A poor way to think

Ever feel like you just can't seem to get ahead no matter how hard you work or how much you save? Ever feel like the way some people seem to get richer and richer is just plain unfair and probably wrong? Ever wonder how you'll ever get to where the grass is actually greener?

I'm leading you on here. I'm priming you emotionally to relate to what comes next. Because we've all been there. We've all felt that way. Well...not all of us.

The only people who believe the world is unfair because of how much money they have compared to how much money someone else has are people who have 'poor man's syndrome.' Poor man's syndrome (this might actually be a real thing, but I just made it up for this article) is a way of thinking. It's a set of assumptions and correlating behaviors that keep a person from truly mastering the fake thing we call money.

Below, I've listed out almost twenty ideas...things I've actually told myself...that I learned as a child. They formed the basis of my understanding about money, finances, and the potential for personal economic growth. And they're pretty damned depressing. Do they sound familiar?

Assumptions of the poor:

  1. I don’t have money; other people have money. It isn’t fair that other people have money and I don’t. Maybe someday I will have money.
  2. The only way to get money is to work hard.
  3. The only way to get more money is to work more or to work harder.
  4. The only way to get things (necessities and toys) is to first get money.
  5. The government takes too much of my money. How can I ever get ahead?
  6. Everything costs too much. I don’t make enough to afford the things I want.
  7. Extra money should go into savings “for a rainy day.”
  8. I don’t know enough about money or about investing. Other people do. It isn’t fair that other people know about money and investing, and I don't.
  9. Investing is too confusing.
  10. Hopefully, someday I’ll get a good-paying job and things won’t be so hard.
  11. Maybe someday I’ll get out of debt.
  12. The way the rich get richer is unfair. It’s sneaky and immoral. Why don't they give some of that to the rest of us?
  13. The only “right” way to make money is to work, earn a paycheck, and try to save after the bills and taxes are paid.
  14. “A better life for my kids” means that I have more money and more things than my parents did.
  15. God hasn’t blessed me as much as he has blessed other people. They must be better people. I must be doing something wrong.
  16. I’ll never have enough money. I’ll never get a handle on my debt. I’ll never get ahead. I’ll never be rich.
  17. I am destined (or doomed) to always work hard, try to save, never have enough, and maybe I can retire before I die.