I come from a middle class south Indian family. There are some things that are drilled into you as you grow up when it comes to financial matters, such as:
- Never, ever get a credit card. Have only a debit card. You must never spend money that you don’t have.
- Save, save, save. Try to save at least 50-70% of your salary every month.
- Don’t ever borrow money. Avoid lending money as far as possible.
- Every penny counts. You must save wherever possible.
- Spend only on the essentials and only the absolute minimum.
To be honest, this emphasis on saving money has held me in good stead, mostly. Some of the beliefs I was taught were really sound and I’m glad I internalized them. It amazes me how much my grandparents, for eg., were able to save by being frugal alone despite earning quite modestly. However, after three decades of existence, I notice some issues with over-emphasizing saving money as a means of wealth creation. I have a few beliefs that are way more empowering and intelligent. Let’s take a look at ’em.
Don’t just preserve the pie – expand it
The biggest issue I find with thinking about saving money all the time is that it takes the focus away from earning more money. Rather than thinking, “how can I increase what I earn in the first place?”, it focuses only on saving and growing that saved money. What if your earnings are not that much to start with? Even if you save 100% of what you earn, you won’t make as much wealth as you would if you earned 10X. Why not expand the pie as opposed to saving as much of that tiny piece you have at the moment?
These days, rather than thinking about how I can maximize my savings, I allow myself to dream big. I ask myself how I can create enough value in the world. That also fosters entrepreneurial thinking. The world’s wealthiest people are also the ones that have created a disproportionate amount of value for others. They are the innovators, the creators, the entrepreneurs. What can you do today that can help others in a massive way for years and years to come? That path will enable you to have a massive impact and maximize your wealth too.
Invest in yourself
I’ve invested money in a bunch of things so far. I’ve gotten the best ROI when I’ve spent money on things that have helped me grow as a person. These include courses, coaching, fitness, and private community memberships. Investing in personal development might seem to many as an ‘extravagant and rather unnecessary expense’, but believe you me, long-term, you’ll see that becoming a more capable person skill and mindset-wise pays dividends quite literally. In my opinion, you can’t put a price on becoming a better person.
Invest in things that will allow you to become that person who can do extraordinary things. Don’t hesitate to buy that course or join that community that can enable you to become a better writer, programmer, investor, or human being. The problem is never with spending money on such things. It’s only when you buy a course and don’t do anything with it that you will feel it’s a waste of money. Be serious about your pursuits. Do the work; you’ll find that investing in yourself is more than worth it.
Enjoy what you earn!
It pains me to see my grandparents grow old without ever having allowed themselves to enjoy what they earned. What use is it to save a substantial amount of money never to do anything with it? It’s important to allow yourself to spend money for pleasure. This was (and still is) something I had to consciously practice because I grew up in an environment where it was a sin to spend on anything considered inessential. Keep aside money to go on that trip or buy those new clothes. Be smart about it, of course. But do celebrate money you worked hard to earn by spending it on things that bring you joy.
Give money to worthy causes
Give money to causes that matter to you. It will a) make you feel good and b) remind you why you need to ‘expand the pie’. Life isn’t just about earning, spending, and saving money for the bubble that’s you. There’s a larger why for your existence here. You’ll find that donating money without expecting anything in return can become a powerful fuel to leading a larger life of contribution and meaning.
What beliefs can help you create massive wealth for yourself? I’d like to encourage you to think about your own beliefs around wealth creation. Do any of them hold you back? If they do, replace them with better, more empowering ones. After all, it all begins in the mind.