These 9 mental traps on money – sound familiar?

Many of us were brought in the middle class — and then continue the rest of our lives plagued by the thoughts, ideas and actions of the poor and the middle class. If you were brought up like I was, by parents that had great intentions but few ways to create financial freedom, then there is a good chance you are still trapped by mental money traps that continue to hold you back. I am not totally “free” from this but the below adapted from Inc is a good read to remind ourselves. Improvement begins with awareness.

Undeniably, the wealthy think and operate differently regarding money, wealth, finances and investing. Here are some common mental money traps:

1. “Just enough to be comfortable”

At the core of this idea is that we just need enough resources to fend for ourselves, and that having too much is akin to the analogy of gluttony when it comes to having meals. Not quite the case because in reality, I think the financial compensation derived is equivalent of the value we can deliver to the world – or in a smaller scale, even if you are an employee, the value you deliver to the organization. Such narrow-mindedness means we don’t see ourselves striving to become better in delivering value to the organization or society. And on personal level, it becomes a compromise for any possibility of financial freedom.


2. “I must make money anyhow”

It’s actually against the law to make money, literally speaking — that is the job of the government, which has been more and more willing to manufacture money in unjustified amounts. This mindset — that we must make money to have it — limits us into thinking trading full our time for money. Quit thinking about making money and think in terms of accumulating it. Like #1, when we trade something of value – be it a skill or product which is in demand, we will get money in return.

3. “Money brings more problems”

Simply BS for those without money use to justify having less and being broke. The author of this original article stated “If more money is more problems, then bring on the problems, because I tried being broke and that was more than just a problem.” 

Think of it as a kind of resource; the more resources you have (even in a strategy game), the more control and choices you have over every aspect of your decisions in life.

More accurately phrased, it should be “More money means new problems, NOT more problems.”

4. “Money needed to make money”

The mindset, “it takes money to make money” is absolutely misleading. While later in life the rich use their money to create wealth, in the beginning stages it only takes courage and persistence to create money.  Recap point #1 – the value we deliver to the world. This belief that we first need money makes us a victim and gives us no escape route. We feel helpless.

In fact, for most of us who started off to work after graduating, do we have any money to start with? NO! We started with debt (PTPTN loan etc) yes? But because our first boss saw the value in us, we were hired. And from there, we accumulate to fund our financial goals. This simple analogy will debunk the mindset of – more money needed to make money.

5. “Money doesn’t grow on trees”

This saying implies money is limited and scarce. There is something near $134,000,000,000,000 (trillion) on this planet — most of which is merely represented by digits in bank accounts, investing accounts and the like. The only shortage of money on this planet is in the mind of those have this limited belief.

make money limiting beliefs

6. “Money is the root of all evil”

The actual saying is “the love of money is the root of all evil.” It has been passed down inaccurately and become misunderstood that money is somehow evil. Rich is right, not wrong. Bill Gates told a college class, “if you are born poor it’s not your fault, if you stay poor it is.”

And yet we respect people like Gates, but we believe money is evil. Contradictory, no?

I believe it is evil to not be able to provide for my family, add value to others in exchange for a fair compensation and fund my dreams.

7. “A cent saved is a cent earned”

Believe this and we will never have financial freedom. A cent saved is a cent and if we spend your life thinking about cents we will never create financial freedom. Saving in itself is not bad, but we should always complement this habit by adding more value to customers, business or organizations. In actuality, no one ever got rich saving money, they just got old.

8. “More money cannot buy happiness.”

We have never came across a person that was trying to get happy while they were trying to get rich — they are actually mutually exclusive. By my late 20’s, I have not been seeking fun or happiness per se.

Instead, I have been seeking a meaningful life where I can do what I like to do, doing what I do best and being paid for that. Happiness is just a feeling along the process, not something we feel absolutely in one time or another.

If you are a jerk, then you will be a jerk with or without money. If you are going to be unhappy, don’t be broke too. Money amplifies what you already are – like they say.

9. “Rich people are selfish.”

It takes a bit of selfishness to prioritize taking care of ourselves and creating financial freedom so that we don’t become a problem for others (read- our kids). If we don’t think enough of our own finances how are we ever going to make the difficult decisions and necessary choices for our spouse, children, community, and your future?

We better get somewhat selfish until we have something of value to share — whether it is opportunity, money or wisdom. Don’t we get fed up with people saying, “If I had his money I would help so many people,” but they can’t help anyone financially, because they never focused on their own finances. They then live a life talking about what they would do, and not what they can do. If we ever doubt this statement, think again how Warren Buffett and Bill Gates are the world’s top philanthropists.

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