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3 Practical Tips for Changing the Way You Think About Money

3 Practical Tips for Changing the Way You Think About Money

It’s no secret that the super-wealthy think about money in a much different way than the rest of us.

Money is something they have plenty of, have seemingly little problems acquiring, and aren’t afraid to spend.

From the outside looking in, it’s real easy for us to say that their mindset of wealth is a by-product of the amount of money they have. But, what about before they became filthy rich?

While some of the super-rich were born into fortunes, many had to acquire their wealth on their own and battled countless setbacks. There’s a countless number of self-made millionaires in the world today. Many of whom started their stories in households whose average income was at, or below, the poverty level. One such person that immediately springs to my mind is Robert Herjavec.

Robert Herjavec immigrated from Yugoslavia with his family at the age of 8. Arriving in Halifax, Canada, it’s said that they arrived with $20, a suitcase, and no understanding of the English language. Robert’s ambition and determination lead him to becoming an extremely wealthy businessman who’s boasted business sales that reach as high as 9 figures. This determination and business savvy has allowed him to acquire a massive, personal fortune.

I’ve always had a keen interest in studying the mindset of the wealthy and, in this post, I’d like to share with you 3 tips that I’ve learned that will help you change the way you think about money, so you can get more of it.

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1. Think of Money as a Tool, Not a Result

    For many of us, money is viewed as a result. Something we gain for going to work. Something we lose when it’s spent.

    We use it to pay our bills and maintain our lifestyles, but rarely do we actually think of money as a tool. It’s simply something we have to acquire in exchange for our time and energy. To the average person, the acquisition of money is a zero-sum game.

    One of the most prominent differences between the mindset of the wealthy and the rest of us, is that they simply do not view money in this way.

    Pretty much every successful person that I’ve ever studied has had a mindset that views money as nothing more than a tool. A tool to be used to acquire and do more of what they really want. The best venture capitalists in the world understand this concept better than most. Their success is dependent on their ability to view and use money as a tool for investments.

    Here’s a quick example to better illustrate this idea:

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    Let’s say you have an extra million dollars lying around and you decide you want to finance a new car. The car payments average out to be about $800 per month.

    Most people would simply buy the car outright or just start making the payments out of the extra million they have lying around.

    But, those with a mindset for wealth, who view money as a tool, might do something as simple as this: Place the million dollars in a savings account that yields a 1% return and then use the $833 per month accumulated interest to pay for the car.

    Instead of spending money on the car and taking away from that extra million, the wealthy get to keep their million dollars and get the car too.

    While a very crude example, it effectively illustrates the difference in how money is viewed and used by those with a focus on wealth. When we start to view money as a tool, that allows us to grow our wealth and do more of what we want in life, we’ve come one step closer to having a mindset of prosperity.

    2. Focus on Prosperity – Not Debt

    This goes back to a basic principle of personal development. Focus on the solution, not the problem.

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    Many people get stuck focusing on paying off their bills and debt. It’s such a powerful theme in their lives that all their attention, in regards to money accumulation, is centered around paying bills and reducing their debt.

    While it’s great to pay your bills on time and reduce your debt, you can’t let it distract you from creating wealth. This is why you hear so many financial advisers tell people to set up an automatic debt payment plan and to just start focusing on savings, prosperity and growth.

    I think Bob Proctor, from The Secret, said it best:

    “Most people have a goal of getting out of debt. That will keep you in debt forever. Whatever you’re thinking about, you will attract. You say, “But it’s get out of debt.” I don’t care if it’s get out or get in, if you’re thinking debt, you’re attracting debt. Set up an automatic debt repayment program and then start to focus on prosperity.”

    Law of Attraction aside, that is great advice. Simply for the fact that it emphasizes taking your focus away from the problem and on to the solution. Your bills still get paid, but your mind is now free to focus on prosperity and growth.

    3. Don’t Put Money on an Emotional Pedestal

    If any of you are like me, and have grown up without a lot of money, you may have developed some pretty strong negative emotional stances concerning money.

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    Money was always viewed as a source of stress. Something that directly dictated whether or not I was going to have a good day. I used to feel strongly (and still do, at times – it’s a work in progress) that my personal self-worth was directly related to what kind of clothes I was wearing, what kind of car I was driving, and how nice my apartment was. All of this pointed right back to how much money I had in my bank account.

    Money should not be such a major thing in our life that it is able to dictate our emotional state or determine our own self-worth.

    This closely relates to the first tip that I listed. If we’re able to view money as nothing more than a tool for us to wield, we become the ones in charge of our lives – not the money.

    If we’re emotional about money and allow it to dictate our mood, how can we ever begin to use it effectively as a tool? I mean, you don’t get emotional over a vacuum cleaner, do you? Emotions will cloud our judgement and cause us to make poor choices with our money.

    The wealthiest people in the world will tell you, “Don’t get emotional about money.” While this is sometimes easier said than done, it’s very solid advice. Learning to take money down from that emotional pedestal and put it in our hands, where a good tool should be, is a key step for moving our mindset towards that of wealth creation. And that puts us in the driver’s seat.

    Featured photo credit: Growth of Money on Napkin via Shutterstock and inline photo by Philip Taylor PT via Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

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    Last Updated on July 10, 2020

    The Definitive Guide to Get out of Debt Fast (and Forever)

    The Definitive Guide to Get out of Debt Fast (and Forever)

    Debt can feel crushing, like a weight that is always weighing you down. Looking at those numbers, it can feel as if you’ll never get out from under it. However, if you really want to learn how to get out of debt, it is possible with a great deal of focus and self-control.

    Getting out of debt isn’t impossible. Like any big goal, all that it takes is an action plan to identify where you are and creating a plan to zero out your debt.

    Identifying All of Your Debts

    The first part of paying off your debt is getting a complete picture of what you owe. When you have everything written out in front of you, it makes it much easier to create an action plan. Depending on how much you owe, it might also help you realize it’s not as bad you might have originally thought.

    Here’s how you can get started identifying your debts:

    1. Own Your Debt

    Before you start identifying all of your debts, take a moment to process that you have debt but want to get out of it.

    Forgive yourself for any past mistakes, missed payments, or overspending. It might be painful to accept how much debt you have at first, but you must own it.

    2. Make a Debt Tracker

    It’s astonishing how few people ever created a tracker to understand their total debts. Most likely, it comes from not wanting to accept the guilt of having debt, but, if avoided, it can make it nearly impossible to get out of debt.

    Open up a new Google or Microsoft Excel sheet and list out all of your debts. Start with the name of the creditor, interest rates, total balance, loan term length (if any), and the minimum amount due each payment. This will include student loans, credit cards, and any other type of debt owed.

    3. Get Your Debt Number

    Once you’ve made your debt tracker and taken the other steps, identify your total payoff number. This is crucial, as you will have a starting point and a clear goal that you are trying to achieve.

    Prioritizing Your Debts

    All debt is not created equal. It’s imperative to understand that there are different types of debt.

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    1. Understand Bad and Good Debts

    Bad debts are usually paying for things you want instead of always need. While there might be some emergencies that max out your credit cards, often times it’s excessive spending[1].

    There are three main types of bad debt:

    • Credit Card Debt: The average American household owes over $16,000 in credit card debt!
    • Auto Loan Debt: According to CNBC , the average auto loan in the US is $30,032!
    • Consumer Loan Debt: Consumer loan debt isn’t as common as credit card and auto loan debt, but it’s still considered bad as interest rates are usually between 10-28%.

    Good debt is identified as investments in your future. Here are three common types of good debt:

    • Student Loan Debt
    • Mortgage Loan
    • Business Loans

    2. Decide Which Debt to Pay off First

    Once you know each type of debt and their interest rates, you can begin to pay off debt quickly.

    Focus on paying off bad debt first, regardless of if it is a credit card or auto loan. Start by paying off the loan with the highest interest rate first.

    If you have several credit cards with different interest rates, you want to focus on the one with a higher APR. You will actually save more money by eliminating the card with the highest interest rate.

    3. Don’t Pay the Minimum Amount

    Paying the minimum amount digs you into a hole as interest rates will offset your payment. Even a small amount more than the minimum can help you pay off debt much faster.

    Removing Obstacles to Pay off Debt Quickly

    Creating a debt tracker and prioritizing a plan is simple, but avoiding temptation can be difficult.

    1. Set a Reminder to Track Your Debt

    “If you can’t measure it you can’t manage it.” -Peter Drucker

    It’s so important to track your debt to ensure that you get it paid off quickly. Similar to working out and measuring your results, you need to track your debt constantly. Start with a weekly reminder, where you sign on and log your updated number. Did you increase, decrease, or stay the same?

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    Regularly tracking your student loan balance can be incredibly motivating, as well. You will get a huge confidence boost each time you see your total debt amount decreases.

    Set weekly and monthly goals so you can have short term wins and keep the momentum going.

    2. Hide Your Credit Cards

    If your biggest debt is credit cards, you need to eliminate temptation and remove them from your wallet.

    Some people have gone to extreme measures by freezing their credit cards. Why? This would create an ice block around your card, which would require you to chip away at it slowly. This will give you time to think if it’s the best idea to buy that thing you’re about to buy.

    3. Automate Everything

    Willpower can be a huge downfall to paying off your debt. By automating your bills each month, you will ensure that willpower isn’t involved.

    4. Plan Ahead

    Getting out of debt will require some sacrifices, but with enough planning, you can make it work.

    For example, if you know that you have a friend’s birthday or family dinner coming up, plan ahead for the costs. Whether you need to cut back on spending the week before, pick up a side job, or meet them after dinner, do what is needed.

    5. Live Cheaply

    The only way to get out of debt is to make some sacrifices on your spending habits. Find ways to save money each month so you can apply that amount to your outstanding debts. Here are some ways to save money each month:

    • Live with roommates
    • Cook dinners and prepare lunches for work instead of eating out
    • Cut cable and choose Netflix or Amazon Prime
    • Take public transit or bike to work

    Finding the Lowest Interest Rates

    The higher your interest rates, the harder (and longer) it will take you to pay off any debt.

    If possible, you want to find ways to lower your interest rates to help get out of debt quickly. Here’s how you can get started:

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    1. Maintain a High Credit Score

    Your credit score will have a large impact on your ability to refinance your loans and receive a lower interest rate. If you have a low credit score, it’s unlikely you will be able to refinance your loans. Use these credit tips to increase and maintain an excellent score:

    • Never miss a payment
    • Don’t exceed 30% of your credit limit
    • Don’t sign up for more than one card at once
    • Limit hard inquires, like auto-loans and new credit cards
    • Monitor frequently with free credit-tracking software

    2. Find Balance Transfer Offers

    Start by opening a free account on credit.com. Credit.com offers you the chance to open a free account and see what type of balance transfer offers you can receive. Some of your existing credit cards might already have 0% or lower APR balance transfer offers available.

    Contact each of your credit card providers to ask about lowering your rate for a one-time balance transfer offer[2].

    If you do take advantage of this option, make sure that you use a balance transfer and not a cash advance. Cash advances have a ton of high interest fees (15-25%, depending on your credit card) and will only compound your debt problem.

    How to Get Rid of Debt Forever

    Setting up a plan, removing temptations, and getting the lowest interest rates is the first step to get out of debt.

    1. Keep Monitoring and Adjusting

    Once you have a plan, don’t get comfortable. Track your debt payoff plan and make the necessary adjustments when needed.

    Monitor your credit scores with a free site like CreditKarma. The higher your credit score climbs, the more likely you will be to secure a new, lower-interest loan.

    2. Earn More Money

    There are only so many ways to save money. Instead of clipping another coupon or making sacrifices for your morning coffee, find ways to earn more money!

    Think about it…it is much easier to find ways to earn an extra $1,000 per month than find $1,000 to cut from your budget.

    Here are some examples of ways to earn more money:

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    Talk to Your Boss

    Have a conversation with your boss about current salary and/or commission rates. If you’re not satisfied or want a change, don’t be afraid to look around at other positions. Some of them might even have a student loan debt reimbursement plan!

    Start a Side Hustle

    This could be coaching students on the weekends, driving for Uber, or taking paid online surveys. There are tons of ways to make money outside your 9-5. Now that you have a clear plan to pay off your debts, you’ll be more motivated than ever to figure out creative new ways to earn money.

    Build an Online Business

    There are so many websites and blogs that earn money from ads, affiliates, and other online products. Find your niche and get started.

    3. Celebrate Your Wins

    As you progress in your debt payoff journey, don’t forget to celebrate your wins. You need to always reward yourself for the hard work and discipline that is required to get out of debt.

    While you shouldn’t celebrate so big that it increases debt, make sure to factor in little rewards to keep you motivated.

    4. Set New Financial Goals

    Eventually, with a plan and these steps, you can rid yourself of your debt. Once you do, make sure to celebrate your monumental achievement, but don’t stop there.

    Now, you can focus on acquiring wealth and increasing your net worth. Set new financial goals so you have a new target to aim toward. Here’s how to set financial goals and actually meet them.

    These could be anything now that you are debt free! Think about where you want to travel, buying your first home, or saving for your future retirement. Just like before, make sure that your goals are specific, measurable, and achievable.

    Conclusion

    Congrats, you can now set a plan in motion to finally pay off your debt quickly (and hopefully forever)!

    Remember, if you want to get out of debt quickly, it’s not always easy. Just like any big goal, there will be sacrifices, challenges, and problems to overcome.

    More Tips on Getting out of Debt

    Featured photo credit: Pepi Stojanovski via unsplash.com

    Reference

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