There’s a misconception that being wealthy means that you have so much money and assets that you can go for a leisurely “gold coin swim” like Scrooge McDuck. In reality, though, wealth is relative. In fact, it’s been found “that once your income exceeds $75,000 per year, your day-to-day experience doesn’t improve much as your income grows.”
In other words, money doesn’t buy you happiness. And, as Warren Buffett perfectly put it, “People seeking riches never have enough. Wealth is a state of mind. Wealthy people always have enough.”
Instead, it’s your accomplishments that lead to a more satisfied and wealthy life. To put that another way, it’s the journey and not the final destination that matters. But, to get there, you need to focus your mind on building wealth so that it becomes a reality.
To get you started, here are 10 ways that you can improve your money mindset. As a result, you’ll become wealthier financially and personally.
1. Cope with financial stress.
According to an American Psychological Association (APA) study, 72% of Americans feel stressed about money at least some of the time. And that was before the COVID-19 pandemic and the economic fallout it caused.
Why’s that a problem? Well, financial stress can lead to anxiety, depression, insomnia, and weight gain/loss. Financial worries can also cause strained relationships, social withdraw, and unhealthy coping mechanisms like gambling or substance abuse.
In turn, financial problems can impact your physical and mental health. And it also makes it more difficult to manage your money. Consequently, this can put you into a downward spiral.
So, the first step in focusing your mind on building wealth is to break the cycle by:
- Talking to someone. Rather than bottling up your emotions, open up to friends, family, or even a mental health professional. You may also want to speak with a financial advisor.
- Take inventory of your finances. Are you struggling to make ends meet? If so, the only way to dig yourself out is to see how much you’re making and comparing to that what you’re spending. From there, you can make changes to resolve this problem.
- Make a plan and stick to it. Once you track your finances, you can devise an action plan, such as eliminating discretionary and impulse spending to get out of debt.
- Create a monthly budget. A budget is a proven way to keep your spending in check. It also can help you track your progress and give you a sense of control.
- Manage your overall stress. Find ways to cope with stress in a healthy way, like through physical activity and self-care. And don’t forget to get enough sleep and eat healthily.
2. Have a “why.”
Wanting to be wealthy just for the sake of rubbing elbows with The Joneses isn’t going to cut it. You need to really think about why you want to increase your wealth. Is it because you want to pay off your debt, start your own business, or become financially independent?
Knowing your “why” will make it a whole lot easier to develop a game plan to achieve your goals. Moreover, it will keep you motivated — even if you have setbacks. And it will give you a sense of purpose, which will make you happy.
3. Create multiple streams of income.
“You won’t get rich without multiple flows of income,” writes self-made millionaire Grant Cardone. “That starts with the income you currently have.” AKA, your JOB.
“Increase that income and start adding multiple flows,” advises Cardone. “You want what is called symbiotic flows to that first flow of income. Do NOT add disconnected flows first.”
Instead, discover “other ways you can add income to the job you already have.” For example, Cardone’s video guy also does advertising for him — “and then he started making advertisements for those connected to me. He didn’t start a doughnut shop.”
The problem, according to Cardone, is that most people bounce “from one flow to a second flow resulting in two flows that do nothing. Your flows should always be connected.”
Other ways to optimize your 9 to 5? “Negotiate a raise and work remote opportunities, so you have more control over your time and more time to make money on the side,” advises Grant Sabatier of Millennial Money. “Make sure you’re maximizing all of your employee benefits, including commuter benefits, HSAs, and all retirement investing account opportunities.”
While Cardone is focusing on becoming “rich” here, this could still come in handy. After all, if you’re drowning in bills, one of the best ways to get your head above water is to bring-in more money.
4. Stay in your 3-foot world.
Confused? Don’t be. It’s just another way of saying you only focus on what you can control and change.
As explained during a “60 Minutes” interview, Navy SEAL Mark Owen said, “I found myself frozen on a 300-foot cliff. I couldn’t go up, and I couldn’t go down. My strength was beginning to drain.”
“The instructor swung over to me, attached to his climbing rope, and told me something that has impacted every part of my life. ‘Find your 3-foot world.’”
“From that moment, I focused fully on the cliff face before me, neither up nor down, not on what I couldn’t reach nor to where I couldn’t stop,” Owen stated. “Not on fear, nor tiredness — only on the task at hand. It was my 3-foot world and the only part of my world I had control over.”
5. Pay yourself first.
According to self-made millionaire and bestselling author David Bach, there’s “one, proven, easy way to get rich.” Want to know what that is? Always pay yourself first.
The concept is outlandishly simple. As Bach writes in The Automatic Millionaire, “When you earn a dollar, the first person you pay is you.”
Obviously, Bach isn’t reinventing the wheel here — and again is highlighting the word “rich.” But, it’s an effective strategy that most people don’t take advantage of when increasing their wealth.
“What most people do when they earn a dollar is to pay everyone else first. They pay the landlord, the credit card company, the telephone company, the government …” Bach writes. And, when it’s all said and done, they take what’s leftover. Bach dubs this as being “positively financially backward.”
How much should you set aside? Well, a lot of us have been told that it should be a percentage of our income. Bach disagrees. “You should be saving the equivalent of one hour’s worth of income each day.”
To make life easier for you, here’s Bach’s formula to find out:
Last week, I worked a total of ____ hours.
I earn $____ an hour (before taxes).
Last week, I put aside $____ for my retirement.
So last week, I worked ____ hours for myself.
6. Surround yourself with like-minded people.
Let’s say that within your inner circle, you have one friend who lives beyond their means. They live off of credit cards and could care less if they’re in debt. As they would say, “Yolo, y’all!”
But there’s another friend. They’re aware of their budget so that they don’t live above their means. They even have a retirement plan!
Out of these two friends, which one do you think will be a better influence on you? Obviously, it’s your financially-responsible friend. Besides being a source of inspiration, they can share advice on how to build your wealth, as well as help keep you accountable.
7. Invest. Every. Single. Day.
It’s possible to become a millionaire by investing just $5 per day. And, thanks to robo-advisors, this has never been easier. For example, if you have an app like Acorns, it will round-up your purchases and invest the spare change.
But it’s not just literally investing money. Investing also means improving your financial literacy. Whether if it’s keeping up with the latest market trends, reading a book, or listening to a podcast, learning more about finances can assist you in creating a budget or retirement plan, along with protecting your wealth.
8. Practice gratitude.
When you’re grateful, you focus more on what you have instead of what you don’t. That not only makes you more appreciative and content; it also encourages you to work with what you have. Because of this, you’ll be less stressed and compelled to engage in unhealthy financial habits.
Moreover, practicing gratitude rewires your brain for happiness and health.
And, as if that weren’t enough, gratitude can also broaden your social network, which, in turn, opens the door to new opportunities.
Best of all? Gratitude doesn’t require much of a time commitment. You can start by writing in a gratitude journal or just saying “thank you” to someone on a daily basis.
9. Change your mindset about money.
“Getting rich begins with the way you think and what you believe about making money,” writes Steve Siebold in How Rich People Think.
“The rich eventually figure out that training your mind to find solutions to difficult problems is the real secret to making money,” adds Siebold. “The good news is this is possible for anyone who conditions their mind to think this way, and then transforms thought into action.”
After hundreds of interviews, Siebold found that the wealthy use the following psychological tricks:
- When they can’t finance an idea, “they “proceed to use other people’s money to make it happen.”
- They set unreasonably high expectations. “No one would ever strike it rich and live their dreams without huge expectations,” he writes. “Ancient wisdom says you get what you expect, yet many people decide to limit their lives to middle-class mediocrity to protect themselves from failure.”
- They consider earning a game, and “it’s a game they love to win,” writes Siebold. “This is the reason millionaires still go to work every day chasing their next success. Money to these people is no more than a gauge that tells them when they have achieved their latest target.”
- The wealthy consider money “one of their greatest allies and friends.”
- “The great ones are operating at a level of consciousness where fear doesn’t exist,” Siebold explains. “At this level of thought, anything seems possible. Every dream that seems crazy to the masses looks surprisingly doable.”
- And, they believe that “success, fulfillment, and happiness are the natural order of existence,” Siebold writes. “This single belief drives the great ones to behave in ways that virtually guarantee their success.”
10. Think long term.
“Building wealth is a process, not an event — a process that takes discipline and a long-term outlook,” notes Anthony Isola from Nerdwallet. “You must focus on yourself, not what others are doing. Work hard and maintain a consistent approach.”
While not the easiest of tasks, “it’s doable for most people if they choose to make a commitment and stick to it.” And, the best approach to take? Thinking for the long haul by:
- Realizing that it takes time to create anything valuable. For example, bailing on investment too quickly instead of riding it out.
- Working hard every day even if you don’t see improvement in the short term. Learning a new skill doesn’t mean you’ll get a raise immediately. However, just remember that you “will be rewarded with the miracle of compounded returns in the future.”
- Being consistent. “Persistence is the key to any successful endeavor,” explains Isola. “While it might satisfy a short-term urge to remodel your kitchen by raiding your 401(k) account, resist this temptation and stick to the plan.”
- Enjoying the process, and don’t worry about the outcome. Don’t obsess over money. Rather, put things on autopilot so that you can still enjoy your life.
- Not comparing yourself to others. Instead, Isola recommends that “you compare yourself now to yourself two years ago.”