I’ve studied wealthy people for 40 plus years and helped many of them get richer, and the one trait they had in common is that they always acted as if they believed they could have what they want.
When money gets tight most people do one of two things, they cut down on spending, or rebel by spending money they can’t afford. There is a balance between the two. The last thing you want to do is reinforce a poverty consciousness by acting poor, so to be richer you need to adopt the habits of the rich, but do it in a way that you can afford right now.
Simple habits such as setting the table nicely, picking flowers for your house, or carrying a certain amount of money in your wallet can make you feel richer.
If you are acting like a rich person take note of what you talk about, you can’t talk about how tough things are, or complain about money. It is much better to say nothing. This is not play-acting or burying your head in the sand, it is focusing your attention on what you want.
When something is lacking it’s very easy to get caught in the trap of treating symptoms. Symptoms could be debts, or never having any money left over for you, or possibly always living beyond your means.
When you face your fears they are often not as bad as you think
When I worked as a financial planner one of my clients inspired me to work more with attitudes to money. Myra experienced constant anxiety over money and couldn’t even afford to have coffee with a friend.
My first contact with Myra was on the phone when I noticed how abrupt she was. She was also very tense at our first meeting. For the previous 20 years Myra had not lodged a tax return and she lived in fear of being discovered. Finally overcome by guilt, she confessed, ‘I cannot stand it any longer. I realise I may lose my home and even go to jail. Every time I drive past a women’s prison I think I’ll be in there one day’. When I explained that the worst that could happen was that she would receive a fine, she didn’t believe me.
Another of her problems was that she had barely enough money to live on, although she earned a good salary. She hadn’t been brave enough to fill in a tax rebate form that would have automatically reduced her tax, because she didn’t want to alert the taxation department to her situation.
It only took minutes to assess that Myra had paid too much tax and was due for a substantial refund. We could only find records dating back seven years, and the Taxation Department was happy to accept those. The end result was a tax refund equivalent to $60,000 and no fine as the Tax Department owed her money.
The change that occurred in Myra when she faced her fears was amazing. She had inherited half of her parent’s house, which her sister had been living in rent free for years. When she didn’t have to worry about going to jail Myra sold her half. She started carrying a reasonable sum of money. She bought a new car, new clothes and adopted a new attitude. Myra passed away 15 years years after I first met her and while I was sad to see her pass at a relatively young age, I was happy that I had been able to help her enjoy her life.
Money has no power only the power you give it
As it is virtually impossible to ignore money, make money your slave. Once you master money it no longer controls you and will lose its importance and this is when it’s easy to attract more of it into your life. It is only when there is not enough, or you fear losing what you have, that you worry about it, talk about it, and constantly look for solutions.
Money has a host of myths associated with it, some of these are: you have to work hard to make money; money only comes through work; if you have more than your share then someone will do without; you can’t make money being honest; artists, or certain professions have to struggle; it’s different for some people; money changes people; rich people are snobs; or, you only get one chance.
If you limit yourself by accepting any of these beliefs then your life will not change. Good fortune may fall into your lap but you will lose it somehow. Desire is the most important ingredient and if you want something badly enough you can achieve it. Prosperity is not just about making lots of money, it is being happy with whatever state you choose.
A mistake that some of my friends and I made when we first started practising positive thinking was to believe that if we spent and thought positively, the money would come. Sometimes it did, but mostly it didn’t. You cannot ‘fake it till you make it’ by living beyond your means and running up debts. This is not acting prosperously, nor does it change the real cause of your problem.
The habits of the rich
- Pamper yourself. This encourages you to allow more into your life and as you become accustomed to small luxuries you start to believe you can attain some of your larger goals. Make a list of items that make you feel prosperous. They need not cost money and could be something as simple as having coffee out in beautiful surroundings each week, or having a bubble bath with candles burning. Whatever you choose it should be something you can afford, and that you pay for with cash.
- Live within your means. When you never have enough money it’s hard to focus on being wealthy, so if you already live outside of your means look for ways to change that situation now. You may need to consolidate some debt or make a realistic plan for reducing debt, take on extra work for a short period of time, or seek professional advice.
- Never put all your money toward debt reduction, you need to be moving towards what you want, so allocate some savings to your most important goals, and don’t worry if the amount seems insignificant to the amount needed. Your actions and how you feel about yourself is what is most important.
- Always have some money in your wallet. Most people can access their money through an ATM machine but there is nothing like having cash in your wallet. What makes you feel wealthy, a lot of small notes, or several large ones? Choose an amount that you always carry with you and aim not to spend it unless you absolutely have to.
- Aim to not have to think about bills by setting up automatic deductions as much as you can.
- Always allow some money to fill your most important needs on a regular basis. This doesn’t have to be a lot, but enough to make you feel like you can have what you want.
- Share what you have. By giving regularly you draw more into your life.
By taking small consistent action steps towards your dreams you start to develop a prosperous mindset, and that is when unexpected opportunities often come your way.