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Monday, November 12, 2007

The joy of being rich

We’ve all heard that limiting beliefs about money can hold you back. If you’re going to become financially free, you have to replace those beliefs with more effective ones.

But then you’re set, right? Once you’ve adopted a “richer mindset,” you’ll never have to worry about money again?

Actually… you do. You just get a new set of delusions.

We’ve all seen it. You might have a friend that is worried about everyone trying to take his money, or he thinks he’s superior to everyone else because of his income.

Both are ways that money continues to mess with your mind. It’s just as important that you know about them and guard against them, not only for yourself, but also for the people you care about.

Let’s go through the top 10.


1. I know what I’m doing. I won’t make a mistake.

A nice income will certainly build your confidence, but it can quickly go too far. You can start believing that you’ve figured it all out, and it’s impossible for you to make any mistakes. You become overconfident.

The problem is careers, industries, and businesses evolve. If you continue operating on old models and assumptions, you can quickly pile up some serious mistakes. Imagine if IBM still believed that only businesses needed computers. They would be completely out of sync.

2. No one can do what I do

Exceptional people sometimes delude themselves into thinking they’re irreplaceable. They start treating others like dirt because they think no one can do anything about it, but usually, other people only put up with it for so long. Eventually, your company, investors, or employees will abandon you, no matter how gifted you are.

3. I’m a better person because I’m rich

To some people, wealth is like an elite club. It’s not so much your money that makes you better than everyone else, but the intelligence and skill that allow you to make that money. You start believing your competence makes you superior.

Even if it were true (and it’s not), why would you want to go through life isolating yourself from the majority of the world? It can only lead to loneliness and being hated by everyone you place beneath you.

4. People do what I tell them because I pay them

Money can give you an illusion of power over other people. You think that, because you pay them, you can tell them what to do.

You can’t. You can use money to influence people, but only to the degree they want to be influenced. Tell them to do something that they genuinely don’t want to do, and they’ll refuse, regardless of how much you pay.

Worse, if the people around you get used to being motivated by money, then what happens if the money disappears? Suddenly, no one will want to help you any more, and you’ll be powerless.

It’s much better to depend on the other, less manipulative methods of persuasion.

5. The IRS is out to get me

This one may be true, but it deserves talking about anyway. As you make more money and pay more taxes, you might start to become obsessed with the tax consequences of every business decision. You’ll worry about the IRS at every turn.

It only becomes a problem when you stop living the life you want out of fear of being taxed. If you have to choose between a low taxation rate and happiness, go for the happiness. You should never put screwing the IRS ahead of yourself.

6. I’ll always make this much money

Lots of wealthy people blow their money. Why? Consciously or unconsciously, they believe they’ll always be able to make more. It’s an especially common delusion among actors and pro athletes who spend ridiculous amounts of money and then go bankrupt when they can’t get another movie or play their sport anymore.

It isn’t true. More often than not, you’ll make money in waves. If you want to survive the cycle, then you need to save for the down times. That way, when something unexpected happens to your income, you can survive.

7. As soon as I make X dollars, I’ll be happy

Have you ever wanted to ask someone, “So, how much is enough?” Many wealthy people continue pushing to make more and more money, sure that the “next level” of success is going to finally make them happy.

But the correlation between money and happiness is a weak one. Beyond providing for your basic needs, money will never make you happier. If you’re working because you think it will, you’ll probably be miserable for your entire life.

8. I could never survive being poor again

Others know they have it good, and they’ll do anything not to lose it. Despite their wealth, they live in fear of poverty. Afraid of losing their precious money, they may refuse to take any risks or really enjoy their life.

This is another sure road to misery. You can never protect against every scenario that would cause you to lose money. Plus, you’re probably more capable of surviving it than you think. Knowing what you know, you could make it back fairly quickly.

9. I have to give my money away, or I’m selfish

If you’re wealthy and refuse to support charities, you’re looked down upon as selfish. Sure, you can spend some of the money on yourself, but you have a societal obligation to give some of it away, right?

No… not really. The purpose of having money is to buy your freedom, spending your money on the life you’ve always dreamed of. For me, that includes donating money to charities, but not for everyone. It’s your money, and you can do what you want with it.

10. Everybody loves me for my money

The more money you make, the harder it is to tell if people genuinely love you for who you are. It’s easy to become paranoid, believing that no one really cares about you and that you’re all alone.

Sometimes it’s true, but having both made and lost money, I can say that the majority of my friends stuck by me and even helped me back up again. Surround yourself with the right kind of people and you won’t have to worry about them turning on you.


On Money Making
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