Do you dream of being wealthy someday? Imagine a world where you don’t have to worry about paying the bills, saving for retirement, or providing for your family because you know everything is in order. A world where you are free to do the things you love with no debt to hold you back. A world where the impossible becomes possible.
Sounds great, doesn’t it? On some level, I think all of us aspire to a life of wealth – maybe not millions of dollars, but a level of financial security that allows a significantly better lifestyle. Why else would the lottery be a $53 billion industry in the US alone? Yet, as we know so well, only a small percentage of the population ever achieves an income or net worth that would classify them as wealthy.
Why Aren’t More of Us Wealthy?
Have you ever stopped to think about why some people reach that wonderland of riches while most of us struggle just to get by? Some people will argue that choices determine where we go in life, while others will argue that environment or circumstances play the greater role. Still others (like me) believe it’s a combination of those factors. No matter which end of the spectrum you’re on, you have to admit that rich people know something the rest of us don’t. Otherwise everyone would live in giant mansions and drive expensive cars, right?
Choices and circumstances aside, I think there’s another huge difference between the wealthy and rest of us – attitude. No matter how much we may want wealth, many of us don’t truly believe we’ll ever achieve it, and we behave in ways that prevent wealth as a result. The proof is in our actions and, more often, our words.
5 Things Wealthy People Never Say
1. “I can’t wait to get my tax return!” – Wealthy people don’t give Uncle Sam an interest-free loan all year just so they can receive a lump sum of their own money later. They certainly don’t hit up the mall every spring like wild animals on a stampede, filling multiple carts with electronics and clothing. Wealthy people use their money in ways that will add to their monetary assets, not their material ones.
Think wealthy: Change your withholding so that you break even at tax time instead of getting a refund. Instead of using the extra money to go shopping, invest in your future – save for retirement, a home, or something else that will benefit you in the long run instead of providing short-term happiness.
2. “I was doing fine until…” – How many times have you heard someone talk about being derailed by an emergency like a car repair or broken appliance? Do you think that happens to the wealthy? Of course not! They are prepared for nearly anything that comes their way.
Think wealthy: Start an emergency fund, even if you can only save $10 a month. Hold onto that money no matter what – a disaster will come along before you know it. Insure your assets to protect them from damage.
3. “I’m too scared to check my bank balance.” – Obviously wealthy people aren’t afraid to see what’s in the bank; they know there’s lots of money there! But how likely is it that they magically started paying attention after they accumulated their fortunes? I guarantee they were keeping track even when there wasn’t much to be excited about.
Think wealthy: Make the decision to stay informed about your income and expenses. If you’re having trouble making ends meet, figure out why and make a plan to do something about it. Keep that head out of the sand!
4. “I don’t understand [financial concept].” – Too many of us shy away from things that seem complicated or too different from what we’ve always done, especially where money is concerned. Wealthy people don’t let themselves feel intimidated – they do research (or hire someone to research for them).
Think wealthy: When you don’t understand something about your finances, ask for help! With so much information at our fingertips, there is no reason we can’t educate ourselves and make informed decisions – most of the time, we just choose not to make the effort.
5. “I deserve nice things.” – Believe it or not, the truly wealthy don’t live the way we think they do. In Thomas Stanley’s The Millionaire Next Door, we learn that millionaires are decidedly more frugal than most of us. Instead of maintaining a lavish lifestyle because they “deserve” it, wealthy people live below their means and delay gratification a great deal of the time. Those people you see living it up on TV aren’t wealthy – they’re renting an appearance.
Think wealthy: Instead of telling yourself you deserve to buy more stuff with your hard-earned money, tell yourself you deserve to make that money grow. Make saving money a priority; after all, how can you get rich without money in the bank?
Why Aren’t YOU Wealthy Yet?
I can tell you exactly why I’m not wealthy – I have consistently run in the opposite direction from the actions that could encourage me to hold onto more money than I spend. While things have improved, that mindset is difficult to escape. Most of us don’t grow up surrounded by real wealth. Pro-wealthy behaviors aren’t instinctive to us because we’ve never seen them.
Sometimes it’s easy to use the excuse, “I wasn’t born rich.” While that may be true, that doesn’t mean you can’t change your thought patterns and behaviors to become wealthy someday. Think of it this way: For anyone to be born rich, someone before them had to be rich. As you travel back through the family tree, the wealth had to start somewhere. And that’s that point where someone made a decision to do things differently.
Think about the way you talk about money. Would wealthy people say those things? If not, it may be time to look for a new perspective. Just like you can’t learn a foreign language by saying, “I don’t speak a foreign language,” you will never become wealthy if your financial language consists only of excuses that make wealth impossible.