Are You Afraid to Be Rich?
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Are you afraid to be rich? That might seem like a silly question. Who doesn’t dream about winning the lottery or making that “hit it big” invention (remember the Snuggie)? Most of us would love to be in a financial situation where money worries were a thing of the past.
If that’s the case, why do so many people fail to reach financial independence, even though it’s something they want deep down inside? That question came to the forefront of my mind last week and I spent some time wondering why so few of us seem to achieve the financial independence we want. Perhaps fear plays a role. Let me explain.
Afraid to be Rich?
It started pretty innocently: Mid-December or so, we took a good hard look at our debt payoff journey, which started two years ago last month. Since we now track every expense and have an up-to-date balance sheet of all that we owe, we were able to get a clear picture of how far we’ve come in the last two years in a five-minute span of time.
Studying the financial sheets, we realized that we were not moving as quickly toward debt freedom as we want to. Thus, we made a commitment to take our debt freedom goals to the next level and start speeding up our journey to debt freedom.
What has occurred since we made that decision two months ago has been nothing short of amazing. We’ve put more extra money toward debt in the last two months than we did all of last year combined.
Freelance income is multiplying at an awesome rate.
Rick’s getting overtime again.
For the first time in as long as I can remember, we will not have a paycheck-to-paycheck month in this household in March, even with a propane fill and a side of beef purchase coming up!
Coming from a 65 percent debt-to-income ratio lifestyle, this is nothing short of amazing for us.
When I realized that we’d finally gained some serious momentum regarding our money – momentum that will allow us to knock out some serious debt balances, I got scared.
Umm, What Did You Say?
What on earth? Why would I be scared of pursuing and reaching financial freedom? Why would I be scared of something I’ve prayed for, begged for and sacrificed for for two solid years? In searching my soul for the answers, I’ve come up with a few reasons why people might be afraid to be rich.
Change is Bad
Sometimes, due to childhood or life circumstances, people can subconsciously view change as a bad thing. Rick and I both had pretty unstable childhoods, and so on some level, change scares us; we long for stability. Other times, people have struggled with money for so many years that it becomes comfortable to be broke.
Not fun, but it’s what you’re used to. Is that the case with you? Have you been broke for so long that living with a surplus of money seems foreign and uncomfortable? If so, take a deep breath and believe that with the right mindset, you can handle more money wisely, perhaps even totally unlike how you managed (or didn’t manage) your money before.
Take little steps to building wealth and attacking debt. Use mind exercises, such as motivational statements, to see yourself as a financially stable person. Start changing the way you view yourself and your financial picture, so that when wealth comes, you’ll be used to viewing yourself as someone who deserves to be financially stable.
Rich People are Jerks
We likely all know, or at least hear about on the daily entertainment news, of some rich snob getting annoyed with the homeless person they have to step over as they’re on the way into Saks to buy the latest and greatest something that they absolutely must have.
The truth, though, is that most wealthy people, the true millionaires, aren’t like that at all.
Read The Millionaire Next Door and you’ll discover that many self-made millionaires are just like you – only with more money.
They live in modest houses, wear big box store clothing and eat at Ruby Tuesdays. In order to combat your fear that money will make you a jerk, start practicing a philanthropist attitude now.
If you don’t have money, give of your time. Serve food at the local homeless shelter or pack groceries at the local food shelf. Make a pile of stuff you don’t need any longer and give it to the local thrift store or to a needy family. Practice gratitude by focusing on being thankful for all of the things you have that many people in third world nations don’t, such as easy access to clean water, a warm home to live in, a toilet and daily food to eat. By working on your attitude now, you can help ease the fear that becoming wealthy will turn you into an unpleasant person.
I’ll Lose My Relationships with Broke Family/Friends
This one is mostly up to you. How can you avoid losing relationships with broke family and friends, and avoid creating a dividing line of separation when you become one of the rich?
Simple: don’t tell anyone.
Choose not to change your lifestyle too drastically. Work to avoid becoming prideful/judgmental toward your still-broke loved ones. If you want to be rich so that you can live a life of unabashed luxury, you can be sure of two things: you will likely lose relationships with your broke loved ones, and you’ll likely be broke again soon after you reach financial independence.
However, if you want to reach financial freedom so that your money, or lack of it, no longer dictates your choices in life, it’ll be easier to stay humble and keep your financial information to yourself. No one needs to know of your financial situation, either for the better or for the worse. Keep your money situation to yourself, freely giving advice about how living frugally has helped you without saying just how much it has helped you. 🙂
Change can be scary, but it’s not always bad. Stop being afraid to be rich, and instead remind yourself that financial freedom is something that you deserve, then plow on toward those goals.
Do you have specific fears that hinder your road to financial freedom? Do you ever imagine yourself with more money? What does ‘rich’ mean to you?
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