10 Ways Your Money Mindset Is Holding You Back

Quick, fill in the blank. Money is ______.

Whatever you came up with, that’s part of your money mindset.

What is a money mindset? It’s a complex schema that you’ve developed over the course of your life that can either help or hinder your success. You need to cultivate a healthy mindset around money if you want to become wealthy.

Our default money mindset typically comes from our parents. But it’s also shaped by the people we spend time with in adulthood. You can change your money mindset by surrounding yourself with people who believe and demonstrate that money is abundant.

Here are ten signs that you might have an unhealthy money mindset…

1. You don’t invest in yourself

The number one biggest mistake I see with people’s money mindset is that they don’t invest in themselves. They don’t have a problem buying stupid shit they don’t need, but when it comes to investing in their own growth and development, they feel guilty. They say, “I can’t afford it”.

Almost every investment I’ve made in myself or my business has paid off ten fold. In the past 12 months, I’ve spent a lots amount of money on events, coaching, and trainings. I’m more focused on getting a return on my investment than I am on than cost.

For example, if I consistently attract 2–3 new clients at every event I go to, then the most important thing is figuring out which events will multiply that initial investment most. Since I know I can make that investment back plus some, why wouldn’t I invest?

A great business and a meaningful life require constant growth. And your speed of growth is directly proportional to how often you invest in yourself.

2. You spend money on things that don’t give you joy

Stop doing this. Too many people spend money on things that don’t add real value to their life. They’re usually the same people who complain that they “can’t afford” to invest in themselves.

Money can buy you happiness, but only if you spend it on the right things. Positive psychology tells us that we derive the most joy from relationships and experiences. When you spend money on expensive things that don’t cultivate long term fulfillment, you’re making a crappy deal.

I’m not suggesting that you need to track everything you spend money on. But it does help to be conscious of which investments have a lasting impact on your quality of life. Ask yourself, “Will this still make me smile a year from now?”.

3. You earn money doing things that don’t give you joy

Most people make money doing something they don’t like, and then spend a large portion of that money trying to alleviate the pain it causes.

When you subtract the emotional and financial cost from your earnings, you may find that you could live on a lot less if you were doing work you loved.

For example, if I earn $50,000 per year at a job that requires me to live in an expensive city, waste time and gas on a brutal commute, drink more booze to numb the pain, and sacrifice my health or creativity, I’m probably earning less than $20,000 per year after I factor in all the associated costs.

Money shouldn’t be something that you have to suffer for.

4. You focus more on saving money than earning it

Imagine that your potential income is a pie. When you view the size of that pie as set (most people do), your focus is on conserving as much of the pie as possible. That’s a scarcity mindset.

But what if you were focused on expanding the pie? Money is abundant, and your ability to earn more is unlimited. When this is your mindset, you can spend and earn money knowing that there’s always more where that came from.

Entrepreneurship is all about expanding the pie by creating new value in the world. You can’t take the risks necessary for that if you have a scarcity mindset. Short-term fear kills long-term wealth.

5. You think money is evil

Money isn’t inherently evil. And it’s not good either. It’s just money.

You can use money to create more good or evil in the world. There are plenty of examples of both. But money is simply a reflection of the person who owns it.

If you view money only as a force for evil, you’re going to have trouble earning it. You’ll feel guilty when you have it and justified when you don’t. Think of the poor crusader who won’t allow money to fuel her mission and eventually putters out.

If you view money as a force for good, you’ll want to make more of it. Money is an important component of having a positive impact. It allows you to multiply the good you can do in the world.

6. You’re More Concerned About Cost Than Value

Money isn’t actually real. It’s just a stand-in for value. When you exchange dollar bills or swipe your credit card, you’re trading the life energy you spent making that money for something you perceive as more or equally valuable.

If you want to make more money, you have to make more value in the world. This is why the CEO of a company earns more than an intern. Even if the intern works more hours, they don’t have the same leverage that the CEO does.

What is valuable in your job, industry, or niche? How can you become irreplaceable?

7. You don’t leverage your time

When you start to focus on creating value, it becomes clear that more work does not always equal more value. 99% of the things that you could spend your time on would be done more easily and cheaply by somebody else.

So, how do you leverage your time? You discover and focus on the things you are uniquely suited to do. That means starting to outsource or abandon anything that you are not uniquely good at or love doing.

If your hourly rate with clients is $500/hour, why are you spending time shoveling the driveway? You could pay someone $20/hour to do that. Unless you love shoveling the driveway, that time would be better spent either working, playing, or recharging.

8. You don’t believe you deserve to be wealthy

One of the reasons people don’t leverage themselves better is because they undervalue their time. This is a symptom of low confidence and self-esteem. Deep down they don’t think they deserve to be wealthy.

So, how do you raise your self-confidence? By working your ass off. When you know you’ve given it your all, money is simply an acknowledgement of that effort.

Treat of every hour of the day as though it’s worth $10,000.

9. You’re too focused on what you don’t have

The more we think about something, the more we move towards it. When we focus on what we don’t have, it keeps us stressed about money.

What if you were grateful for what you already had, and at the same time focused on how to create more of it?

What if you were focused on your potential, rather than your problems? You’d probably want to invest in yourself and others more than ever.

Which brings us to our final money mistake…

10. You don’t give back because your glass isn’t full

Giving to others is one of the best ways to live a meaningful life. Problem is, most people haven’t focused on filling their own glass first. So they have less of themselves to give.

People react to this in one of two ways: they either continue to give to others without simultaneously filling their glass (and end up empty), or they wait to give until their glass is full (and never do because the glass can always be fuller).

There’s a better way: commit to giving a percentage of your income from the very beginning. As your income continues to grow, you can scale up your giving proportionally. This motivates you to make more money so that you can give even more.

A lot of people say they’ll be generous when they’ve “made it”. But if you won’t give $200 to charity making $20,000/year, how will you be able to part with $20,000 when you are making $200,000/year?

Don’t buy into the idea that your mindset comes from your circumstances. Generosity, abundance, and bravery don’t result from wealth, they create it. You have to embody those traits now.

Who do you need to be today to have what you want tomorrow?


This year, I’ll be giving over 15% of the profits from this business to Acumen, an organization that harnesses the power of entrepreneurship to tackle poverty. I hope you’ll join me in supporting their awesome mission. Learn more about Acumen here.

(Cover photo credit: e-magic via cc)