’s from work or the bank or your parents.
Financial freedom doesn’t have to mean striving to be a millionaire or retiring at thirty, it just means being in charge of your life, not money. Wanting that isn’t being materialistic or obsessed with money. It’s wanting security, choice and stress free living.
If you accept that’s what you want in life, then you need to start playing the money game – spending less than you earn, saving and investing the difference.
Money Is Freedom
Money is not freedom. That’s the surprising money lie no. 15 in Peter Koenig book, 30 Lies about Money: Liberating Your Life, Liberating Your Money.
That took me aback. After all, isn’t financial freedom synonymous with having enough money that you get back all your time? This is diametrically opposed to everything I believed up until now.
Koenig believes you are free in the present moment, not in a future one. By busily doing stuff to win your future freedom, you’re actually sacrificing diminishing your choice in the present. It’s a bit like saying ‘I’ll be happy when…’
After a recent discussion with my husband about our goals, it became clear how much we would need to sacrifice to retire a few years early. Basically, we would need to give up what is a very good lifestyle.
So I get Koenig’s point. Money in itself is not freedom. I think his message is, create the life you want to live now.
I have a feeling Richard Branson would agree.
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