Are Your Beliefs About Money Keeping Your Broke?

The other day I was on my way to a hike and I decided to stop at a convenience store to pick up a pumpkin latte and banana. I was so happy to find a pumpkin latte in the middle of the summer but you’re not here to read my favorite latte. As I went to the counter to pay, there was a man there requesting cigarettes that were behind the counter.  The gentleman in front of me took quite a while as he purchased four packs of cigarettes and debated on which scratch off lottery and power balls tickets he would buy. The gentleman knew immediately that he wanted the cigarettes but he contemplated for some time which lottery tickets he would buy based on the size of the potential lottery winnings. He conversed with the store clerk to see what the winnings would be if he won the lottery and determined based on her response, it was worth buying several tickets. At the end of his selections, his total was $64 dollars for cigarettes, scratch off tickets, and Powerball tickets.

 

I was a little annoyed by the wait, at a convenience store that is usually quite efficient, but the stronger feeling I felt was sadness. It appeared the man was hoping to secure his future by purchasing these lottery tickets. As if he won this week, his life would be all set. After the gentleman left, I shared my sadness with the store clerk and she said people spend way more than that on lottery tickets.

 

I decided to go home and do a little research to see what would happen if the man invested his money versus spent it on cigarettes and lottery tickets. If he took that $64 dollar and invested it weekly ($275.2 a month) for 20 years, with a %6 percent rate of return, he could have $128, 769. Can you believe it? I wonder if he has ever done the math. What about you? Do you have a costly habit, like spending $5 a day on expensive coffees?

 

For the man to save/invest this amount of money, he would have to give up the idea or hope of winning the lottery and decide to invest his money which is a very different mindset. (Give up cigarettes too but that’s a whole different discussion)

You might say, yeah but does he spend $64 dollar every week? I don’t know, I didn’t have a full conversation with him but I do know I have seen many folks spend $25+ in the hopes of winning the lottery. I have seen this several times at convenience stores on more than one occasion and I have over heard friends and family talk about their future retirement or dreams which seem will only happen “if I win the lottery one day”.

I looked around to see if I could find the odds of winning the lottery and one site stated your chances depend on many factors but generally, your odds are around 1 in 14 million.  You may disagree but I don’t believe those are great odds for your dreams to come true. Then when we think about the statistics of lottery winners who end up filing for bankruptcy, that’s even more tragic.

 

What are the beliefs that make this person base his future or dreams on winning the lottery versus planning and investing in your long-term goals?

In my opinion, it comes from how you were raised and what beliefs you developed from your family and the environment you were raised. Did your parents regularly go to the local store, buy tickets, and talk about “when I win the lottery” or did your parents teach you how to save and invest money?

 

I have never enjoyed listening to adults who blame their mothers, fathers, or other family members for the problems they face today but over the past several months, I have come to the realization that they do have a tremendous effect on us. I don’t believe our parents are to blame, they did the best they could with the resources they had at the time and they are human and will make mistakes. But whether we like it or not, the way we were raised does have a lasting effect on our beliefs and choices we make in our lives, especially when it comes to money.

 

For example, what do you consider to be a good salary or hourly wage? Working with people regularly in their job search, I hear people say, “the job makes $25 dollars” believing this is a lot of money. Another person may say, “it only pays $25 dollars an hour”. What do you think? Is this a lot or a little? We each have a number in our mind of a dollar amount that means we’ve made it or what amount is a lot.  What is your dollar amount?

 

Where does this number come from? For most people, the number is based on our mothers, fathers, or family’s beliefs and expectation of money and income.  When you were growing up, what were the conversations around money? Did you ever hear “money doesn’t grow on trees”, “do you think I am made of money”, or “we don’t have money for that”? If you heard statements like this growing up, it has likely affected the way you view money today. If you are a parent, what beliefs and expectations are you passing down to your children? If instead of the limiting statements mentioned above you heard, “we have plenty of money”, “it’s easy to make more money”, or “money just flows into our lives”, “you can make so much more money than that, how different would you feel about money? What lessons would you pass down?

 

No matter how you were raised, if you’d like to change the way you think about money, your salary, or future retirement, you can. All the things I’ve mentioned above, have to do with beliefs. If you can change your limiting beliefs about money, you can change your life! If you’d like assistance with discovering your beliefs about money and how to change them, reach out to Happiness Now and we can help.