Updated January 25, 2023
I have this little cringe moment every time I write about money. I guess that in itself is one of my worst money blocks.
I was raised relatively poor–although I never went hungry. I was the oldest of 5 kids in a small town in the woods of northern Canada. Clothes were handed down or came in garbage bags from kind neighbors. Food was homemade–we spent summers working on friends’ farms in exchange for some good meat and vegetables for the winter. I might have stepped into a restaurant 5 times before I turned 15, and they all started with Mc.
I guess you could say I had a weird relationship to money from the start–in that I never had any. Maybe you know how this feels.
In my mind, I got used to thinking, “We can’t afford that.” And we didn’t.
My poverty extended to university. I couldn’t, or wouldn’t, pay for the Greyhound home, so I used to hitchhike the 400 miles between Campus and my hometown on deserted, snowy highways.
That was fun.
The thing is, money and I have never had a good relationship. College made the money blocks worse, as I sat in class after class of profs who made me read Marx and curse the rich…
When I started a journey of personal finance and personal development, I started to come face to face with my money blocks. I fought with them when I first hit $100k. I had to overcome these to start building wealth. And they’ve been SUPER challenging when starting a business.
I’m always working to have a better money mindset, and confronting these is job #1.
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- What is a money block?
- 8 Money blocks I’ve had
- How to get rid of negative money blocks
What is a money block?
Well, you probably got it from the title. But a money block is an unconscious idea about money we have, usually picked up from our background. From a young age, we’re socialized to believe certain things about money — like I talked about in the article. You probably don’t have the same money blocks I do, but chances are you have them.
The thing that sucks about money blocks is that they can have real impacts on our ability to earn more and grow wealth. So if you had a parent that taught you “It’s impossible to get ahead” or “Rich people are evil,” that can hold you back from earning.
8 Money blocks I’ve had
1. Making money is bad
If you were raised working class like me or spent too much time in lefty classrooms, also like me, you might come to believe that making money is bad.
This is a money block that stops college graduates from knowing what they’re worth.
I’m no expert on the ethics of making money, but I know that the professor who used to lecture us on the evils of capitalism made over $100,000 a year.
If you like to get paid what you’re worth, I recommend taking this mindset to task and accepting that you deserve to be paid for your work. And you probably deserve to be paid well.
If you don’t believe that, nobody else will.
2. You have to work to make money
Wtf, you’re saying. How the heck is this a money block!
I’m not saying you won’t have to work to earn money–I work my ass off. But there are more ways to earn money than exchanging 1 hour of work for 1 hour of pay.
When you order a book on Amazon, do you think Jeff Bezos is sitting on the other end packaging your book and selling it to you? Of course not!
He created a system that does it, and he makes money whether he’s there or not (although it took a lot of work to make that system). The wealthiest people do work of course, but they create systems to turn money for them.
The internet is FULL of scams about money, but the fact is, it’s also become a force multiplier — a lot of people (yours truly included) have created systems to make money online. And part of the way I make money is through this blog!
You can also earn money by putting your money to work. If you place an investment in the stock market, your money can earn money for you, whether you were there or not. I’m not saying you shouldn’t work. I work really hard on my project. But I try separate time for money to create freedom.
If you’ve ever read Robert Kiyosaki’s famous book, Rich Dad, Poor Dad, you know that this is lesson 1: “The Rich don’t Work for Money.”
Read More: 14 Viable Passive Income Ideas
3. Poverty is noble
I was raised in a religion that taught that being poor was a blessing. God wanted us poor because it helped us to be more spiritual.
I’m not going to tell you how to follow a religion if you have one, but let me tell you that there is nothing inherently noble about poverty. Poverty sucks.
4. The rich are evil
Maybe a few rich people are like Scrooge McDuck, but the rich people I’ve been lucky enough to meet are some of the most wonderful, kind, generous people I’ve ever met. They’re no different than you or I, except they have made different life decisions.
If you want to hate rich people, go right ahead, but it’s not going to hurt them, it’s going to hurt you. And you’re a heck of a lot less likely to become wealthy if you’ve made up your mind the rich are evil.
5. There’s only so much money & the rich take it!
There is so much money in the world! Nope. I live in the west, and the government is printing more all the time. Some people have this idea that there are limited amounts of money, and we should spread it around. I believe that money and value are created.
I happen to live in the place where Shopify is headquartered. (BTW if you want to start an e-commerce business, use Shopify!) So when the founder, Tobi, created the company, did it suck all the money out of this city, and give it to him? Nope. On the contrary, it brought value, jobs, opportunities.
Is his company evil? Does it make people who use Shopify poor? Nope. He only makes money if a business owner uses Shopify to make money.
So who is getting screwed here? Maybe it’s the people who buy things from those business owners? Maybe, but there’s a reason they choose to buy.
The fact is, Tobi is getting rich because he is bringing value to just about everyone. That’s hardly evil.
And the idea that the rich are just hogging all the money doesn’t hold up.
6. I’m not good enough to earn a lot of money
Go take a look at the rich people, and you will find that they are not all brilliant or ridiculously talented.
They just did some things right, and usually, these are things that almost anybody can learn.
There are millions of hours of free videos, millions of blog posts like this one…. And a lot of really good books on the subject. You can teach yourself ridiculously valuable skills, online!
I don’t for a minute believe in “manifesting” wealth–which is that you think nice thoughts and money shows up for you. But I DO believe that making money, whether at a job or in business, is something that can be learned–and most people don’t devote themselves to learning how to do it.
This is one of the most common money blocks out there.
7. You have to be born rich to succeed.
Nah. There are lots of children of rich parents who squandered their fortunes on cocaine. There are a lot of people who worked themselves up from nothing.
And there are an equal amount who came from a middle-class, unassuming background and grew wealth.
You could argue that there’s some luck to being successful, but I really don’t think being born rich is the necessary precursor.
Also, the people who say this usually ARE rich. I was born in a rich Western country. Even though I was poor by my country’s standards, I was still richer than a lot of the world.
8. Rich people are lucky
Oh sure, some of them probably are. But are all rich people just lucky?
Let me ask you something, Have you ever studied how to become rich? Have you ever developed a plan? Have you ever devoted attention to earning money, or where it’s earned?
Most people don’t. Because they assume rich people are just lucky, they never actually try to figure out how to become rich.
I used to work in immigration. It was always amazing to me that many of the people who come to this country as refugees end up tremendously rich, in many cases outearning the average population. Meanwhile, the people who are born here sit on the couch complaining about how unfair life is.
How to get rid of negative money blocks
- Identify them & name them
- Try replacing them with new ideas (repetition or mantras can help!)
- Hire a money coach
- Adopt new ways of organizing or spending your money
- Educate yourself (Read some money books!)
These 8 money blocks wormed their way into my brain since the time I was young, and I’m desperately trying to unlearn them. How about you? Are there any I’m forgetting? Are you working on creating your own better money mindset?
It’s one of the greatest things you can do for your future!