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Who says you can't be rich?

>> Friday, September 25, 2009

The Straits Times. Aug 18, 2009.
By Lorna Tan

It is an understatement to say that most of us strive to be financially independent. I'm no different. I dream of the day when I can say I'm working only because I feel like it and not because I have to. But we all know daydreaming won't help us to achieve our financial goals.

To a large extent, our attitudes and perceptions determine how we respond to and deal with issues. Suffice to say, a good attitude and a set of positive self-beliefs are prerequisites for any successful pursuit.

It is no different when it comes to wealth accumulation and money management. For instance, without the belief that we should take charge and be responsible for our own financial well-being, we will procrastinate and achieve nothing. In the same vein, if we believe that everything is fated, we will take the easy route and blame our destiny instead of stepping up our financial literacy and looking out for opportunities.

Almost everyone knows the importance of money, but there are many who consciously or unconsciously limit themselves on what they can achieve because of their personal beliefs.

See if you can identify your money beliefs in the eight examples here:

  • Money is the root of all evil.
  • Money cannot buy happiness.
  • I'm married. My husband will take care of the finances.
  • It is better not to be too rich. When men have surplus money, their eyes will wander. My husband will become unfaithful and leave me if we become wealthy.
  • I'm a mother, so it is only right that the needs of my husband and kids come first. It's not right for me to think of my own retirement needs.
  • My financial plan is my husband/kids. Someone will take care of me when I'm old.
  • I'm hopeless with figures. They give me a headache.
  • The filthy rich usually get rich through ruthless or dishonest means.
Which of the above beliefs, many of which are self-defeating, strike a chord with you? Bogged down by such beliefs, it is no wonder that some of us can't even make it to the starting point because the motivation to be rich is not even there.

Another unpleasant truth is that most people are too lazy to be rich. They may say they want to be rich but they don't do much about it except to hope to become rich by chance.

Don't get me wrong. There is nothing wrong with buying that lottery ticket or participating in a lucky draw. I still harbour hopes of getting a sudden inheritance from a rich, long-lost relative. But don't just stop there. Be realistic and realise that we must be prepared to put in the effort and make sacrifices.

The good news is we have the ability to choose our attitudes, behaviours and responses. This will lead to physical changes and result in us taking the right action plans to achieve our goals. A good place to start is to form positive mental pictures of who you want to be. Here are five steps to achieving financial success.

First of all, throw out any self-beliefs that stand in your way of making money. It is worth your while to take some time and explore your childhood memories of money. Doing so will help you arrive at a deeper understanding of yourself and your attitude towards money.

Second, ask yourself what you want the money for. It helps if you have an idea of what you plan to do with the money. This is because it is more meaningful if money is seen as a means to an end. Perhaps you want to enhance the lifestyles of your parents who slogged all their lives to bring you up. Or you may aspire to be a philanthropist and set up many charities and foundations to help the poor and needy. Ask yourself how you want to use the money to transform yourself and the people around you.

Third, instead of your old self-defeating money beliefs, adopt new positive beliefs such as:
  • It is okay to want to be rich.
  • I am worthy and deserving of prosperity and love.
  • I'm a mother but it is okay to prioritise my retirement needs and look out for myself.
  • If I don't look after my own financial well-being, no one else will.
  • Money is a friend, not a foe.
  • I can create my own financial destiny.
  • I am prepared to put in the effort to be rich.
Fourth, form mental images of where you would like to be in the future. A friend, who is a human resource consultant, often uses pictures in magazines to prompt his workshop participants to talk about themselves by picking a picture that best represents their mood or emotion. Being able to visualise yourself and your goals is a powerful tool.

Last, but not least, changing your mindset is not enough, so have an action plan to help you achieve your goals. Be diligent in acquiring more financial knowledge by reading up about money management and investing. Get professional advice.

You are now all set and ready to embark on a financially rewarding journey.

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