Money is the Root of All...

The other day, one of my employees was bemoaning something about money. One of the hand-me-down lessons from her family was that money causes people to slide into unethical behavior. Can you understand why she finds it hard to save money? Getting wealthy would mean violating her core values about being ethical.

Sadly, most people misquote the Bible: it is the love of money that is the root of all evil; it's not money alone. Jeff Foxworthy, in one of his comedy routines, asked: "My family has been in the country for 300 years; why don't we own anything?" My answer to his question: Limiting beliefs about money.

Most people have some sort of limiting beliefs about money. You can hear it in everyday language:

  • Money is the root of all evil.
  • Filthy rich (i.e., having money means you're dirty).
  • Greed is good (i.e., the love of money is a good thing).
  • Hoarding money is bad.
  • You're cheap, stingy, selfish, controlling, etc. (You're hoarding money.)

Money Makes the World Go Around

Consider that money keeps everyone employed and at least somewhat happy with their existence. When 20% of the U.S. was unemployed we called it the Depression, because everyone was depressed, including the economy.

Money builds buildings, educates children, paves roads, builds hospitals, and so on. Money, in general, is good.

My friend, Tim Gard, and I worked with National Assistance Workers (the people who dole out welfare). Do you know that two-thirds of Americans are only three paychecks away from welfare? Tim estimates that 20% of welfare applicants just need a little help and can't wait to get off welfare. 20% are trying to scam the system and the rest are somewhere in between. Here are some of the limiting beliefs I heard from applicants:

  • deserve welfare because . . .
  • I can't work because . . .

Get the idea? Any time I hear "I can't . . . because" or "I deserve . . . because", I know I'm hearing a limiting belief.

I get the same feeling about Social Security: I deserve because I worked. Let's face it, pensions are becoming a thing of the past, politicians are spending Social Security's future on the war in Iraq. (One economist estimates that the trillions spent on Iraq would have kept Social Security solvent for the next 70 years.) I worked for the phone company. When Qwest acquired U S West, they started raiding the pension fund, because it was over funded during the Internet bubble. Now, it's under funded. The only person you can rely on to invest enough money for your future is you!

Revising Your Money Beliefs

My friend, Dave, a CEO, once told me: Pensions are nice, but they won't put fuel in the jet. While we can't all be Fortune 500 CEOs, I'd like you to consider some new beliefs:

  • Money creates good things for all concerned (e.g., jobs, food, housing).
  • I am learning to earn more money now and invest more money for the future.
  • I am using my creativity to generate all of the money I will ever need.

And some strategies:

  • Save like you're going to live forever, then spend like you're going to die tomorrow.
  • Automatically invest 10% of your income. Historically, stocks do better than anything else. If you're at least five years from retirement, put some of your savings into index mutual funds. They're low cost and outperform 90% of their actively traded peers.
  • Give money away to your favorite charity. This tells your mind that there's more than enough money to go around.
  • Earn more money. My wife often says that most TV and radio shows talk about how to trim your expenses, but no one ever says: "Earn more money!" I'd agree. You have no right to determine how much money you're worth. To one employer you might only be worth $30,000 a year while to another your unique mix of skills might be worth $100,000 a year.
  • Charge what you're worth.

Have you ever noticed that if a vendor charges too little for something, you don't think it is of any lasting value?

Last year we had a tree cut down in our front yard. Last weekend a guy left a note on our door that he would grind the stump down to the level of the yard for $35. Frankly, I don't think he can afford the gas and time to drive to my house, setup his equipment, and grind the stump for only $35. In my mind, I ask: "What kind of a job will he do for only $35?" He's bound to be losing money. It's an ugly stump. It's worth at least $95 to me to get rid of the stump.

There's a guy who delivers packages around the Denver area for us. He charges $7-$9 regardless of weight for same day delivery. I don't know how he makes money when gas costs $3.00 a gallon plus wear and tear on his car. Sure, he's cheaper than UPS, but he delivers the same day. He saves my staff a 30-60 minute drive to deliver something at the last minute. That's worth considerably more money.

Change Your Money Beliefs

I used the "walking belief change" from my new book, Debug Your Mental Software, to help my staffer revise her beliefs about money. She values connection with her world, so we changed her belief from "money causes unethical behavior" to "money connects me with my world." Can you see how she might now find it easier to earn and invest more money?

This is the staggering power of beliefs. They can keep you poor or they can transport you to wealth and prosperity. It's up to you. Haven't you waited long enough to start to change your mind and change your life?

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