“Mind over money: the key to achieving wealth.” I know how cheesy that sounds. I should print posters to hang in guidance counselor offices.
Regardless of how cheesy it sounds there is more truth in that statement than not. The key to achieving wealth is about the mental toughness it takes to make it happen. Finances are black and white. Math is either right or wrong. Yet, we struggle to make good financial decisions. This is because we haven’t fully subscribed to what it means to be wealthy.
Achieving wealth is about lifestyle more than it is about money. Money is just a tool to achieve the lifestyle we want. How we spend it needs to align with our values. If it doesn’t, we will find ourselves constantly disappointed, always seeking the next consumer solution that promises to make us happy. In order to achieve a healthy and wealthy lifestyle, start with these fundamental principles.
You Deserve to be Wealthy
Just like anything else in life, wealth can be achieved by anyone who wants it bad enough. It takes commitment and prioritization, but above all, you have to believe you deserve to be wealthy. We don’t need to feel guilty for earning a good living, or not working our fingers to the bone. Making good decisions that yield more money, comforts and conveniences is something to be celebrated. The good life isn’t reserved for people born with a silver spoon in their mouths. It’s for any of us who believe in ourselves, and are willing to put in the effort to make it happen.
You Can Achieve Wealth
People who have a hard time controlling their spending will list the reasons why financial freedom is impossible. If your value hierarchy has financial independence at the top, you will make decisions that align with that goal. However, if you have a penchant for material possessions, you may find financial independence to be very difficult to achieve. Achieving wealth is about making lifestyle changes to put your financial goals first.
In one of my favorite books about financial independence, Your Money or Your Life, author Vicki Robin states the harsh reality: “If you see yourself as a victim, you may well be too busy feeling sorry for yourself to notice the many opportunities to change your dismal destiny.” Whether you believe you can or you can’t, you are right. To achieve wealth, you must believe you can do it.
You Don’t Need to Look Wealthy to be Wealthy
Do you want to be wealthy or do you want to look wealthy? There’s an enormous difference. Most who say they want to be wealthy simply want to appear to be wealthy. They want luxury cars, big kitchens and the newest iPhone. They want compliments for their obvious good taste in clothing, shoes, and accessories. By all societal measures this is what it means to be rich.
But all of that comes at more than the price tag advertised. In order to have visible wealth, many sacrifice true financial wealth. A 2019 study indicated 55% of Americans are living paycheck to paycheck, or, even worse, spending more than they earn. So half of the people you encounter are barely getting by, even if it appears otherwise. They spend almost every dollar of their paycheck (or even go into debt!) keeping up their expensive image. This leaves little for anything other than material satisfaction, and makes an income non-negotiable.
Those who are truly wealthy generally do not appear so. They live in an average neighborhood and drive average-looking cars. They don’t stand out. Thomas Stanley describes exactly this in his New York Times best-seller The Millionaire Next Door. Most people would not know they are wealthy, because they are not concerned about everyone else’s opinion of them. The financially independent are intrinsically motivated instead of seeking validation from others.
Go Forth and Prosper
So are you ready to cast aside other’s opinions in favor of true wealth and financial freedom? Or does your ideal lifestyle depend on wowing your friends and family with your purchasing power?
If you’re ready to take the first step, start by getting control of your finances.