Money Mindset Mini Course
If you want to live a Rich Life, your money mindset needs to be working for you — not against you.
In this mini-course, you’ll take a dive into your money psychology. You’ll look at the invisible scripts guiding your money beliefs and behaviors. By the end of the course, you’ll have tools that will empower you to use money to live your Rich Life.
Let’s get started.
Money is more than dollars and cents on a spreadsheet
I spoke with a couple on my podcast, Michael and Nicole. Their car wasn’t safe to drive and needed a repair. The cost to repair it properly was $800. The cost for a short-term solution was $120.
“I didn’t even weigh the pros and cons,” said Nicole. “I immediately said, ‘Let’s just do the cheaper option.’”
Their net worth? $5.7 million.
Nicole has millions of dollars in the bank…but she’s still agonizing over spending a few hundred dollars to protect her family!
If you have more than enough money, but you’re still stressed and don’t know how to use it to live your Rich Life, what’s the point?
How you THINK and FEEL about money, spending, saving, goals, abundance, and your Rich Life is critical.
Whether it’s buying amazing street tacos or flying your family out for a surprise visit, that’s what this is all about. Money lets you create meaning in your life, but to do that, you need to make sure your money mindset — your psychology — is aligned with your financial system.
Uncovering your invisible money scripts
First, a video for you.
This video, by itself, can completely change the way you look at money.
If I asked you about why you spend money the way you do, would you know?
There’s a specific kind of invisible script called an invisible “money script” coined by financial psychologist Dr. Brad Klontz from YourMentalWealth.com. He says they’re “typically unconscious, transgenerational beliefs about money — they are developed in childhood and drive adult financial behaviors.”
Here are some examples of invisible money scripts:
- “You’re throwing your money away on rent!”
- “We don’t talk about money in this house.”
- “Credit cards are a scam.”
- “Stop spending money on lattes.” (Oh, I hate that one)
- “Money changes people.”
- “You don’t get that level of wealth without making a few shady deals here and there.”
- “The stock market is gambling.”
- “Housing is the best way to build wealth.”
- “Student loans are a scam.”
You can find invisible scripts about living a Rich Life, too:
- “You need to go to college to be successful.”
- “After college, you need to get married, buy a house, and raise a nuclear family with 2.5 kids, and a dog.”
- “You need to find a 9-to-5 job and grind away in an office until it’s time to retire.”
Often, the financial decisions we make come from invisible scripts and what we experienced growing up.
For example, I recently met a reporter who was interviewing me about my book. During the interview, I turned her questions around and asked her, “Hey, what’s YOUR Rich Life?”
She told me, “My Rich Life is having $115,000.” And in my head, I’m like, “Is that total? Per year, per month? What are we talking about here?”
So I said, “Oh that’s interesting. Tell me more.” And she said, “In my profession, if I made $115,000, I would know that I was successful.”
I said, “Good. Tell me more.”
She said, “I want to have an apartment. Doesn’t matter if it’s in Queens or the Bronx or Manhattan. I want to have an apartment that I own.”
And whenever I hear that, I know there’s something behind it. So we kept talking. And finally I said, “Do you mind if I ask you a question? Tell me about your parents and their experience with money.”
And her body language changed. She said, “We grew up upper middle class. We grew up on the Upper West Side. And when the recession hit in 2008, we lost it all. We had to give up our house.”
Do you see the connection? They had to give up their apartment, so she wants to buy an apartment.
I asked, “What would it feel like if you had this apartment?”
She said, “I would feel safe.”
Think about what was going on in this young journalist’s life. When I asked her, “What’s your Rich Life?” She instantly said $115,000, and she wanted to own an apartment.
But I asked her, “What if you woke up one day and you had $115,000, and you owned your apartment. How would you feel?”
Guess what she said? She would never feel safe, because she was simply addressing the symptoms… but not really addressing what was actually going on.
I thought this was amazing. She had never connected her idea of a Rich Life with her childhood financial trauma. Without making this connection, she would always feel unsafe.
So many of us are making financial and life decisions based on things that we’ve heard and experienced in the past — and we don’t even know it!
Have you ever wondered why some people dream about flying first class … while others want to save and save to feel safe?
Once these patterns are ingrained in each of us, it can be hard to break out of them. This can even become a generational cycle, like the one Annie and Austin from my podcast have been experiencing.
Despite making $130k a year, Annie and Austin are stuck in a chain of generational poverty. A huge cause of this is the invisible scripts from their childhood! Their story might seem extreme, but almost everyone is guided by invisible money scripts in some way.
Would it surprise you to know that you’ve made a money decision in the last week that was actually guided by something you heard 25 years ago?
When you understand your own Invisible Money Scripts, your own attitudes and behaviors about money will start to make a lot more sense — and you’ll have more agency over changing them if you want to.
Action item: Invisible script review
I love this exercise because so few of us have ever dug into our own money beliefs and behaviors.
Follow these steps. Jot down your answers or just think through each prompt:
- Think of an invisible money script you absorbed growing up. One that still affects you today.
To do this, think back — way back — to the way your parents talked about money when you were growing up. (If your parents aren’t the right example, think about childhood friends or even TV shows you watched where you learned about money.)
- Now get really specific about a single conversation that stands out.
Was it over the dinner table? Did one of your parents say, “We don’t talk about money in this family?” Or “Did you see that the Joneses bought a new car? Must be nice.”
- Now I want you to connect that message you heard to an actual money behavior you have today.
For example, for a lot of people who grew up poor, the minute they get money, they’d spend it all — because who knows when they’d have it again? Write down what you notice.
- Finally, write down your answers to the following:
- What did I learn about money from my parents?
- How has that helped or hindered me?
- What do I want to do differently?
What surprised you about your responses? What did you learn about yourself?
Uncovering your invisible money scripts and their impact on your life is not a one-and-done exercise. You can do this exercise repeatedly, over years, and still find hidden scripts and opportunities for growth.
I love this! The more effort and time you devote here, the more you may gain.
(One word of warning, though: Don’t get stuck in “diagnostic limbo.” Seeing how an invisible script shapes your thoughts can be life-changing, but spending all your time navel-gazing and never taking action won’t help you. Building a Rich Life requires tactics & psychology.)
How to change your money mindset
When I was younger, I used to jokingly call myself a “skinny Indian guy.” Looking back, I wish I hadn’t used that kind of negative self-description. Yes, I was skinny, but after repeating that phrase over and over, it became a self-fulling prophecy. I was actually saying, “I’m skinny and there’s nothing I can do about it.”
When I finally decided to change and start learning how to work out properly, it took me a lot more time because I had to not only change my knowledge of nutrition and fitness—but also my identity itself. (And identity is very, very hard to change.)
Here’s what I wish someone had told me: That’s just a story you’re telling yourself. If you want to change the story, start by changing the words you use.
With money, it’s the same thing! If you’re constantly saying, “I’m bad at money,” you’ll never take steps to learn the basics of personal finances.
Or if you keep saying, “I need to get my whole money system figured out and 100% perfect,” you might never start because you’ll be too worried about getting everything right the first time.
You’ll end up with the same outcomes as the story you’re telling yourself.
So, starting today, what words could you use to encourage, not demean, yourself?
Here are some exercises to help you.
Action item: Change your money mindset by rewriting an invisible script
Get out of a piece of paper, and jot down your answers to these prompts.
Step 1: Choose your new money mindset.
A Rich Life is a life lived intentionally, abundantly, and proactively. To build a Rich Life, your money mindset has to be on board! That means shifting from playing defense (always worring about what could go wrong) to playing offense (planning for when things go RIGHT). It’s knowing you can steps to make them go right.
To create your new money mindset, fill in the blank:
CURRENT MONEY MINDSET: When I think about my money, I feel:
NEW MONEY MINDSET: Going forward, I want to feel:
Step 2: Select an invisible money script you want to rewrite.
This can be from the first exercise, or it can be a different one. You can write out a couple, and then choose one you want to rewrite.
Here are some examples:
- I’m not good at math.
- I’m not lucky with money.
- It’s not so bad being in debt… at least I’m not that bad.
- I’m scared of losing money.
- Investing feels like gambling.
Step 3. Rewrite the script.
Okay, now you know exactly how you want to feel about money moving forward, and you have one script you want to change.
How can you rewrite it so it supports your new money mindset?
Write out a new script.
Here are some examples.
|NEGATIVE MONEY SCRIPT||MORE EMPOWERING SCRIPT|
|“My situation is unique.”||“I’m going to master the fundamentals of personal finance: |
• understand my basic numbers (earnings, debt, savings rate)
• have an automatic savings / investment plan
• know how my money connects with my lifestyle
Once I master the basics, I can earn the right to be different.”
|“I really should…stop buying lattes, buy a house, invest in crypto, etc.”||“It’s OK to ignore common advice. My Rich Life is mine. If I master the basics, I can decide what a Rich Life means to me.”|
|“I’m not good with money.”||“Personal finance is a skill that can be learned. I’m investing in myself and my Rich Life by learning about how money works — so I can build the habits and systems to make it work FOR me.”|
|“I can’t keep a budget.”||“I’m taking the time to understand where my money goes. I can use a Conscious Spending Plan so that I can pay my bills and save for the future — automatically. I will still have money left over to spend on the things I love, guilt-free.”|
|“It’s not polite to talk about money.”||“It’s important to talk about money so we can get clarity on our numbers, keep learning, and align on our Rich Life values.”|
|“You shouldn’t be emotional with money.”||“Yes, in personal finance, math matters. But psychology & emotions matter too, and it’s okay to feel emotional about money. I will use them to understand my values, my fears, my needs, and my wants.”|
|“Is it worth the money?”||“The most valuable things in life — dinner with friends, a sunset on an awe-inspiring trip, or picking up your kids from school and seeing the smile on their face when they see you — can’t be quantified.”|
|“Being smart with money means finding the cheapest, best value.”||“If I can afford it and it’s important to me, I can buy it simply because I want it.”|
|“My money system needs to be perfect.”||“If I’m not sure how much I should be saving every month, I’ll just pick a number. It’s more important to get started than to become an expert or do a bunch of research first. If I get it wrong, I can go back and fix it later.”|
When you catch yourself telling the negative invisible script, replace it with your new script.
You can repeat this for any script you want to rewrite.
It will take some time to change your mindset, but as you get more and more conscious of your scripts, you’ll naturally start to approach financial decisions in a completely new way.
Take the next step
Nice work! You’ve taken a huge step towards your Rich Life.
But changing your money mindset is just one part of living a Rich Life. You also need a strategic financial system that supports your goals and vision.
Remember, you need both tactics and psychology.
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If you want to stop stressing about money, you have to CHANGE your approach to money. What if instead of stressing about money, you ENJOYED it? What if your money GREW your Rich Life, automatically? What if you could see and track how your life was IMPROVING, month by month? And what if you finally found the community, the friends, and the teachers you’ve been looking for?