Griffin has two oft-repeated Money Mantras: “I have plenty of money.” and “I am a money magnet.” and this fun pic reflects how this is very much true for him.
A little over a month ago he set the intention of creating $200 to achieve some of his soccer goals and he earned it completely by himself (not through me!) by cooking, cleaning, babysitting and saving monetary gifts from his grandparents.
Very often Griffin will express a desire to have something, and I’ll always immediately tell him he can absolutely have it. He’ll always reply, “But I want it now.”
And I’ll say, “It’s understandable that you’d want it right now, but what I want you to remember is how wonderful it feels to anticipate the thing you want, knowing that it’s absolutely coming to you.”
The way we’re wired as humans, we’re always going to want more, but we’re also wired to seek novelty and challenge, so it’s the challenge of figuring out how it’s going to come to you and taking the very purposeful steps to get it that’s actually a big part of what you really enjoy about the process.
When you take joy in the creating process, you feel optimistic and happy – and when you think about it, isn’t that what you want to feel all the time, anyway?”
Of course, I keep repeating this because he doesn’t completely believe it yet – and so I always remind him, “When has there been a time when you didn’t get what you really wanted?”
He always says, “I can’t remember. But I’m sure there’s been one time.” and then he smiles. And I know I’m getting through to him.
One of my favorite things about raising Griffin is inculcating a very different money mindset than I had when I was growing up – a long, long time ago in a land where money didn’t grow on trees and there was never, ever enough.
If you grew up in the same land and were handed down the same set of beliefs, this article is for you!
When people talk about changing your money story, they will often tell you to think big. To dream of everything in the world that you could possibly want, from a New York pied-à-terre, to a Prius, to an Apple watch (yes, those are all on my list).
There’s nothing wrong with that, not in theory, at least. It’s always a good idea to let yourself dream bigger than you’ve ever dreamed before.
But you have to make sure the dreams are aligned with your true priorities and deepest desires – and not something cooked up by our advertising industry.
There’s a very logical assumption that most people make about spending their money and Madison Avenue really plays into it: that because a physical object will last longer, it will make us happier for a longer time than a one-off experience like a concert or vacation.
According to recent research, it turns out that assumption is completely wrong.
“One of the enemies of happiness is adaptation,” says Dr. Thomas Gilovich, a psychology professor at Cornell University who has been studying the question of money and happiness for over two decades. “We buy things to make us happy, and we succeed. But only for a while. New things are exciting to us at first, but then we adapt to them.”
In reality, scientific studies show that material things contribute significantly less to our happiness than our experiences. And even economists say that happiness is the best indicator of the health of a society, not material wealth.
Sure, we all know that money can make us happier, but after our basic needs are met, scientific studies again show that it doesn’t make us that much happier.
So one of the biggest questions is how to allocate our money – and this holds true whether we have a lot or a little.
One study conducted by Gilovich even showed that if people have an experience they say negatively impacted their happiness, once they have the chance to talk about it, their assessment of that experience goes up.
Gilovich attributes this to the fact that something that might have been stressful or scary in the past can become a funny story to tell at a party or be looked back on as an invaluable character-building experience.
Another reason is that shared experiences connect us more to other people than shared consumption. You’re much more likely to feel connected to someone you camped with in the woods, than someone who also happens to have a 60-inch TV.
Sure, there are definite benefits to having a lot of money – you get to do a whole lot more of stuff that makes you feel really, really good. It’s simply easier to make memories and have experiences that may change you as a person.
But here’s the thing: you don’t need to have a lot of money to start focusing your energy on having really great experiences now.
You don’t have to save up ten grand to go on safari, but you could borrow some camping equipment from a friend and have a great weekend in the woods. And if you can’t make it to Broadway, you could spend $25 and see a local play. You have so many options if you look past the ones that seem out of reach right now.
So one of the steps you can take to change your money mindset and bring your future you to life is to start diverting some of your money to experiences.
Right now (yes, I’ll wait), write down all the experiences you want to have, all the fun things you want to do for yourself – or for your loved ones – and from now on you’ll have a list to work from.
I bet you anything many of these things are more accessible than you think they are. But you won’t be able to access them unless you start getting a handle on what they are and what they cost.
But again: start with the small stuff. Once you break the pattern of not doing these things, it really does have money implications. It really does start opening up doors for you.
And, as a side benefit, you get to do incredible things now.
You’ll begin to become the kind of person who creates amazing and memorable experiences for her life. And who – whether you’re someone with a lot of money or a little – doesn’t want that??
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