Reposting from Empower Me! Magazine. I originally wrote this about a year old but it’s still if not even more relevant today.
47% of Americans say they live “paycheck to paycheck” according to a 2008 survey by Careerbuilder.com. Even more startling:
- 21% of those earning over $100,000 also live paycheck to paycheck
- 25% of all workers reported they don’t save anything each month and
- More women — 54 percent — always or usually find themselves living paycheck to paycheck, compared to 41 percent of males.
Myth: If you could earn more money, you’d be able to stop living paycheck to paycheck.
Truth: Paycheck to paycheck living has nothing to do with how much you earn – and everything to do with how you think about money and wealth.
That’s why when you got a raise or took a better paying job, you found yourself in the same financial situation you were in before your income increased. Staying unaware of the beliefs and behaviors that keep you in paycheck to paycheck mode means you will always be looking for the next raise, or get rich opportunity to acquire more money. Having access to more money without changing how you think about money will only keep you in a self-defeating cycle.
Here are 5 beliefs keeping you in paycheck to paycheck mode:
- Belief #1: Material things equal wealth. Result: Your wealth is unbalanced – you have a lot of things but have created very little net worth for your self. The accumulation of things doesn’t equal wealth if you are not financially whole. For example – do you have this season’s Coach bag but don’t have a rainy day fund or life insurance? If you are stressed out trying to keep all of your possessions you are out of balance. Furthermore, settling for just the material things that money can by is selling your self short. You deserve true wealth and prosperity in every area of your life.
- Belief #2: Wanting money makes me greedy. We’ve all heard – “love of money is the root of all evil.” But wanting money isn’t the same as loving it. Greed is when you will do anything, even if it means taking advantage of or hurting someone. There is no shame, guilt, or wrong in earning an income to support the quality of life you want to live – as long as you can afford it. More than likely this belief comes from limited views about money you grew up with. If conversations about money were mainly tied to struggle or survival you will have to work to overcome feeling guilty about having the income and lifestyle you want.
- Belief #3: I’ll save later once I start making “real” money. This belief does two things: it devalues the income you are currently earning and makes it easy to procrastinate when it comes to putting a solid saving strategy in place. The idea of “real money” being something to acquire in the future keeps you in a rat race, constantly trying to make more. Being better able to manage your money won’t automatically happen once you reach a certain number. You have a better chance of long term financial success if you start right now regardless of what your income looks like. It doesn’t matter if you put way $50 or the .50 left in your pocket at the end of the day. Make a decision to save now.
- Belief #4: I hate thinking about money -managing finances is hard. While this may be true initially – just because something is hard doesn’t mean you walk away from doing it. The time and energy you invest in learning about money and investing has a huge ROI (return on investment). The internet makes access to financial tools and resources very easy. If you are not a do-it-yourself kind of person find a professional financial planner who can help you establish long term financial goals and strategies for investing.
- Belief #5: People with money are ________________. It’s hard to move into a position of prosperity if you hold judgment about people who have the kind of wealth you say you want. It’s like the adage that refers to pointing one finger at someone else, leaves three fingers pointing back at you. Think wealthy people abuse take advantage of their status, are snobs, show offs, greedy, selfish, etc… Why on earth would you want to wear any of those labels? People with money don’t hold the patent on selfish behavior or elitist ways of thinking. In fact truly wealthy people understand the value of sowing into others and purposely give generously.
Why is this a problem? The cost of living paycheck to paycheck goes way beyond the lack of dollars in your bank account at the end of the month. The up and down of waiting for the next check adds stress, anxiety, and frustration that doesn’t have to be there. And chances are you are tense and easily irritated around pay day and when bills are due. As much as you try not to think about it, what you owe and what you will be able to pay is at the back of your mind gnawing away at your peace self esteem.
Reality: Changing your money mindset will change the flow, volume, and impact of your income.
BUT…You cannot just think your way into financial security. You have to be committed to doing the work. This is what separates profitable employedpreneurs from hobbyist. Success comes from doing the work that others are unwilling to do. Start with the internal and gradually integrate new behaviors to replace the old way of doing things. As you move out of your comfort zone it will feel uncomfortable and downright scary at times especially if you have never seen anyone else in your family or circle of friends make the kinds of sacrifices and choices you have decided to make. Regardless of the expected bumps in the process, decide early on that you will stick no matter what is said to you, about you, or around you.
- Survey: 42 percent of workers live paycheck to paycheck (thenewstribune.com)
- Paycheck 2 Paycheck “No More!” (financialjunkie.wordpress.com)
- Top Ten Excuses for Not Saving (moneyning.com)
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