When money gets tight the majority of people either cut down on spending or rebel by spending money they don’t really have. There is a balance between the two. The last thing you want to do is reinforce a poverty consciousness by acting poor. Expectancy plays an important part, so act rich – dress up, set the table nicely, pick flowers for the house. If there is enough money available, have a manicure or visit the hairdresser. If you are acting prosperously you cannot talk to everyone about how tough things are. It is much better to say nothing. This is not play-acting or burying your head in the sand, it is focusing your attention on what you want.
A natural tendency is to get caught in the trap of treating symptoms of financial problems. Symptoms could be debts, or never having any money left over for you, or could be constantly living beyond your means. One friend of mine has a tendency to overspend on credit cards. Once she’s in too deep, she moans about her situation. Then she obtains a consolidation loan, or her father bails her out, and she does the same thing again. Overspending in her situation is a symptom of a deeper problem.
Many people think nothing of consulting a doctor to identify the cause if they are sick, and the same goes for financial problems: it is perfectly natural to ask for help. Help can come from a financial adviser or a life coach, from a book or from attending a course. Because money is one of those subjects that people don’t talk about readily it can be difficult to broach the subject or to ask for help.
Another client gave herself endless anxiety because she was afraid to seek help. My first contact with Myra was on the phone and I noticed how abrupt she was. She was also very tense at our first meeting. For the past twenty years Myra had not lodged a tax return and she lived in fear of being discovered. Finally overcome by guilt, she confessed, ‘I cannot stand it any longer. I realise I may lose my home and even go to jail. Every time I drive past a women’s prison I think I’ll be in there one day’. When I explained that the worst that could happen was that she would receive a fine, she really didn’t believe me.
Another of her problems was that she had barely enough money to live on, although she earned a good salary. She had not been brave enough to fill in a tax rebate form that would have automatically reduced her tax, as she did not want to alert the taxation department to her situation.
It only took minutes to assess that Myra had paid too much tax and was due for a substantial refund. We could only find records dating back seven years, and the Taxation Department was happy to accept those. The end result was a tax refund of $25,000 and no fine.
It is hard to believe now that this client is the same person. Whereas before she was lucky to have twenty cents in her wallet, she now always carries a reasonable sum of money. She has a new car, new clothes and a new attitude. Opportunities have arisen for her and it is very possible that she will soon be a wealthy woman.
Make money your slave
As it is virtually impossible to ignore money, make money your slave. Once you master money it no longer controls you and will lose its importance. It is only when there is not enough, or you fear losing what you have, that you have to cling to it, worry about it, talk about it, and constantly look for solutions. This is misdirected energy which only creates more problems.
Money has a host of myths associated with it: you have to work hard to make money; money only comes through work; there is not enough for everyone else; if you have more than your share then someone will do without; you can’t make money being honest; artists, or certain professions have to struggle; it’s different for some people; money changes people; rich people are snobs; or, you only get one chance.
If you limit yourself by accepting any of these beliefs then your life will not change. Good fortune may fall into your lap but you will lose it somehow. Desire is the most important ingredient and if you want something badly enough you can achieve it. Prosperity is not just about making lots of money, it is being happy with whatever state you choose.
A mistake that some of my friends and I made when we first started practising positive thinking was to believe that if we spent and thought positively, the money would come. Sometimes it did, but mostly it did not. You cannot ‘fake it till you make it’ by living beyond your means and running up debts. This is not acting prosperously, nor does it change the real cause of your problem. By all means act prosperously and pamper yourself, but start living within your means now.
Keeping up with taxation, investments and credit laws is a full time job, even for those who work at it every day. So don't expect to be an expert on every subject. Never be too embarrassed to ask for help.
Make your own list of items that make you feel prosperous. It need not cost money and should be within your means. If money is limited, join up with someone else to share the cost. In my local baby health centre, there is an advertisement from a young mother wanting to share the cost of a nanny. Two other people share a cleaner, who works for two hours in each home.
Anne Hartley started her career as a single mother of two working from the kitchen table. She went on to own and run a women's investment advisory group, become a financial journalist and author. She now owns Hart Life Coaching a company dedicated to teaching others how to improve their lives. She is the author of four books. For more information please visit: http://www.hartlifecoaching.com.au