Challenging Money Myths: Understanding the 6-Common Societal Programs that Shape Our Money Beliefs and Emotions

Uncategorized Sep 14, 2023

What messages did you hear about money when you were growing up? This is a question you need to ask your clients so that you know what money programs are running in their subconscious. Certain myths have woven themselves into the collective consciousness of many Americans, but also around the world.

These misconceptions, often rooted in societal constructs, influence our perspectives on wealth and success. The American Dream itself is a myth, yet people imagine creating it as if it’s one singular idea. They don’t realize they can create a dream based on what’s important to them, not based on what society says is right. I dissect these myths in this blog article by going into the origins and implications, while endeavoring to replace misconceptions with awareness.

Myth 1: You Have to Work Hard For Money 

The adage "hard work is the key to success" has been passed down for generations. It sounds good in a speech, but it’s not true. Hard work isn’t the only part of the formula for wealth. In fact, it’s actually only a very small part of the framework. Upon closer scrutiny, you can see the limitations in this idea. There is no data that confirms a direct correlation between hard labor and prosperity. The data, even anecdotally, shows many hardworking people are still broke. Creating wealth takes a far more holistic approach. One that includes creativity, consistency, patience, and sometimes other people’s money.

There are other factors to add to the formula, and they may look different for different people. If you get the parts of the equation that are right for your clients' personal and professional goals, they can still become and stay wealthy, even if they don’t work hard. Thinking that you have to work hard for money is a limiting belief that triggers Lack-Based Emotions.

Myth 2: The Dichotomy of Haves and Have Nots 

A tactic used to divide people and create power is the idea that there are those that have and those that have not. This idea also creates Lack-Based Emotions. While there are those that have more money than others, money doesn’t discriminate; people do. The only thing keeping “the have nots” from having more are those that currently have and believe that sharing cuts into their piece of the pie. The belief that there isn’t enough for everyone to have triggers Lust-based Emotions like greed.

This binary construct oversimplifies the socioeconomic strata. This either-or thinking keeps the “have nots” from even attempting to have because they believe they are destined to be broke or poor (even if they work hard).

As a financial professional, you know that one good decision can turn a have-not into a have, just as one bad decision can turn a have into a have-not. Having is dynamic, and the emotions you exhibit can pull you out of logic while forcing you out of your wealth. Let’s remember there is a middle and even upper-middle class that if orchestrated properly can be the gateway to wealth and a life of meaning.

Myth 3: Rich People Are Greedy 

Except for Batman, society has made rich people the villain. In movies, on television, in the news, and in your local newspaper. You hear stories that perpetuate this idea. Maybe a story about a rich person taking more than their fair share or cutting corners in their business to make a profit. These are the greed stories but there are also stories of generosity that don’t get told as often.

By making affluence negative, with notions of greed attached, it taints wealth. Furthermore, greed is not the only motivation for wealth, and greed is not always a bad thing. Despite this fact, your wealthy clients may hide their wealth in fear of not being accepted or feel shame and guilt about their wealth. They may not be conscious of this, but you can tell in their actions if you look closely. 

These Fear-Based Emotions may cause them to have a subconscious block to wealth. Even if they receive it or acquire it, they may not be able to hold on to it, because of this block. They don’t want to be associated with greed, so they block wealth. Not knowing that generosity is also a choice because they are programmed to believe, “rich people are greedy.”

The financial landscape encompasses a spectrum of individuals with varied attitudes toward generosity and greed. And in my experience as a Financial Therapist, greed can be a powerful driver that isn’t necessarily evil. By dispelling this myth, we enable a more nuanced discourse around wealth ethics.

Talk to your clients to see how much they believe this statement and discuss ways to help them release the shame they may associate with having wealth. This is a discussion you and I can have first in the Presidential Lifestyle Community. I’ll help you determine how it relates to your clients’ specific situation. If you’re not already an official member, click the link to join and let me know what questions you have.

Myth 4: It’s Lonely At The Top 

The idea that success is accompanied by loneliness is a widely held belief by those who haven’t experienced wealth yet, as well as those who have been wealthy for many years. Lonely-Based Emotions are the ones I see most in my therapy practice. By the time your clients feel the pain of loneliness, they’ve already toggled through the other 3 types of money emotions. They no longer just want to talk or leave clues. They seek out professional help because they really want lasting change. They may not know Financial Therapy is an option, so be sure to mention it to them from time to time.

The lonely at the top myth perpetuates the notion that financially successful people are devoid of meaningful relationships. Where this can be true, it doesn't have to be. It’s more likely that the wealthy individual spent more time focused on growing their wealth than they did on their relationships. However, this perspective disregards the rich tapestry of connections that can be woven throughout one's journey to achievement.

That journey doesn’t stop when you reach the top. Once your clients have reached their wealth goal (or at least a version), they can take time to cultivate the relationships they left behind, forge new ones, or deepen the most important relationship, which is the relationship with self. The biggest void comes from losing yourself along the wealth journey.

This is why I created SelfSync Therapy. The reality is the top is populated by like-minded individuals, forming communities of growth and shared insights. It doesn’t have to be lonely at the top if you take people with you. I invite you to join my community for financial professionals.

Myth 5: It’s Better To Give Than Receive 

Giving and receiving are different sides of the same coin. One isn’t better than the other. The dichotomy of giving and receiving has long been debated – there is a complex interplay between generosity and gratitude, but it’s oversimplified by saying giving is better. The act of giving brings immense satisfaction, but it is equally important to acknowledge the value of receiving.

In the blog article I wrote a few weeks ago on Fear-Based Emotions, I mentioned that your client may do things to be accepted like giving more than their fair share. The dollar amount in your client's bank account won’t make them feel connected, so they will try giving to get the love and attention they seek. This could circumvent their financial plan, so you may have to address their giving plan with them more than once.

Myth 6: Money Doesn’t Grow On Trees 

The statement “money doesn’t grow on trees” is a fact. But the message it is trying to convey is not true. The message here is that money isn’t that easy to come by. It’s not just falling off trees or readily available whenever you need some. Again, society will have you believe you have to work hard for money, because it’s not easy to get.

All of which triggers scarcity behaviors and all of the Money Emotions. This belief is particularly ingrained and easy to embrace when one's exposure to wealth has been limited. However, this perspective discounts the potential for wealth creation and the possibility that money could flow easily and frequently.

Challenging this notion reinvigorates your approach to growing and preserving your clients' wealth. If they believe money doesn’t grow on trees, this may cause them to become more cautious and too conservative. This could slow down growth and hinder the plan. It’s not what they want or what you want for them. So although the statement is cute, it hurts more than it helps. So lose it.

Bonus Myth: "More Money, More Problems" 

The rapper Notorious Big said it loudest and most frequently, but it’s been embraced by many as true, "more money, more problems." This implies that financial success is accompanied by not only an influx of challenges, but also a lot of stress. If one believes that having money makes you unhappy, they won’t pursue it, or they will sabotage it if they do.

In reality, while the nature of problems may evolve, the idea that increased affluence inherently leads to insurmountable difficulties is a misnomer. Bad judgment and decision-making cause problems, not money. Not to mention the calculation is off, as it doesn’t take into consideration all the problems that go away or are easily solved by having money.

The ability to navigate life's challenges can be heightened by newfound resources and a refined problem-solving acumen. This doesn’t come with money, so helping clients lower their money emotions and raise their logic becomes the job of the trusted advisor. That’s why it’s not only important that you are aware of the 6-most common money programs (and the bonus) that cause negative emotions, but that you, yourself, must get rid of the beliefs these phrases cause.

Everyone has money beliefs that they adopted between the ages of 0-7 years old. Those money beliefs cause emotions, and those emotions trigger behaviors. That’s why I’ll share more information with you each week. In order to make sure your clients' money beliefs aren’t getting in the way of you growing and preserving their wealth. With these tips you can take control where you can. 

By the time your clients are taking action, you can’t control what happens. But if you can start discussing the emotions before they become a problem, you’ll have fewer problems, and you and your clients will have more money.

If you'd like to explore further resources and expert guidance, consider joining The Presidential Lifestyle community, where we focus on providing professionals that work with wealthy clients FREE Financial Therapy tools. I do this because there’s a lot of misinformation out there. My goal is to support you while you serve your clients.

Recognizing these six signs in your clients could be the key to enhancing your services and your relationship with them. Remember, as their trusted advisor, your role extends beyond just crunching numbers, offering legal advice, providing medical guidance, or recommending a property purchase. 

Embracing financial therapy principles can help you forge deeper connections with your clients, build trust, and guide them towards making more mindful and informed decisions.

If you're interested in diving deeper into these topics I have a solution for professionals seeking tailored support. It starts with a conversation with someone on my team that can help you determine the best way to work with me. If you’re having these challenges with your clients, don't hesitate. Reach out for guidance. Let's work together to reshape the narrative around money and emotions, transforming lives and mental health along the way.


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