I’ve come to realise that our assumptions about money are at the foundation of why we do what we do. It comes up so often in my training courses, that I decided to write about it. And to be honest, I don’t think until I started training women that I’d ever thought to deeply on it.
Before you carry on reading, take a moment to jot down what are you assuming about money?
The most common assumptions about living now
Go through this list and tick off how many of the assumptions you’re making
- This small amount I’m spending now won’t matter in the long run
- If she can afford that new cell phone / handbag / dress, I can too. We’re both in the same job aren’t we?
- People will think less of me if I arrive in a small car rather than a big one
- The Jones’s must have a whole heap of money – they drive a Porsche
- I just got a salary increase and bonus, so I can spend it all on whatever I want
- I’ve had this job for the last 5 years, I’m safe
- Old people die, so I have a long time till I need to worry about that
- Money doesn’t grow on trees – so play it safe
- Investing in shares is like gambling. It’s far better to keep your money in the bank
- I need to give all my money to giving my children the best I can – of everything
- I’m going to make it big one day, and then I’ll worry about all this saving stuff
The challenge with these assumptions, is that it fundamentally impacts how we live our life and the decisions we make about our money. Yet how often do we think about what we subconsciously believe? Yet they are limiting assumptions – they limit us living our best life possible.
Nancy Kline in her book More Time to Think talks about how the quality of our thinking determines the quality of our actions. And if we really think deeply about our assumptions, we have the power to change our life path now.
The most common assumptions about retirement
- The money the company puts toward my pension is enough
- The money the company puts toward my pension is being invested well and will grow how it should
- I don’t need to save now, I’m young and have expenses I need to pay right now. I’ll make it up later
- My partner has our retirement savings sorted. We’ll be ok
- My kids will look after me in retirement
- My parents died in their 70s, so will I. I therefore don’t need to worry about living to 90
- I’ll halve my expenses when I retire so I won’t need that much
- I’ll sell my house and buy a smaller one or move into a retirement village and that will release capital
- I’ll die suddenly one day so don’t need to put my name down for a retirement village or care home
- My husband will always be around to look after the finances
Why we need to challenge these assumptions
The challenge with all these assumptions is that we truly have NO idea of what the future holds. By allowing these assumptions to so heavily influence the way we live our lives, we open ourselves to being unprepared. We put ourselves in a worse position because by the time we find out that assumption is incorrect, we don’t have enough time to create more options for ourselves.
By challenging our assumptions now, and consciously changing our behaviour, we create options. Choices. The choice to take a different path. And once we do this enough, we then change the way we subconsciously think about things.
By living a mindful life, conscious of all our thoughts and the root of our behaviour, we enable ourselves to make a choice about how we live. Not wake up one day the product of all our unconscious thoughts, formed by so many subconscious messages our society, our media and others give us.