We all have beliefs about money. Our beliefs about money can quietly sabotage our hopes, dreams, and business ventures. I find that it’s good to evaluate our money beliefs occasionally to make sure that our beliefs about money are in line with what we want to create in our lives. Over the past few years, I have worked with lots of people who want to change their way of interacting with money. And through this experience, I have found several common limiting beliefs. Let’s review some of the more common limiting beliefs about money. in part 2 of this series of blog posts, we’ll learn some of the things we can do to shift our negative beliefs to more positive ones that will help lead us to a place where we can thrive financially.
- People who have money are bad and/or they do bad things in the world. This is probably the most common negative belief about money that I find in my work. This may come from a family belief system that has developed over many years or even over many generations. Hence it just becomes part of your belief system that you might say that you want to change, but the underlying FEELING behind wealth and financial abundance in the family is “You’ll be a bad person and do bad things with your money if you have more than enough of it.” One of the patterns in families that can create this belief is a classic principle of Psychology that is commonly referred to as “sour grapes.” You may have heard of a classic fable called “The Fox and the Grapes” by Aesop. A fox comes along some grapes that are hanging from a tree and wants to eat them. But because they are so high above the ground, and the fox is unable to find a way to reach them, he tries to soothe the pain that the unattainability of the grapes causes him by labeling them in his mind as “probably not worth it anyway.” He decides that they’re probably sour or otherwise unfit to eat, so that he doesn’t have to feel the uncomfortable feeling of wanting something he can’t find a way to get. When a member of a family begins to think this way about money, they are trying to feel better about their current situation by saying “I didn’t want to make more money anyway, because people who have money are bad people.” But what they can unintentionally do is to create a belief within the entire family that keeps not only themselves, but also later generations, from believing that it’s possible for them to be good, caring, kind, and generous people, and ALSO have financial abundance.
- If you do well for yourself financially, you are abandoning your family and your heritage. It’s safe to say that the majority of families that have raised children in the past 1-2 generations would not be considered “independently wealthy.” A family mindset can begin to develop that says that anyone who ventures outside of the realm of financial tradition is being disloyal to the family, especially when the person who is venturing outside the norm is venturing significantly UP in income, rather than down. There is a discomfort that can occur in family members who didn’t make as much money as the ones who did. Perhaps they feel as if they could have made more money than they actually made, or they wanted to make more but couldn’t…but it’s easier to say that someone else is at fault for one’s feelings than it is to go through the process of self-discovery and possibly decide that our own beliefs about ourselves might need to evolve a bit. So people often place an unfair burden on their family members by creating an atmosphere that says “YOU are the problem if you venture out of the financial norm, not ME.”
- People who don’t have enough money naturally get more sympathy, help and understanding from others. This belief also comes from a family attitude that actually rewards people for staying in a poverty mindset. It is a false belief that people who have more than enough money don’t have good support systems, and that they don’t have people who will help them when they have had a loss or when they’re going through a difficult time. In essence the belief is that you have to have less than everyone else in order to be treated with compassion and kindness. So of course if you believe that you’re going to have to give up your friends and your support system if you change your financial circumstances for the better, you will subconsciously avoid that scenario.
- I’m not worthy of living in financial abundance. You probably have heard this one before, but it is SO common that it is worth repeating. Many people who have struggled financially for much of their lives have a belief that there is something special about people who live in financial abundance that makes these people more deserving of it. Perhaps it is a long-held guilt or sense of low self-esteem that prevents them from being able to think of themselves as being in the position of financial abundance. Perhaps it is a feeling that no matter how hard they work, there are always others who are more deserving of money because they have a better education, better connections, better skills, etc.
- I can’t be trusted to manage “excess” money appropriately, so I can’t have it. I have worked with many people who have what would be considered a really good individual income by most ($100,000 or more annually), who live paycheck to paycheck because they can’t seem to keep or save their money. Whatever they make goes back out as soon as it comes in. So many of these people have this false belief. They somehow know that they should be able to build more savings than they are building, but they can’t seem to figure out why it never happens. There always seems to be something that comes along that they need (or want) that keeps the money going back out as quickly as it comes in. These people often have an underlying belief that they can’t be trusted with money. Perhaps they chose to believe this because at one time they “came into money” by way of a gift, a court settlement, or an inheritance that they spent in a way that doesn’t please them as they consider it in hindsight.
- If I have money, I will never know if my friends love me for who I am, or just love me for what they can get out of me. I’m sure many of us have met people who are “leeches.” Those people who tend to befriend people who have money because they think they can get good benefits from knowing them and being their friends. They imagine themselves getting great seats to sporting events, getting to go on great group vacations that are sponsored by the person who has the cash, and meeting lots of other wealthy people through this person that they befriend for their money. Yes, leeches do exist in this respect. But people with this false belief tend to have an irrational picture of what those leeches look like. They doubt themselves in the equation, not the leech. Instead of believing in their ability to discern a true friend from someone who is only around when there’s something to gain, they tell themselves subconsciously that they would just rather not put their skills to the test.
- Money is the root of all evil. You might be surprised how many grandmothers, church pastors and elders preached this to children as they were growing up. This idea that money itself somehow forces people to make bad decisions is quite a common one. I find it interesting that if you go back to the bible text that this (loosely translated) saying comes from (I Timothy 6:10), the text actually refers to the longing for, craving for, or the “coveting” of money, rather than the HAVING of money. But I find an overwhelming number of people who truly believe that having money will bring evil into their lives and jeopardize their spirituality and godliness.
Perhaps as you read through this list, you read some things that rang true for you or that sparked some significant memories. If so, I encourage you to write your thoughts down and spend some time thinking about them. In my next post, I’ll review some specific steps you can take to change these beliefs to ones that allow you to manifest the financial abundance that you want for your life. Until then…