MONEY matters

Mark Zaifman's thoughts on money, global economic trends and politics

A Major Roadblock to Financial Independence

Mark Zaifman   |    Tue, Jul 26, 2011 @ 07:39 AM

feeling worthy of financial success

If you’re a fan of Dana Carvey and Mike Myers, you know their famous line as Garth and Wayne from Wayne’s World – I’m not worthy, I’m not worthy!

Carvey and Myers are masters at comedy, but what’s not funny is how many people go through life, whether consciously or unconsciously, feeling unworthy of attracting lasting wealth into their lives. When that’s the case, beware of your inner saboteur that will do everything possible to sabotage your financial success.

Curiosity about money behavior and our relationship with money continues to intrigue me. There have been times I wished that someone could develop a pill that would cure self-defeating tendencies with money. I’ve worked with hundreds of clients and most of them really do have their financial act together, but some, because of the way they think about money, likely never will.  I can develop the most amazing comprehensive financial plan with strategies for every scenario you can imagine – but if a client has a bad relationship with money - even the best laid plans can go kaput.

Feeling Guilty

I was raised by a Jewish mother that elevated guilt to an art form - so I know from guilt. But what’s guilt have to do with accumulating wealth?


Here’s what I believe happens to some people.

You look around and see immense suffering in the world and observe poverty that sickens you. If you’re a sensitive person, the inequality in the world affects you deeply.  You process the world around you and then pull a Garth and Wayne and think - I’m not worthy of accumulating wealth when so many have so little. You start feeling guilty about having more when so many have so little and the result very often is sabotaging your relationship with money.

Poverty Consciousness

Poverty consciousness is a close relative to feelings of guilt, yet both are equally corrosive in regards to your relationship with money. Poverty consciousness is not directly related to the amount of money you have. Rather, it’s the relationship or attachment to that money or to material possessions. If you worry about not having enough money, you’re in poverty consciousness. If you believe there is not enough for everyone in the world, you operate from poverty consciousness.

You can live in conditions of poverty without necessarily living in poverty consciousness, which is a state of mind and heart. The amount of money or other material possessions is a matter of fact. Your relationship to that amount is a matter of thoughts and feelings.

When is Enough, Enough?

It’s a challenging question for most people when it comes to deciding how much is enough? If you’ve never examined your enough point; now’s a great time to start. If you never look closely at when is enough, enough, you very often end up striving yet never quite arriving.  The book I contributed to a couple years back, Your Money or Your Life, addresses the enough point in great detail. If you’ve never read it, or last read it when it first came out in 1992, I recommend you check it out. Another book addressing the enough point, was written by John Bogle, the founder of Vanguard and aptly named: Enough: True Measures of Money, Business, and Life, another great read that I highly recommend.

The question of when is enough, enough, also goes to the heart of your self-worth as well as your net-worth. It’s when these two elements are linked that a toxic brew is created – because if you subscribe to this connection, if your net-worth takes a dive, so goes your self-worth.  This can be the beginning of a downward spiral and a true disaster for many people.

Discovering your enough point is by all means an inner journey. It’s about being fully honest with yourself regarding your money and your life. It’s believing you’re worthy of as much abundance you can imagine attaining yet balancing that against the time you put into the pursuit of wealth accumulation.

Once you begin to feel worthy of achieving Financial Independence – you can begin the journey to change your relationship with money, and ultimately discover financial success.  And when you are financially independent, you're better able to help make significant changes for those in need.


having a good relationship with money 

photo by alicedice