Head to the self-help section of any bookstore and you’ll find a whole row of books about how your mindset is what is preventing you from getting what you want in life. It’s a really appealing concept. Imagine if the only thing standing between you and love, wealth, and happiness were the way you looked at the world. (See also: 8 Things People With Good Credit Never Do — Do You?)
Wait — it kind of is, at least where money’s concerned. While I don’t think a change in mindset is any guarantee you’ll make millions (no matter what those self-help books say), it can help you make more of what you’ve got. That may not be as dramatic, but it can have a pretty powerful impact on your bottom line.
How do you talk about money? Here are five things that people who are really good at managing their money never say — and why you shouldn’t say them either.
1. “I Don’t Have Enough Money to Save”
Yes, the less money you make, the harder it is to save some. But unless you’re falling short in terms of paying for a modest place to live and enough food to eat, you can probably scrape together at least a few dollars per month. In fact, the average American apparently has more than $12,000 in discretionary income each year. Whether you’re on the low end or the high end of that range, it suggests that many of us have money to save; we just choose not to. Plus, saving is a habit. If you make one now, it’ll pay off more and more over time. (See also: 37 Savings Changes You Can Make Today)
2. “Investing Is Too Complicated”
Investing isn’t rocket science. It’s just easier to believe that it is. That way, you don’t have to actually, like, do it.
You know that thing that you learned that seemed really complicated and difficult at first, and now it seems so easy that you can’t believe you were ever so intimidated by it? Yeah. Investing’s like that. People who are good with money — or at least good at making it grow — tend to go in and try to learn all they can. Then they practice and learn and make mistakes and, ultimately, become investors. The truth is that investing isn’t hard; it’s just hard work.
3. “I Can Either Enjoy the Present or Save for the Future”
Nice try, but actually, people who are good with their money balance both. Should you save money for emergencies, retirement and future desires? Absolutely. Should you do it to the exclusion of every little indulgence? Absolutely not. And you shouldn’t just avoid this route because it’s austere, and sad and more than little ascetic. You should avoid total self denial because for most people, it just isn’t a sustainable long-term strategy. So save your money for the future. Just be sure to enjoy a little bit now too, OK?
4. “If Only I Had X, I Would Be Happy”
Money can buy so many things that it often becomes a proxy for happiness. If I had X dollars, I could do Y and I would happy. And maybe you would be. For a while. The problem is that once you get Y, it probably won’t be long before you’re looking for Z.
Now, I won’t go as far as to say that money can’t buy happiness. It’s definitely a big piece of the puzzle. But people who are really good with their money know that it’s just one piece. If only we could buy something that would solve all of our problems, right? It’s a great fantasy. But people who are good with their money know that it’s just that.
5. “I Can’t Afford It”
The term “afford” is entirely subjective. What I mean by that is that even the very richest people — the top of the top in terms of income — have limits. Sure, those limits may include a mega mansion, or a private zoo, or a whole island, but there’s still a limit somewhere. All wealth is finite. So, whether you have a lot of money or just a little, your financial life is about making choices.
Rather than feeling sorry about what you think you can’t afford, think about it from the perspective of what you want to afford. If you want to travel around the world, you can afford to do that — but you just might have to give up your house and your car and your cushy salary to do it. If you want to retire early, you can make that happen — but it’ll probably mean working more hours and taking fewer vacations along the way. Rather than looking at life in terms of what is unattainable, people who are really good with money look at what they want, figure out how much it’ll cost, and do what it takes to make it happen.
Do you know people who are good with money? What are some of the things you never hear them say? Share them in the comments!