We become what we believe. Not what we wish for, not what we hope for – what we believe. Oprah said that, so it must be true.
That means if we’re going to build wealth, it’s essential to get clear not just on our financial goals, but on our personal attitudes and beliefs about money. The ones we might not even be fully conscious of; the ones we might be ashamed of, a little embarrassed about, feel trapped by or wish were different.
Do any of these resonate?
- Rich people are entitled. To care about money is shallow and selfish
- Greed is ruining our world. I don’t ever want to be money-focused
- I never have enough money to truly relax and enjoy myself
- I/we can’t afford that [fill in the blank]
- It’s not feminine to demand more money
- Easy for some people, but money will always be a struggle for me
- She’s succeeding, so it must mean I’m failing
- I need a partner to truly be financially secure, especially as I get older
- I’m terrible with maths – no way could I invest and be good at financial planning
At Verve, we call this the Scarcity Mindset. And it is ever-ree-where – from the consumer culture that profits from our insecurities to the banks that sell us more debt. It’s the very political ideology that underpins so much of our modern economy and politics. It’s a belief system based not only on scarcity but on life as one big competition between winners and losers; rather than a belief in abundance, cooperation and thriving together.
The problem with a scarcity mindset is that it keeps us stuck in a cycle that we will never have enough and never be enough. The true meaning of wealth is to have an abundance of what we value, but when we constantly compare ourselves to others, it prevents us from tuning into what truly brings joy, happiness and value to our lives. We can’t build wealth if we don’t know what wealth even means for us.
The Scarcity Mindset doesn’t just come from marketers and politicians. What makes it so insidious for many of us is we learned it in childhood; it was spoon-fed to us with our mashed potatoes.
Take a moment to think about or jot down the money beliefs you inherited from the people that raised you. Who was most influential, and what did they believe about money? Was money a struggle for them, something they complained about, avoided talking about altogether? Were they anxious about keeping up with the Joneses? Was money a source of conflict and stress?
Because without a lot of conscious effort to examine and change them, the beliefs we imprint in childhood about how money works will forever sound like truth to our own ears. The money mindset we learned at our parents’ feet just becomes our unquestioned normal as adults. We don’t think of this as a mindset we have a choice over – it’s just how life is.
On the other hand, maybe you had a very different experience. Maybe money came pretty easily to your family of origin. Maybe there was always enough. Maybe for your parents earning a living was a joy; saving smart and investing was something you were taught about from the kitchen table. Maybe money was one way to live a wealthy and meaningful life; not a goal in and of itself to impress or keep up with people you didn’t like. Maybe you felt deserving, without feeling entitled, and were taught to practice generosity with others.
Whatever your money mindset, today you have a choice. You can change the beliefs that don’t serve you and do your best to pass on a different set of beliefs to the people you influence.
- There is more than enough money to go around
- I will always have enough
- Money lets me take great care of myself and my family
- In the right hands money is a powerful force for good
- Money is energy, currency, a tool. Anyone can learn how to respect it and grow it
- Money is one of my favourite tools for creating positive change
- I am enough
- I am in control of my goals and my life
- I deserve to be valued
We call this an Abundance Mindset.
An abundance mindset not only keeps us focused on our goals but allows us to attain them; an abundance mindset allows us to fail. When you believe that it is possible to live a truly wealthy life full of things you value, this belief becomes the core motivation to keep trying and to eventually succeed. Importantly, an abundance mindset helps us realise when we have succeeded, when we truly possess all we need for a meaningful and fulfilled life.
But to make an Abundance Mindset your new normal, you’re going to have to actively swim against the tide for a while. Remember, there’s money to be made, clicks to be baited, easy headlines to grab – in playing off your fear and insecurities. The Top Five Mistakes of Women who Died Poor and Lonely is a headline people will click on. It’s not a headline you’ll ever read from Verve.
At Verve we’ve lived and known the Scarcity Mindset. But we know you can change your money mindset, no matter who you are or where you’re starting from, because we’ve seen women from all walks of life take control and bring abundance to their lives.
Here’s how to create an Abundance Mindset:
Actively shift your thinking from what you can’t afford to what you can.
The truth is, just living in a country like Australia you are already richer than most of the people alive on earth today. So however you do it (journal, 5 min reflection at the end of the day, internal monologue when you’re in the car) – get into the habit of actively noticing and giving thanks for all the things you can afford. Re-orient your radar to fixate on gratitude and abundance. Fill in the blank, “I’m so abundant, I…” eg:
– get to enjoy beautiful walks in my local park;
– can sit down to a delicious coffee at my favourite cafe;
– have a comfy place to sleep each night and enough to eat each morning;
– can send my kids to a great local school for free;
– have access to clean air and water, and good medical care when I need it;
– can retrain into the job of my dreams;
– have friends and family who mean the world to me and who love me as I am.
Unfollow and unsubscribe from anything that makes you feel broke, less than or bad about yourself
Distance yourself from people who have this effect on you too, until your new beliefs are stronger and you can decide whether it’s worth staying friends. Comparison is the death of happiness.
Create a positive money ecosystem
Seek out people, events, online communities that have a positive attitude about money and are supportive of your goals. A great one is Verve’s Facebook group. And make sure you sign up here to our newsletter to keep up with great content and upcoming events.
Extend your financial education.
Most of us didn’t get taught much about money in school, so it’s on us. That’s why when you join Verve, Australia’s kick-arse super fund for women, free financial coaching comes as part of the package. Find out more here.
Ask for help
If you’re seriously stressed about money and debts, there are free financial counsellors trained to help you figure it out and act in your best interests. Check out Financial Counselling Australia or call the Debt Hotline on 1800 007 007. Likewise, if you’re experiencing domestic violence or any other major crisis, there is help right here for you, 24 hours a day, through Lifeline.org.au or call 13 11 14.
Build your abundance money library
A good book can change your life. A few of our most genuinely enjoyable, eye-opening, often belly-laugh inducing faves include:
The Barefoot Investor and The Barefoot Investor for Families, Scott Pape
You Are a Badass At Making Money, Jen Sincero
The Soul of Money, Lynne Twiste
Give back, or recognise how you already do
No matter what financial position you are in, there is almost always someone who is worse off. Even when we feel that we have nothing, giving to others reminds us of the abundance we do have, whether this is giving something away, giving some loose change to someone or giving a major donation. For many of us, we already give a lot to others, and taking a moment to think about the time, effort, love, support, gifted items or money that we have provided to others over the past year will remind us of our abundance.
Whoever you are, wherever you’re starting from, you can change your money mindset. You can build the wealth, and the world, you want. We are with you all the way.