A Life of Freedom: Adopting a Better Psychology of Money

If you’re like a lot of other reps in sales, you probably got into the business to make money.

Five-figure cars, luxury clothes, a gargantuan house—there’s plenty of potential for it all in the right sales position.

But even with all these trappings of wealth, having the wrong beliefs about money can prevent you from being rich. And I mean truly rich. Rich in fulfillment. Rich in time. And most of all, rich in freedom.

That’s why it’s so important to cultivate the right psychology of money—a mindset where you see money for what it really is. We're not talking about income or investment returns, personal finance or weird Wall Street Journal articles here.

We're talking about your money mindset. A mindset that lets you spend smarter, boost your wealth more quickly, make better financial decisions and build the life you’ve always wanted.

This guide covers a five-step framework for adopting that mindset. Inside we’ll look at some of the destructive money beliefs that are likely holding you back, how to rebuild your idea of money from the ground up, and what it takes to turn frivolous spending habits into impactful, meaningful habits to create a life true of freedom.

Where Do Our Money Beliefs Come From?

In order to adopt a psychology of wealth, one that sets you up for steering toward money rather than away from it, you first need to understand where your beliefs about money come from.

These beliefs aren’t derived from a single source. And instead, you develop and combine them over the course of your entire life.

However, our money beliefs typically come from four sources in particular.

  1. Our parents
  2. Our friends
  3. Our society
  4. Our selves

Our Parents

Our very first models for acceptable human behavior are our parents. And in addition to being the first to teach us about friendship, honesty, duty, and purpose, our parents are also the first to teach us about money.

These beliefs start early, too. PBS reports that, “By age 3, your kids can grasp basic money concepts. By age 7, many of their money habits are already set.”

These beliefs about spending money, student loan debt and managing money dramatically effect our financial freedom.

For salespeople like you, those beliefs might be solidified by a working parent who’s spending all of their free time at the office. Or perhaps a mom or dad who can only spend on necessities, never niceties. Or maybe it’s a role model that’s living paycheck to paycheck.

Whether you know it or not, these subtleties have helped form your ideas surrounding income, spending, work-life, fulfillment, and personal freedom.

Our Friends

As we age, the influence of our friends becomes ever more important.

Think of your middle school and high school years. Who were the popular kids? What kinds of clothes were they wearing? What types of toys did they show off to their friends? And how important was having the new “in” thing to climbing the social hierarchy?

If you’re like most, you probably felt compelled to spend your hard-earned grocery store or pizza shop paycheck on the flashiest wares and items. Frivolous spending, then, may have been directly connected in your mind with what so many kids desire above all else—popularity.

Now imagine the opposite, imagine that you're friends with Warren Buffett or Bill Gates. How would that change your future desires on building wealth, early retirement, buying fancy cars or playing a different financial game.

Our Society

Society as a whole comes next. And depending on what type of society you interact with, your college years and 20s or 30s may have just been an extension of high school (i.e., those with the best toys live the best life). As you might expect, this mindset just leads to even more ridiculous spending habits.

But for others, becoming more involved with society as a whole actually leads to despising wealth. The better-off are simply hoarding wealth to keep it out of the hands of others. And anyone with a BMW and a Rolex is an expert at screwing over others in order to boost their own bank account.

As we’ll see, both these kinds of beliefs (and many others) aren’t built on facts. And beyond that, they’re holding you back from attaining the true value of money—freedom.

Our Selves

Finally, the last impediments to a psychology of wealth come from ourselves. Our own self-esteem, ambition, and understanding of our potential all influence whether or not we think we deserve money.

All of our belief influencers up till now (parents, friends, society) have instilled in us a particular money personality. Once we have an idea of what type of person we are (“I’m not good with money,” “I don’t have to worry about my future,” “I love shopping”), it can be especially hard to break free from that conception.

In general, there are five types of money personality:

  • The Big Spenders – Self-explanatory really, this money personality loves the flashier things in life—the fancy car, the gaudy shoes, the luxury clothing. Spending is a social statement. And they don’t care what it costs to make that statement.
  • The Shoppers – These are the people who buy because it gives them an emotional kick. They’re bargain hunters, sure. But they can’t help buying items they don’t really need.
  • The Debtors – These are the spenders with no eye for the future. They don’t care too much about making a statement or feeding an emotional need to buy. Instead, they just don’t keep track of their spending. And as a result, they carelessly rack up debts.
  • The Savers – Conservative and risk-averse, a saver will shovel away their hard-earned coin without spending much on wealth growth. Their only goal in life is to save money. The most responsible money personality so far, a saver is also victim to their own unwillingness to spend money to make money.
  • The Investors – This money personality understands the value of money. And they know accumulating wealth is a means to an end, not their overall goal. Investors make informed decisions with their money, and most are trying to achieve financial independence so they can pursue what they really want from life.

Leveraging the Psychology of Money Framework

Now that you have a better understanding of where your psychology of money comes from, it’s time to take a look at how to change it.

Because just as with any other psychological concept, your ideas about money can in fact change.

And if you’re like most sales reps, it should change. It’ll take a bit of work, sure. But adopting a different (and healthier) way of thinking about money is worth it. Because doing so is the only way to achieve the freedom to live your life like you want.

That’s what The Leveraging the Psychology of Money Framework is all about—freedom. And it breaks down into five steps:

  1. Evaluating Your Current Financial Beliefs
  2. Assessing Your Feelings
  3. Taking Action
  4. Seeing Results
  5. Injecting Positive Evidence & Restarting the Cycle

1. Evaluating Your Current Financial Beliefs

The first step is often the hardest because it requires you to look at and question longstanding beliefs. Beliefs you’ve probably never questioned before.

These are the ideas of wealth you’ve picked up over the years from parents, friends, society at large, and from yourself. And in all likelihood, you’ve probably held them for most of your life.

What’s more, you may not even be conscious of the fact that you hold these beliefs. But that doesn’t mean those beliefs don’t still permeate your goals, your actions, and your very thoughts.

So, at this first step of the framework, let’s take a look at some of the foundational beliefs about money that are dragging you down.

What Is Money?

Money in and of itself is not an end goal. It is not happiness. It is not power. And it is not the root of all evil.

Instead, money is simply a medium to exchange what you spend your life doing for what other people are spending their life doing.

Put another way:

Money = The exchange of your life for something someone else has exchanged their life for. 

Here’s an example—I’m creating this content for you right now, and I’m spending my non-renewable resource, which is time. The market will reward me for spending my time and give me some money in exchange.

Simple enough, right?

Now, I am currently spending some of this money having a new driveway laid at my house. The driveway workers are spending their non-renewable resources of time laying the driveway. And they’re doing that so they can spend their money on something else that someone else has spent their non-renewable resource of time creating.

And this cycle goes on and on.

Money, then, isn’t inherently anything. It’s just a way of trading one person’s time for another’s.

Destructive Beliefs About Money

Now, once we understand that money is in essence just an exchange of time, that opens up the door to reinterpreting a slew of destructive beliefs about money.

Let’s go through some of them and how this different interpretation turns things on their heads.

  • Money Is Finite – The idea that there’s only so much money to be had (and that you only deserve a finite chunk) goes out the window when you realize that money is just a translation of time.
  • Rich People Are Bad – People can be evil with or without money. And just because you’ve adopted a psychology of money and grown your wealth (again, just an exchange of time) doesn’t mean it will change who you are as a person.
  • Money Doesn’t Renew – Because money is a medium for exchanging time, it is constantly renewing. New people, products, and services are entering the market all the time. And as long as individuals are still producing something with their time, the stockpile of money will keep renewing (i.e., don’t be afraid to spend—wisely, of course).
  • Money Has a Mind of Its Own – Money is not inherently evil because it doesn’t have a mind of its own. Instead, it’s just a tool. It does what you tell it to do. And accumulating more of it doesn’t mean you’ll fall under its “spell” (there is no spell!).
  • Money Spent Is Money Wasted – There’s nothing wrong with saving. But just because you’re spending doesn’t mean you’re wasting. Investing your money is absolutely key to building a self-sustaining stream of income and to living with more freedom.

2. Assessing Your Feelings

Now that you’ve reconfigured some of the destructive beliefs about money that hold most people back from growing their wealth, let’s dive deeper inward.

The goal of this part of the framework is to help you evaluate your priorities and understand if you’re working hard to earn money that allows you to live a great life OR if you’re working hard to earn more money to waste on more crap that won’t make you happy.

And before you can make that distinction, you need to learn about fulfillment.

Understanding Fulfillment

From a scientific perspective, when we track neurochemical activity in the brain, fulfillment comes when we accomplish a goal or enjoy a real moment of contentment. It’s that deep satisfaction when you say, “Hell yeah, that was delicious!” Or “That was a job well done” or “that was well worth the money.”

It’s fairly easy to understand fulfillment in terms of a nice meal or other temporary pleasures that we can purchase. But to have fulfillment in a larger sense, we need to be buying incredibly useful objects that move us towards building a sense of purpose and a good life.

The real value of wealth is that it provides freedom. Freedom to do what you want and to seek lasting (not temporary) fulfillment from what’s truly important to you.

And the sooner you steer away from the superficial pleasures, the sooner you can start building the freedom for that real fulfillment.

But that takes knowing what’s truly important to you.

What Do YOU Want?

For many of us growing up, getting a job, and having responsibilities mean outgrowing our dreams. So our goals of traveling around the world become two weeks of hitting the tourist traps each summer. The dream of writing a best-selling novel becomes reading books about publishing books and never putting pen to paper.

You (and millions of others like you) have spent countless hours, days, years, and even decades devoting your work life to someone else’s agenda. And along the way, those hours have whittled away your uniqueness.

They’ve turned you into round pegs to fit in corporate round holes, all of your edges or aspirations getting sanded down.

At one time or another, every one of us has had a dream of what we wanted our lives to be. And the majority of us have left it behind.

To help you determine what’s important (and what goals to shoot for), ask yourself the following questions:

  • What have you always wanted to do that you haven’t yet done?
  • What have you done in your life that you’re proud of and want to do again?
  • If you knew you were going to die within the next 12 months, how would you spend your remaining time?
  • If you didn’t have to work for a living, what would you be doing?

3. Taking Action

Up till now, we’ve covered two important points:

  1. Money is an exchange of time. And the destructive beliefs many people hold about money simply are not true.
  2. If you want to get the most fulfillment possible from your money, you need to understand what’s really important to you. Spending more time in these areas requires ignoring the frivolous and investing in the important.

At this point, I usually tell my students to ask three vital questions after each purchase. Doing so steers their spending towards more future-focused investments.

How Long Did It Take To Earn This?

This question is incredibly powerful because it draws a direct comparison between your purchases to your time.

Say I’m looking to buy a new car. The first thing I do is calculate how many hours an $80k car would cost me. Let’s say for a round number that I earn $200 an hour. That’s 400 hours of my life (that I can never get back, mind you) that I’d have to “spend” to earn this car.

Working 8-hour days, that’s 50 days. And at five days a week, it’s ten weeks of my life that I need to trade to earn the car.

Now that might not seem like a lot of time, right? Trading 10 weeks of your life for a sick car?

But that’s why we have to go deeper and ask the follow-up questions…

Is the Value Equal to the Price of Your Time?

Imagine you are lying on your death bed, looking back on your life. Would you rather have traded ten weeks for that specific car, or traded four weeks for a cheaper one and spent the rest of the time (six extra weeks) doing what you’re really passionate about?

When you then compound this question across your big purchases in life, you start to ask the bigger question—would my life have been better:

  • Buying crap I ultimately don’t care about
  • Doing what I love, when I want, with the people I love?

Now of course, at this point you might be squirming in your seat slightly. When we do this training live, I can see our students looking confused. “But I got into sales to earn more money, so I could buy nicer shit!” I hear you cry. “Do I have to give up a nice car to get more freedom to do the things I love?”

The answer is a resounding no!

This is where we get to understanding the relationship between money and leverage.

Leverage = What allows you to give less of your life away to own, see, do, and buy cool stuff.

In our car example, let’s say your hourly rate wasn’t $200/hour. It was actually $2,000/hour. That changes the numbers completely. We’re now trading just five days of our lives rather than ten weeks.

That looks like a more reasonable exchange, right?

So, if you want to buy cooler stuff, then you just have to be willing to trade more hours of your life for that stuff OR increase your leverage to the marketplace (your hourly rate, for example) by getting better at your skill—which in our case is selling.

Would You Have Purchased If You Didn’t Have to Work?

Last but not least, the final question of “what I have made this purchase if I didn’t have to work for a living?” is a great sanity check on and large purchases you’re making in your life.

  • If I didn’t meet my customers at their offices, would I really want to spend $80k on a car?
  • If I wasn’t meeting my customers in person, would I really buy $2k suits?
  • If I wasn’t training groups of people, would I really have expensive watches?

Do you see how the mere fact that you work a certain job can make you spend money on that job?

Unless the purchase is going to increase your leverage, don’t trade more of your life than you need to.

4. Seeing Results

Only after you take stock of what’s really important to you can you hope to start seeing results. And that takes setting goals.

Smart and strategic goals aren’t just the end results of your efforts (e.g., start your own business, take more vacations). Instead, goals are made up of multiple milestones along the way. What smaller tasks are required to open up a successful business? How do you carve out enough time to take more vacations without putting you and your family in financial trouble?

Once you’ve set these goals and their respective milestones, only then can you take a step back and see how far you’ve really come.

Goals to Strive for

Your unique situation and desires will determine which goals you’re striving to complete. But in general, you’ll want to shoot for achieving some degree of the following.

  1. Reduce Your Spending – This goal is all about cutting expenses, both on frivolous costs and necessary expenses. Canceling unused channel subscriptions, reducing your takeout, and yes, drinking fewer lattes is a start. But you’ll also want to really question big purchases like a new vehicle or home cosmetic upgrade (“will this give me lasting fulfillment?”).
  2. Increase Your Income – Time is money. And your time on this earth is limited. That’s why you need to find ways to boost your leverage and increase your income. This doesn’t necessarily require a new employer. Instead, it could be earning more and bigger commissions.
  3. Increase Spending on Fulfillment – If you’ve really examined the questions in steps two and three, you’ll know what brings you fulfillment and what’s frivolous spending. Try to start putting more of your hard-earned money into the former than the latter.
  4. Invest the Difference Between Income & Expenses – Put your money into skill-building workshops. Start setting the financial foundation for an additional income stream. Max out your 401(k) contribution. Just make sure you’re investing in a brighter future, not just hoarding your dough.
  5. Generate More Freedom – Lastly, try investing in revenue-generating assets. The stock market and other traditional investments are of course options here. But more efficient lead generation systems, a stronger personal brand, and thought leadership materials like books and speaking roles all fit in this category too. As long as it gives you more freedom to do what you love, you’re doing things right.

5. Injecting Positive Evidence & Restarting the Cycle

You’re not done yet!

Once you’ve started seeing results based on the goals you’ve set for yourself, it’s time to inject positive evidence and start the cycle over again.

What I mean by “injecting positive evidence” is taking notice of how your previous beliefs and conceptions of money were bunk and verifying that with the results you’ve just achieved.

It took hard work overcoming your destructive psychology of money. But when you did, you were able to earn more, invest in your future, and open up the door to spend more time doing what you truly love.

So, what other beliefs can you cut down and build from the ground up?

Restarting the cycle lets you dig deeper into your true earning potential.

Let’s take a look at how you can re-evaluate the steps of this framework as you repeat the cycle.

Beliefs

One of the most common beliefs that hold people back at any stage of their career is this:

“I don’t deserve more money.

Also known as imposter syndrome, we all think we are frauds at one stage in our professional lives or another. That we’re overpaid. Or that, at best, we’re already earning what we should be earning.

This becomes even more common as we start to earn more.

But it’s important as you continue to adopt a psychology of wealth and move your way through the cycle again that you reconsider your “worth” in the field.

What new skills have you developed as you achieved your previous goals? How have you become more valuable? And why, now, should you start charging more for your time?

In all likelihood, everything you’ve accomplished should add up to your time becoming more valuable.

Feelings

Next up, it’s time to re-evaluate your feelings.

What’s been giving you more fulfillment lately? What new passions have you developed that you’d like to spend more time on? What about new social pursuits involving friends and family? And what other pursuits do you think you’d develop if you only had more time?

Actions

As you move through the cycle, you should continually be assessing how you can skyrocket your ability to make money—your leverage.

Is it time to start charging clients more for your time? Should you start working on generating more passive income? Are there any career options within or outside of your current company that you’d like to pursue?

Remember, you’re more skilled than you were when you last went through the cycle. So be sure to factor that into your earning potential.

Results

Last but not least, step back and take a look at how far you’ve come. What did you accomplish throughout the most recent cycle? What have you accomplished since you started on your pursuit for a psychology of money?

Added to that, have you achieved the goals you set out to achieve? Where did you fall short? And where did you exceed expectations (a good sign it’s time to take things up a notch)?

Finally, what can you do next time you set your new goals?

The key is to stick with the cyclical nature of the framework. Get smarter. Get better. And get wealthier.

If you do that, eventually you’ll have the freedom to live the life you’ve always wanted.

Wrapping Up

Money is complicated. And managing it with the wrong mindset is a bit like trying to build with marbles—each time you take things up a level, everything goes to hell.

But when you reframe what money is, you turn those marbles into blocks. And as you accumulate more, you can start building your life into the one you want to live.

With The Leveraging the Psychology of Money Framework, you can learn to adopt a wealth mindset and use money as a tool for creating more freedom in your life.

Just follow the four simple steps:

  1. Evaluating Your Current Financial Beliefs
  2. Assessing Your Feelings
  3. Taking Action
  4. Seeing Results
  5. Injecting Positive Evidence & Restarting the Cycle

When you do, you’ll stop wasting money on the superficially fulfilling, start earning your true financial potential, and live a life built on fulfillment, passion, joy, and (most importantly) true freedom.

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