Wealthy people don’t talk about the money they have because they are aware of the backlash that will follow. They are acutely aware that if they speak about how much better-flying business class is than economy, how it feels to pay someone for performing quality work that helps you get ahead, and the sense of pride that comes with receiving a bonus equivalent to nine months’ pay, everyone would hate them. So they keep quiet.
Individually and as a national mindset, many of us judge people with wealth. To get out of six-figure student debt, first we must own our biases. It isn’t cool to be so poor you can’t make your basic living expenses. It isn’t evil to have enough money to enjoy your life. These are all mental constructs, and we can change them. Financial freedom must begin within. We must change the story we tell ourselves about the role money plays in our lives.
Before I worked in finance, I saw the world in very black-and-white terms, the haves and the have-nots. I was a have-not and unconsciously believed I would stay there. Of course I never would have said this aloud, but I did things a lot of rich people don’t do: stayed in and continued going into extreme debt, worked for free, surrounded myself with other financially challenged folks, lived in a shitty apartment with shitty people, and constantly talked about what a bad situation I was in.
I desperately did not want to be a have-not, though. Since childhood I felt I was destined for more. In fact, part of the reason I chose to attend one of the best graduate programs for my field was in the hope it would help me to get out of that category. Instead, grad school and its high student debt simply convinced me that “Broke for Life” was written on my forehead for the whole world to see.
How do we shift our narrative around money? How many of us distrust people with money, judge them, think of them as greedy, or, worse, evil? I convinced myself that everyone with money was untalented, unhappy, “just” lucky, and out to take advantage of others! This negative thought process stopped me from financial abundance!
It was the sheer experience of being surrounded by millionaires in a work setting that slowly shifted my narrative:
- Many people are rich, and I can be too.
- Many people work in the industry they are in to have the freedom to do eventually something else while they’re still relatively young, and I can as well.
- There is nothing wrong with reinvesting some of the money you make into yourself.Comfort makes one a happier, more generous, relaxed person.
- If people already have money, good for them! Maybe I can learn something from them.
Now it’s your turn to rescript. What negative thoughts do you have about the wealthy? Write them down. Let it rip. Go as dark as you need to.
Now, look at each entry. Write the opposite. Even if you don’t believe what you’re writing, put down the opposite anyway. By putting ideas on paper, they solidify them.
Start to look for those who are financially secure and wealthy around you. Instead of judging them, look at various aspects of their lives and see what you like about the way they live. Write these down too. You have the power to create a financial revolution– one that begins from within!