Money mindset is one of the biggest things holding people back from financial confidence. Whether you’re a business owner, stay at home parent, Average Joe, or anywhere in between, money is important. We need it to live — to pay for housing, medicine, food, and other necessities and desires. Yes, desires. You deserve nice things, and the money to pay for them.
But we have a lot of hangups about money. We believe a lot of things about money, often learned in childhood and reinforced in the decades since.
This post will dive into seven common money mindsets and help you reframe them to think about money in a more confident, freeing way.
Money Mindset #1 – Having Money is Gross, Icky, Evil, Morally Bad
Money is the root of all evil, right?
Those of us who put much thought into money have internalized a lot of beliefs about it. We’re caught between needing money to survive and seeing criticisms of ultra wealthy 1%-ers and assuming that because we criticize them for their wealth, the problem is with money itself.
We live in a society that requires money to live. We just… do. Even for the anti-capitalists among us, the fact is that right now in 2021, we need money to pay for the things we need to survive.
It is okay to want enough money to not only scrape by and survive but to thrive.
Not only is it okay, I encourage it.
IT IS OKAY TO WANT MONEY. It doesn’t make you evil or bad to want more money.
Money can do a lot for us:
- Support people in need through direct giving or charity donation
- Buy the fancy groceries you only indulge in once in a while
- Get your hair done professionally
- Go to the doctor when you’re sick
- Buy beautiful art for your home
- Not worry about your kids growing out of their shoes too fast
- Pay off your car
- Save for emergencies
None of those things make you a bad person and those are all great reasons to have money. You deserve to have enough money to feed yourself, clothe yourself, prepare for emergencies, take care of yourself, and be happy.
And money is morally neutral. It’s completely neutral. It doesn’t mean anything about YOU if you have money, or if you don’t.
Money Mindset #2 – Money Can’t Buy Happiness
Let’s be real. This is a statement used to gaslight poor people into being grateful they have anything at all. And it is bullshit.
Sure, money can’t buy happiness — because happiness is an emotion. Money can’t buy anger or sadness either. Money buys stuff. And stuff can make us happy. Stuff can make us safe. We need stuff to survive and thrive and be happy.
Stuff like having a house and food. Stuff like medical access and therapy. Stuff like buying the cute strawberry print dress. Stuff like books. Stuff like Squishmallow animals or the Axolotl Build A Bear.
Deriving joy from the things you choose to have in your life is not a moral failing. Having the money to take care of your human needs is not only not a moral failing, it is something you deserve.
Taking this a step further, it’s okay for you to want more money. A six figure salary is not an outlandish dream, it’s honestly pretty basic in 2021 if you want to be able to meet all of your needs and not live paycheck to paycheck. And not living paycheck to paycheck does a lot for your happiness.
It’s okay to be happy, grateful, or excited that you have money.
Money Mindset #3 – You have to struggle to be an artist or activist
The media portrays a starving / struggling artist message that many of us have internalized to mean that we can’t make money and still honor our art or beliefs. Some anti-capitalist activists fall into this trap as well, the idea that you have to be struggling in order to be a real leftist.
But being an artist or activist with money doesn’t delegitimize your past struggles or make you a traitor to your art or your cause. Having money gives you the chance to support others and make a financial impact for the causes you care about.
There’s an underlying belief there that making over X amount of money means you’re enthusiastically participating in the capitalist system instead of making money on your own terms.
But you can allow yourself to make enough money to rest and recover so that you are not fighting to survive every day. I want that for you. You deserve to not be burned out, and you don’t have to be burned out in order to be a good activist or fight for better rights and the welfare of all.
It’s going to take a long ass time to overthrow our capitalist system, if it ever even happens. In the meantime, why do you not deserve to have the amount of money you WANT and NEED in order to be thriving?
There is so much money moving around the world to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars, billions of dollars, trillions of dollars. And everyday people like you and me are scared that making six figures is too indulgent and makes us bad people.
Unpack the threshold in your mind about how much money you need to really thrive. What would you do if you made 100k? 250k? One single million dollars? Even if you made ONE MILLION DOLLARS you would not be anywhere near the level of wealth hoarding of the top 1%.
In fact, in this capitalist society, making enough money to thrive is a revolutionary act. The capitalist system WANTS WORKERS TO BE TIRED DOWNTRODDEN AND POOR. So anything, even the smallest thing you do, to say “I will not be tired, downtrodden, and poor today” is a revolution.
Rest is a revolution. It says “My energy is more important than being productive for the sake of production.”
Passion is a revolution. It says “My art is more important than being productive for the sake of production.”
Play is a revolution. It says “Having fun is more important than being productive for the sake of production.”
This is why I talk about balance between work, life, play, and rest. You need all of these to thrive.
Money Mindset #4 – Your work determines your worth
Think about how you view your income compared to your spouse, your parents, your friends, people on TV. Do you think you work less than they do? Do you think you work harder than they do? Do you think that the amount of work you do and money you make impacts how valuable you are in your family, social circle, or society?
You do not need to produce income in order to be an equal partner in your home, or to be a valuable person in our society. In fact, unpaid home labor allows spouses to make much more money than they would if their spouse also worked outside the home.
Let’s unpack this deep societal belief that work and income determines worth and value. Where does it come from?
Think about the ways your parents talked about and thought about money? How did you see money thoughts modeled in your parents’ relationship? Did they argue about money? Did both of them work? Did they argue about who brought more to the household?
What messages have you seen in the media about money and income? What were your most watched shows growing up? What podcasts or books have you learned about money from? What were the money messages you saw modeled and reflected in media?
What messages from your social circle, church, friend group, etc. do you receive about money? How do your friends handle money? What do you see modeled?
Separating money from your inherent worth is big big big work but it’s very important.
You are not less of a person because you have debt, or don’t have a job, or only work part time, or live off disability or child support payments to support yourself. You are not a better person because you have a full time job or make a lot of money.
Money is morally neutral.
Creativity Under capitalism
I’m launching a FREE mini course about Creativity Under Capitalism – designed to help your natural, intuitive creativity come out to play after being hidden away for the sake of productivity and all this bullshit we’ve been taught to believe about our worth. This course will help you get in touch with your creativity and deconstruct the self sabotaging thoughts that keep you from exploring it. Sign up for the free course in advance to secure your spot!
Money Mindset #5 – Money is Scarce
Especially for those of us who grew up in paycheck to paycheck families, or whose parents taught them to save save save, we have this belief that spending is irresponsible and that we need to hold onto our money really tightly in order to stay safe.
But is money actually as scarce as we think it is?
It is when you believe the capitalist lie that you only deserve $8 an hour for your labor, but there are many people out there making more than that, charging more than that, paying more than that.
The way you approach spending makes a big difference and is something you can work on and shift your mindset around, so that you feel like money is always flowing rather than a finite resource you can run out of.
You can spend the same amount of money on something with two mindsets, and get two different results.
For example: I hired someone to set up and run a business Pinterest account for my coaching practice. (If you clicked a Pin to read this blog, hello!)
The money I spend to hire this expert is neutral. But the way I think about it shapes my actions and results.
“This better come back to me in $X more per month in sales, or it’s a waste of money” – this belief comes from a scarcity mindset, needing an exact return on the money I spend to believe it was worth it. But it’s money well spent regardless of whether or not it comes straight back to me. I chose to invest this money in a Pinterest expert to see if Pinterest is a viable marketing platform for my business. By focusing on “I must now make $X more per month immediately” I would put myself into hustle mentality, and that’s not aligned with my values.
“I’m paying an expert so I don’t have to hustle” is a completely different mindset and makes it so much more powerful. This is a business expense I planned for, and I am paying someone who runs their own virtual assistant business to do it right from the beginning. The stress is off me. I’m going to continue with my current business practices and see if Pinterest helps – that’s all. No pressure, and no freaking out about getting the money back. Because over time, I’m going to make more money. I make money every month. Money is flowing out, and it’s flowing in. I honestly love not having to spend my own time, energy, and frustration on figuring out what works best for Pinterest. I hired someone who knows.
This mindset shift doesn’t have to be about business. It can be about anything. Maybe you deny yourself a fancy coffee drink because you’re worried about the five bucks. My advice: Let yourself have something nice today and trust that the five bucks will be back soon with friends.
NOTE: This mindset shift does not mean that you don’t make a budget or a plan for your money. It means that your budget can (and should, in my opinion) include space for nice things, new things, and learning. Make sure your survival needs are met first!
Money Mindset #6 – You have to act a certain way to attract money
I love the idea of manifesting! Manifesting GOOD THINGS and attracting GOOD THINGS into your life is awesome. And you can work on your mindset to change the way you react to circumstances, which will change your behavior and change your life because you train your brain to expect good things to happen.
However: I do not have time for people who use the law of attraction to victim blame and tell people they’re attracting oppression, poverty wages, etc.
You cannot mindset shift your way out of oppression. Capitalism is not kind; while we all deserve to make a thriving wage and be secure in our survival needs, that’s not the case for many people.
This is not about “I have a better life because I BELIEVE I CAN.”
Whether you’re comfortably wealthy, ultra rich, or squeaking by paycheck to paycheck… you’ve attracted money. If you can post on Facebook and ask for help with your bills and friends will shoot you a few bucks, that’s attracting money. If you sell something and you love it so much you can’t stop thinking about how amazing your business is and how good it is for the people you share it with, and so you use that energy to market your product or service, and people are excited so they buy it. That’s attracting money. Raising your prices and trusting that your ideal client WANTS TO HIRE YOU is attracting money. Getting a raise is attracting money.
And none of this comes from acting “professional” or “dressing for success” or things that go against who you already are right now. You’re as professional as you need to be. You wear the clothes you wear. You do not have to wear blazers and buy luxury brand accessories to look the part of your higher-earning self.
Money Mindset #7 – People Can’t Afford To Pay you
If you sell products or services, you deserve to make a living wage from your work. Full stop. You deserve to make a living, THRIVING wage.
But in order to not burn out, this means you have to take your desired monthly income divided by the hours you can realistically spend without burning out in order to develop your hourly rate you need to pay yourself for work.
I recently coached a client who was going to offer a complete thirty day course for $150, with workbooks and coaching and all the bells and whistles. I immediately challenged them to double it, which kicked in the pricing guilt.
“Oh my god, can I charge that much?”
Yes. You can. Your time and expertise is valuable and people will pay for it. Price your stuff at a rate that pays you, and pays you WELL.
When you set your prices based on what you think other people can afford, rather than what you need to be paid to meet your needs, you’re doing everyone a disservice. You’re assuming a lot about other people’s income and budget, and you’re cutting your income into fractions before you even make it.
Set your prices where you need them to be. Trust that the ideal client or customer knows their own money enough to make a wise decision about hiring you or purchasing from you. You don’t have to fix their money mindsets, you only have to fix yours.
Please Subscribe and review!
If this blog resonated with you, please listen to the companion episode of Run Like Hell Toward Happy! Episode 26: 7 Money Mindset Shifts is now available wherever you get your podcasts.