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

5 Money Lies That Reveal Our True Relationship with Money

Mark Zaifman   |    Wed, Aug 22, 2012 @ 03:33 PM
lies we tell ourselves about moneyMy solemn belief right off the bat is that when it comes to money and specifically our relationship with money, we do the best we can.

So it’s in that spirit that I’d like to respectfully offer this blog and encourage anyone that might feel stuck, overstressed, worried, confused or just out of balance in their relationship with money to please treat your relationship with money as seriously as you would any important relationship in your life.

When we lie to ourselves about our money situation, it usually stems from fear. Fear of the unknown, fear of the truth. And the longer we lie to ourselves, the more fearful we become. The more fearful we become, the bigger the lies become, and on and on goes this cycle of self-deception.

As we say in the Your Money or Your Life movement, 'no blame, no shame', tomorrow is a new day. If you’re having problems facing reality or money has just always had you spooked, please, you owe it to yourself to read the seminal book on your relationship with money, Your Money or Your Life. This is a book that will empower you as well as teach you how to fundamentally transform your relationship with money. Think of it as chicken soup for your money chakra. 

Below are the 5 big whoppers we most often tell ourselves:

1- I’ll Just Work Until I Die

This is the all time winner in terms of money lies we tell ourselves. For the most part, this logic is masking a deep inner sense of fear about the future and often exposes a temporary lack of self-confidence around your relationship with money. It’s usually preceded by a major financial setback such as losing a job or business or needing to declare bankruptcy.  And perhaps most importantly, many times, it may not be your choice whether or not you ‘work until you die’. An interesting side note: I’ve yet to hear a female client use this logic to justify not saving enough or spending less towards retirement, so far, only guys.

Solution: First and foremost, assess where you are financially. Secondly, face your truth and accept reality, as hard as that may be. Next, develop a game plan for getting yourself back on track financially. And finally, believe in your divine ability to attract abundance into your life. You did it once, you can do it again!

2-My Future Inheritance Will Save Me

Every time I hear a client say all will be well with their financial situation once they receive their inheritance, I can hear my Mom’s voice in my head saying one word: Oy! Talk about a risky strategy, this one tops the charts. It’s a familiar refrain, it provides comfort and soothes the nerves, yet it’s no way to plan your financial future. In the nearly ten years of running my holistic financial planning practice, I’ve seen just how often this risky strategy backfires.

Solution: Unless your inheritance is 100% guaranteed, and that’s the case many times, plan on reaching your financial goals without anticipating an inheritance. And as I do very often with clients, even if you’re pretty sure about your parent’s estate and their wishes, for planning purposes, take that number and lower it by 50% to play it safe.

3-I’ll Locate the Next Google and Make a Fortune in the Market

Don’t we all wish we had the prowess and savvy of Warren Buffett when it comes to being able to pick winning stocks? If your financial planning strategy is based on picking the next Google, you’re going to have lots of sleepless nights. Could you be the lucky one, maybe? But to gamble your future lifestyle on the ability to be clairvoyant is a fool’s errand.

Solution: Instead of hoping and praying for a miracle, which in essence is at the core of this logic, roll up your sleeves, crunch the numbers and base your future investment returns on historical market returns. Use index funds to diversify your portfolio and make the tough choices such as the need to earn more or spend less, or both. The longer you avoid this reality, the fewer options you’ll have to course correct.

4-Everything Will Work Out in the End

This logic is most often used as an excuse not to get your financial house in order. The underlying emotion preventing action is usually fear and a sense of scarcity. Yet what I’ve found when respectfully confronting potential clients on this issue is that deep down inside, they truly know this is just a way to avoid facing the truth and staying in a perpetual state of denial and it’s very stressful.

Solution: Many times, the obstacle to moving beyond denial and avoidance is a lack of self-confidence around money and numbers. In order to break this dynamic, inform and empower yourself, take classes around personal finance and consider hiring a financial coach. I highly recommend my friend and financial coach extraordinaire Pat Chambers, Ph.D.

5-I’ll Catch-Up by Saving More Money Later in Life

This excuse, a cousin to #4 above, is most often used when you’re having a hard time with accepting the concept of delayed gratification. Usually what’s underlying this logic is inadequate self-discipline when it comes to spending. You want to buy it now and pay for it later. You defer and defer the tough choices that coincides with living beyond your means. You create a fairy tale in your mind that one day soon, you’re going to buckle down and get serious about your personal finances and all will be well. Problem is, the longer you delay the getting serious about your money stuff, the fewer options you’ll have when that day does eventually come.

Solution: Engage a fee-only financial planner to provide you an unbiased and independent assessment of your personal financial picture. This analysis will help illustrate where you are today financially and what you will need to do in order to reach your financial goals. The sooner you take this action step, the sooner you’ll feel peace of mind around your money and your life.


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