#1 - Money Beliefs
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I’ve been thinking a lot about the idea of why we do the things we do. We have these beliefs about ourselves and our finances. We think them over and over again until we consider them to be truths. We don’t accept that anyone else could view money in any other way. Why? Because our belief is TRUTH. Our belief is the only way it could be. That thought we have about money, it then determines our financial results. We do all of these things because of something we believe to be true about money, good or bad. We will talk A LOT about this concept as the podcast unfolds: your beliefs around money are the reason you are where you are right now financially.
There’s this thing money – and it literally is just a piece of paper, a number in an account, a number on a bill. It doesn’t actually mean anything and yet we make it mean SO many things. And we let those things dictate our lives. We let money drive our decisions. Let’s use the example of monopoly money. It has no value AT ALL. And yet while we’re playing the game, it means SO MUCH. And we do all sorts of things to get more of it. We get excited when we roll the dice. We are frustrated when we go to jail or land on someone’s hotels. We are elated when we land on free parking. Why? Because of what we make the money in the game mean. Not because that money actually means anything at all.
Real money is the same way. Maybe you were told 1000 times growing up that money doesn’t grow on trees. Maybe you witnessed your parent’s financial hardship. Maybe an uncle got a windfall. Maybe you never had any exposure to money at all growing up. Maybe you love money. Maybe you hate money and think its unfair. All of these things have contributed to what you think and ultimately feel about money. Your past and present experiences with money all contribute to what you believe and are feeling right now.
This is something we will constantly revisit throughout this podcast. The idea that our thoughts about money cause our feelings about money. And our feelings cause us to take action. We either want to feel better, so we do something (that may or may not fix the issue, depending on what our beliefs are). Or we want to continue feeling good so we keep taking the action we’re already taking (if we think that will continue to produce results). We’re really simple beings when it comes down to it. We think things and they cause us to feel things. And then we do things to either not feel that way anymore or to keep feeling that way.
So why am I telling you this? We have to accept these basic truths about human behavior before we can continue forward in our financial journey. Why is that you may be thinking? Money weaves itself throughout everything in our lives. So simply doing things because we believe X about money isn’t always the case. We have other beliefs about things in our life that we need money for, so we start to do things with our money because we’re just trying to make the best decisions we can with the money we have. Example, you believe you need to be a homeowner. You were told this as a young kid. You have to own real estate. You may not even know why. Or you may have been told that it’s the only way to build wealth. So you do lots of other things to secure wealth to make a down payment. All of this is actually about the belief you have about being a homeowner, rather than any belief you may have about money itself. It starts to get more complicated, see? There are beliefs about beliefs! Within this specific example, you may also believe that you have to work really really hard to get this money. To the point of putting the rest of your life on hold while you accumulate money. Or maybe you believe its more important to own a home than it is to pay down debts. See, your secondary belief about money will cause the action you take to get the money for the down payment, while your primary belief about owning real estate is driving the whole process to begin with. That’s why its really really important that we understand that our beliefs about money (and really about anything) are causing our feelings and then causing our actions.
So here’s your first homework. What can you do today to learn your own beliefs about money? Brainstorm, what were you taught about money? What do you think about money today? What did you think about it 5 years ago? 10 years ago? Who has influenced you the most? What sorts of things did they say to you? These are all great questions to start asking yourself. The best way to make financial changes is to see where you are right now and what’s driving your thoughts and feelings.