In my review of Cash, Cars & College by Janine Bolon, I didn’t mention the author’s thoughts on the nature of money, which she included in the book. To expand on this section, Janine has offered the following guest post.
Why Become Wealthy? Believe it or not, I’ve actually been asked this question by a student of mine! She totally did not get why anyone would want to be wealthy. After asking her to define what it was to be wealthy for the class I quickly became aware that she had a mental block to becoming wealthy. To her, “Rich” people acquired their secure financial state by abusing and crushing those around them to gain more and more money.
With that sort of paradigm floating around in her head, is it any wonder that this woman had problems saving money? She was in continual battle with herself! She knew she needed money, but anytime she had too high a savings account she would “splurge” on some item and blow out her stash of cash so that she was back to living paycheck to paycheck. Ouch! How painful is that?
To my sadness, this student is not alone in her assessment of “rich” people. Throughout my travels, classes and seminars I find that roughly 45% of the people who are having problems with money have to deal with this issue first before anything else can happen! No, it is not your credit card debt that is the problem, at least that isn’t the core issue with your financial scarcity.
The issue is much more basic then credit card debt. You have not given yourself permission to become wealthy because you haven’t answered these questions for yourself:
- Do you see money as good or evil?
- Do you want to have more cash because you can use it to buy things that you or people in your life need or want?
- Are you afraid of having too much money because the only people who seem to have lots of it are the folks who have done something bad to get it?
These are some of the first questions you need to ask yourself. If you see money as a necessary “evil,” your ability to find and save money, let alone use it wisely, will be colored by your negative view of what it can do. Money is not evil. Money is only a tool, like a hammer. You can use that hammer the right way, to build a house for someone who needs one. Or you can use it the wrong way, to smack someone on the head. Either way, the hammer has no choice in how it is used. Good or bad, right or wrong, the choice along with credit or blame, belongs solely to the person who wields it.
The same is true for money. Money is a useful tool, a medium of exchange that allows you to buy stuff you want. Money spends, regardless of how you get it. The bucks from your paycheck buy just as much as the cash you get from part-time employment, or the coins you picked up in the parking lot. The sales clerk and the shop owner don’t care where you got the money; it spends. The only “good” or “bad” in money is what you bring to it.
If you think that money is “evil,” take a minute to ask yourself some questions.
- “Why do I believe that money is evil?”
- “Is my view colored by how my parents handled cash?”
- “Do my friends have money, and do they use it well?”
Write your answers down on a piece of paper, and then read them aloud to yourself. Why? Because as long as you believe that money is “bad” you will not be able to make or keep much of it. It is very important that you understand the battle in your brain as you go about changing your thoughts on money. If you want to keep money flowing in your life and working for you, then define for yourself what type of wealthy person you want to be.
Once you have a clear picture of the type of person you envision yourself to be and how you will handle money, then you can move toward creating it in your personal life. All it takes is a bit of introspection and reworking your internal definitions on what it means to be wealthy.
Janine Bolon is the author of Money…It’s Not Just for Rich People! and Cash, Cars and College. She is also a radio talk show host and financial coach. Check out her web site, Smart Cents, Inc., for more tips on wealth accumulation and frugal living. Janine invites you to subscribe to her free newsletter, My 2Cents, which can be found on her website.
Updated January 16, 2010 and originally published June 19, 2007.