By Bill Taber
Whether you think money is a tool to achieve your goals or you think it’s the root of all evil, everyone has a relationship with and a personal story about money.
Throughout my career, I’ve found that most people don’t even realize the story they tell themselves about wealth—or that their mindset is one of the biggest factors holding them back from achieving their goals. What if I told you that changing your thoughts about money could be key to changing your financial future and unlocking your potential to accumulate wealth and make wiser financial decisions?
One of my favorite quotes by Napoleon Hill illustrates what I mean. In his book Think and Grow Rich, he wrote, “What the mind can conceive and believe, it can achieve.”
What you think about money dictates how you interact with it, what actions you take (or don’t take) to accumulate wealth, and how you spend or save money. Here are three ways to create a positive attitude toward money:
1. Focus On What You Have
One of the best ways to cultivate a positive attitude toward money is to focus on what you have—not what you lack.
Here’s an example from my own life: I was involved at the community level with a local hospital that was serving the uninsured and underinsured of our community. The hospital had been around for 96 years, but over the last 50 or so years it was operating with very thin margins and was unable to upgrade equipment and keep the facilities current.
The hospital leadership didn’t feel it could advertise its services because it would take away from providing care for people who couldn’t afford it. The medical staff also felt it lacked the necessary equipment to serve the community as a whole.
About 15 years ago, there was a mindset shift. Instead of thinking about poverty or scarcity and all the things the hospital didn’t have, the staff, employees, and community leaders started to focus on all the things it did have: a functioning hospital, dedicated employees, and high-quality doctors and service providers.
In changing our mindset, our actions started to change too. Broken equipment was thrown out and an advertising budget was created. We started telling the story of the hospital’s high-quality services, and we opened the hospital to the community as a whole. It was then that the hospital started to thrive.
2. Be Flexible
Another mindset shift is to allow for flexibility and new opportunities. Nowhere was this clearer than during the pandemic. Nearly 20% of Americans have switched careers since the start of the pandemic, with 61% receiving an industry-recognized credential as part of their career change and 68% learning a new skill without the support of their employer. (1) This is a great example of flexibility and believing in your own ability to adapt to change.
During the height of the pandemic, job opportunities shifted away from service and hospitality moved toward industries like information, technology, healthcare, warehousing, and delivery. To stay pigeon-holed in one industry was to become obsolete, in a sense. Instead, Americans across the country went out of their way to learn new skills and adapt to the changing workforce.
Being flexible also means looking at situations in ways you hadn’t considered before. During tough times, for instance, do you have an extra car that can be sold to help you get by? Or are you in a lease arrangement that can be changed? Perhaps a multi-generational household can help make the difference between breaking the bank to live on your own versus making smarter financial decisions to save where you can.
Either way, focusing on an obstacle makes it hard to see a way through. But reframing the situation and being open to different types of opportunities can give you the chance to make your goals happen.
3. Retrain Your Brain
Science shows that your mind can be rewired. In a brain scan study, scientists found that your mind cannot tell the difference between a thought that is vividly imagined in your head from a thought that is a memory of an actual experience. (2) So, a very powerful imagined thought that engages your senses can override a bad experience from your past, allowing you to change your mindset.
For instance, if you grew up in a low-income household or have experience with poverty, imagine instead that you grew up in a family environment where all of your needs were taken care of and where important role models reinforced the message that you could do anything in life that you set your mind to. This can help you create a positive attitude toward money.
Another way to do this is to reframe the stories you tell yourself about wealth and the types of people who accumulate it. There is a common stereotype in our society that says to be rich you must be “filthy,” meaning there is no way you accumulated your wealth in an ethical way. But money is neither filthy nor clean, good nor bad. It’s just a tool that can be used to achieve your goals. Thinking about it this way removes the emotions around money (good or bad) and allows you to act in a more logical way. Buying something becomes less a question of whether you can afford it and more a question of does that item align with your financial priorities?
Do You Have a Positive Attitude Toward Money?
Many of us are so used to the stories we tell ourselves about money that it’s difficult to identify what they are. In order to create a positive attitude toward money, it’s important to re-examine your relationship with wealth and your ideas about how it can be achieved. If you would like to learn more about TABER Asset Management and our process for achieving financial freedom, we would love to hear from you! Get started today by scheduling a 15-minute intro phone call online or reaching out to us at 515-557-1860 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Bill Taber is President and Founder of TABER Asset Management, an independent, fiduciary wealth management firm that strives to do one thing well: manage their clients’ money by creating wealth, building wealth, growing income, and preserving capital so they can experience financial freedom. With more than four decades of experience, Bill is dedicated to building relationships with his clients and their families and walking alongside them as they navigate financial decisions. His favorite days are the ones when he gets to witness the joy and relief on his clients’ faces when they realize they can pursue their dreams and live their ideal lifestyles. Bill is known for going the extra mile, getting things done with integrity, and working with a stewardship mentality.
Bill graduated from the University of Iowa with a bachelor’s degree in business administration and fell in love with the profession when he got to help one of his first clients—his father—turn his lifetime of hard work into a dream retirement. He got his start in the industry as a corporate services representative for Bankers Trust Company and spent decades working as Assistant Vice President of E.F. Hutton & Co. and First Vice President of Principal Financial Securities. He is also a graduate of the E-Myth Worldwide Mastery Business Development Program and is Series 65 registered.
In his spare time, Bill enjoys giving back to his community and served 11 years as a member of the Board of Trustees of Broadlawns Medical Center and 14 years as a Community Representative to their Board Finance Committee. He is also one of the founding members of the Greater Des Moines Connections Mentoring Program. When he’s not working, you can often find Bill spending time with his family and participating in one of his many hobbies, which include traveling to national parks, presidential libraries, and foreign countries; gardening; reading non-fiction; and practicing yoga, Pilates, and meditation. He also loves the simple joys of listening to music, going for walks or bike rides, and watching James Bond 007 films and any movie starring his favorite actress, Meryl Streep. To learn more about Bill, connect with him on LinkedIn.