The Psychology of Wealth

More 4 your money

By Rod Meloni - Reporter, CFP ®

DETROIT, Mich. - As they sang in Cabaret, "money makes the world go round". It also makes people do crazy things. It's why we have probate court, it's the time tested way to keep us all from killing each other when it comes time to divide the deceased's belongings. Knowing that, it makes perfect sense that understanding how you personally think of money and wealth and how you fit into that equation matters greatly. There is a psychology of wealth. If a parent told you, "the only thing rich people want is to get richer," you might believe rich people are bad and therefore you don't want to be part of a bad group. If your parent told you, "if they took everyone's wealth away today and had everyone start over the same people would end up wealthy again," you might believe wealthy people think in a very specific way. Both would be right to the degree that your own personal view of money and wealthy and "rich people" have a distinct impact on how you will handle your own money and how much you accumulate.

This is the subject of a fascinating book called The Psychology of Wealth written by Charles Richards, Ph.D. I highly recommend this book because it takes on the stickiest issues surrounding money, wealth and what it means to be truly rich. Richards taps into the success training programs you may have previously read from the likes of Zig Ziglar and Stephen Covey. They all say having a lot of money means you have a lot of money. Rarely does this mean having true wealth. They all say having true wealth means you created deep meaning in your life through serving others, providing an important and helpful service outside of yourself. Your sense of personal value is attached to how you have mattered in others' lives in a positive way. It is difficult to make this kind of impact without resources and a vision.

Whether you buy into that strain of the psychology of wealth, it is important to note how you think and what you know about managing your money and providing for yourself and your family will determine the quality of your life for the most part. If you do not have a lot of money, this is a very good read that might help you change your lot in life. If you have money, this book is a good read because it gives insight into how you got there. If you aspire to have money, to "live like the wealthy," this book offers a roadmap to help you reinvent your life, to help you set goals, work toward them and spread your wealth in ways that not only help you but those around you. Enjoy.

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