Updated: Jan 14, 2020
Poverty. Don't you love the word? Don't tell me, most of the time you have heard the word it is used to make you feel guilty and give money to feed starving children? Oh, or how about the time you pass the person ringing the bell for the salvation army. Does that remind of your poverty?
Most people hear poverty and think of people that make less than a dollar a day in Africa, starving to death and are unable to survive. HOWEVER, THAT ISN'T WHAT I'M WRITING ABOUT. I wanted to clear that up. I'm talking about the way that we think, and it has nothing to do with how much money someone has.
Poverty mentalities stem from a fear of future uncertainty and fearfully reacts to it in the present. I commonly see two different types and I want to share some stories today that may help the world make sense to you too.
I looked back upon my childhood and see both of these so clearly it hurts. I want to share what I have learned by sharing my past with you.
I had a friend that I grew up with whose family owned a small company. They owned a small company that would be paid in large sums after completing a contracting job. This family would then immediately take the money and SPEND IT ALL on anything their hearts desired.
They would pay up their past bills, buy new guns, a new truck, and then the money would be gone. They lived as if the next paycheck may never come. So, they would spend whatever was in their hands to make sure they didn't lose it.
This is the first type of poverty. It happens when a person is raised believing that if they don't get what they want when they can, they never will. It will almost always lead to no savings account and no preparation for emergency or unexpected life change. The crazy thing is that people who live like this can seem to have the whole world. It doesn't matter how much money a person has, a poverty mentality can still exist.
The second type hits a little closer to home for me.
The second type happens when a person feels the need to control his or her fear of lack and chooses to do so through the path of saving every penny possible. This is my story. I grew up believing that buying anything outside of absolute necessity, at the cheapest price, was a waste.
Money was best spent, not at all. Money was something that you horde away out of fear of having a day come when you may need it. It always leads to buying the cheapest product instead of buying one of quality, and only if the one you already own breaks. This type of poverty mentality also can make it impossible to take risks and grow.
In both cases, the fear of tomorrow always defines how today is lived. The key to both is moving toward moderation. It isn't about having a certain amount or making a certain amount.
For the first, it is about learning that if you spend in moderation, the downs aren't so low and it isn't necessary to carry all the stress of coming up with money in a pinch because you prepared for it.
For the second, it is about learning to let go of worrying about a day that may never come and to allow themselves to buy beyond the essential. Having more in the bank never actually means you are in control.