Why you need to like money to have money

By Kim Iskyan

How do you feel about money? Do you think it's dirty? That it's just a little bit… bad? Does liking money, or the things you can buy with it, mean that you're selfish and greedy?

If any of this rings a bell with you, bad news: You're probably never going to be rich. If on some level you don't like money, you'll probably never have a lot of it.

Your emotions will get in your way

If you think money - and being rich - is "bad," it means that you don't really want it. There's a voice in your head - maybe you can hear it, maybe you can't - that's going to stand in your way.

For a lot of people, money isn't important. They have other goals in life - Impressionist art or finding the perfect wave or eating their way across Asia - that don't require much cash. And that's fine.

But if you're not like that, and if you want money, don't get in your own way.

Emotions can get in the way of making good investment decisions. But not liking or being afraid of money is probably the biggest barrier to wealth of all. And it's one you might not even recognise.

On some level, all of this might sound silly…

After all, who doesn't like money (especially if you're a subscriber to an e-letter about investing)? But ask yourself if you have these sorts of thoughts about money…

  1. Money just makes you unhappy.
  2. Money is the "root of all evil."
  3. Making money takes too much time and effort.
  4. If I want money too badly, other people will think I'm shallow.
  5. The more money I have, the more money I'll want.
  6. Money doesn't buy you happiness.
  7. I prefer living a more "pure" life.
  8. I'm bad with money, so it's just as well if I don't have much of it.
  9. I'm in the wrong sort of job to get rich.

You might have picked up these beliefs - or any of dozens of similar feelings - from your childhood, from your faith, from your parents, from your friends, from the media, or anywhere else.

Ask yourself: Why do you hold these beliefs? Are they something you actually feel strongly about? Or are they something that have become part of you without any real contemplation?

If you believe some of these things about money, and you embrace it as part of you, congratulations. You know who you are. And you've accepted that you'll probably never have a lot of money. And if somehow you do acquire a lot of money, you'll probably wind up feeling badly about it, as if you don't deserve it, and that you don't really want it.

But if you don't want to get in your own way…

Decide what you really believe about money. Is money OK? Is it all right to want money? Is there a good reason that you should not have money?

Don't get me wrong. By itself, a positive attitude won't get you far. Just deciding that you're OK with wealth doesn't mean you're going to become a money magnet. Making money takes time, effort, sweat and work.

There's no question rich people don't have mixed feelings about money. Alibaba chairman Jack Ma, one of the richest people in Asia, doesn't feel badly about being rich. Warren Buffett doesn't frown at himself in the mirror every morning because he's one of the world's wealthiest people. Billionaire hedge fund managers got rid of their bad feelings about money a long time ago - if they ever had any in the first place. Rich people don't feel badly about money. They wouldn't be rich if they did.

But a first step is to make sure that your brain isn't working against you. So if you think that you'd like money… but you're somehow afraid of it or think it's bad, you're just fighting yourself. You need to stop and think about your real attitude. And either embrace it… or start with a clean slate that says, "Money is good."

 

Kim Iskyan
Kim Iskyan is the publisher of Stansberry Churchouse Research, an independent investment research company based in Singapore and Hong Kong that delivers investment insight on Asia and around the world. Kim has nearly 25 years of experience as a stock analyst, hedge fund manager, political risk consultant, and financial commentator in more than half a dozen emerging and frontier markets. He's been quoted in the Economist, The New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, Barron's, and Bloomberg, and has appeared on Fox Business News, China Central Television, and Bloomberg TV, and has written commentary for the Wall Street Journal, Slate.com, Salon, TheStreet.com, breakingviews.com, and other publications. For more of his insights, Click here to sign up to receive the Asia Wealth Investment Daily in your inbox every day, for free.

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