The Abundance Code: How to Bust the 7 Money Myths for a Rich Life Nowby Julie Ann Cairns
In The Abundance Code, the author digs into the limiting beliefs we have about money, which she calls “The 7 Money Myths”. The main one is scarcity, where we believe there isn’t enough wealth to go around, so we’re better off hoarding what we have rather than freeing ourselves up to achieve more financial success. The book challenges us to see our world as one of abundance and debunk the myths by replacing those limiting beliefs we may have about money with abundance thinking, new beliefs, and helpful habits to cement them in place.
Knowledge is Not Enough
“Having the ‘know-how’ is very important, but it’s equally important to make sure you have the right belief structure to support that knowledge.”
Have you ever set a goal and realized that regardless of how hard you tried, you always hit a roadblock without achieving it? Perhaps you did your best to acquire the requisite education, or you made the right connections and attended many great interviews to help you reach your set goal, yet you still end up frustrated for achieving none. Your frustration indicates the need to change your mindset and revisit your ingrained beliefs.
Having all the knowledge in the world, plus the desire to succeed, is never enough. You need a belief system that supports your goal.
Along your journey of achieving financial freedom and building wealth, you will encounter certain roadblocks that may frustrate you. This usually happens even to the most educated and sophisticated investors. To deal with this, we must have the right mindset and belief system that will help us stick to achieving our financial goals no matter what.
This means learning to disbelieve, dismantle, and overwrite our limiting beliefs about money - those passed down innocently from generation to generation as truths.
Actions to take
“Scarcity is not a fact. It’s not a trend. It’s a worldview. It is not even backed up by the data. Scarcity is just a belief that no longer serves us.”
Scarcity is at the core of the seven money myths. It’s a crippling mindset that underlies all limiting beliefs about money. Unfortunately, this mindset has been passed down to us by past generations, who lived through revolutions, wars, famines, and the Great Depression.
Before, those limiting beliefs were helpful to them because there wasn’t enough yet to go around. But there’s been a great deal of progress in the last hundred years, and we as a society have found clever ways to overcome shortages.
The truth is that our world is one of abundance. Although we’re prone to focusing on areas of shortage, like the energy derived from fossil fuels, energy is abundant from the sun, wind, water, biofuels, and geothermal energy from the earth’s core.
The reason we tend to focus on shortages is because of our cognitive-negative bias. This powerful behavior causes us to give more weight to negative information and experiences than positive ones.
To break the scarcity mindset, you’d have to break your negative bias by consciously focusing more on the areas of abundance in your life than on the areas of shortage. This can be challenging because we’re predisposed to pay more attention to negative information. The good news is that there are steps you can take to make it easier.
Actions to take
Time = Money
“The ‘time = money’ model probably still works if you want to work hard, work long, and yet never have job security… as long as you don’t really want true financial freedom.”
If you’re someone who works and is paid on an hourly basis, you may think that the only way to get wealthy is by charging a high hourly fee. But how realistic is that?
Exchanging your time for money will always be a limited approach to wealth creation, no matter how smart or highly skilled you are. This is because the amount that people are willing to pay you will always be limited and determined by the market. Besides, the hours you’ll be able to work will also be limited since we only have 24 hours a day.
The belief that time is crucial to wealth creation absolves us if we aren’t wealthy. We can then make the excuse that we’ve devoted our time to other important things like family, friends, building good relationships, and taking care of ourselves. We can assure ourselves that we didn’t sacrifice our family or lifestyle to become rich.
But we’ve seen massive fortunes built in relatively short periods in our day, like with the founders of Facebook, Groupon, and Pinterest. Increasingly, only those who take the road of leveraging their time and getting their money to work for them will see their living standards continue to rise without compromising other crucial areas of life.
Actions to take
Work = Worth
“Because we’re taught that it takes hard work to make money, we often find the prospect of losing or risking money really daunting. If we risk our “hard-earned” cash on a venture, and we lose it… and if the only way we know how to get those funds is by working hard… then the idea of risking money on anything becomes a prospect that can easily fill us with a sense of anxiety and fatigue.”
When people meet you for the first time, one of the first questions they ask is, “What do you do?” People generally ask you for something they can measure you by, and work is the first thing that comes to mind as a standard.
We’re encouraged to do an honest day’s work for fair pay. So, working hard and having a good work ethic have become subtly tied to our sense of being good, honest, or deserving. It has become a yardstick by which we measure and respect others and ourselves.
Consequently, we’ve become suspicious of those who don’t work hard but have money. We suspect they are privileged, dishonest, or lazy. We’ve fallen into the trap of thinking that money that comes easily is somehow dishonest. Our minds have come to reject an easier path to wealth.
True financial freedom means you no longer have to work for money. This may seem like a great prospect to you now, but will this lack of work deprive you of your sense of significance and contribution?
Keep in mind that wealth will not stop people from asking the “What do you do?” question and subtly judging you by the answer. How would that make you feel? You may begin to feel that you don’t deserve it. If you believe that, expect that you won’t have wealth anymore soon enough.
If you want to be different from the pack, you’ll need the courage to be different. You’ll need to get to a place, psychologically, where you can handle being different.
Actions to take
It Takes Money to Make Money
“This myth tells us why we should forget about trying to attain financial freedom quickly and easily and why we should probably even stop wanting it. It says that abundant wealth is the exclusive domain of those who already have it and is out of reach for anyone who is not either extremely lucky or born into it.”
Does it really take money to make money? The answer is a little bit yes and mostly no, thanks to a powerful concept called ‘compounding.’ You may need some investment capital to start, but it doesn’t necessarily have to be a huge amount.
Generating relatively passive income, investing for a positive return, and compounding those returns are what the rich tend to understand quite well. Even after they die, their investment portfolios can keep on making money.
Albert Einstein is said to have called compound interest “the greatest invention of mankind.” It allows us to access the power of exponential growth when we invest for a positive return and then take that return and invest it again. The higher the annual return on the investment, the greater the power of compounding, and the longer the investment horizon, the greater its impact.
So while it’s true that it does take some money to get started investing, the power of compounding can be your real friend to accelerate your progress over time. You don’t have to be wealthy to invest, but you have to invest to be wealthy!
Actions to take
Easy Come, Easy Go
“So now you have a belief conflict: you have money that you don’t really believe you deserve. The rectification for that belief conflict is to have the money flow out of your life just as quickly and easily as it came in.”
You’ve probably heard stories of lottery winners who’ve gone bankrupt after a few years or ended up with less money than before they hit the jackpot. According to statistics, they are more likely to go bankrupt 3-5 years after winning than before they ever won the money.
This is because the pre-existing underlying belief structure of the lottery winner is an important determinant of how well they’ll handle having a windfall. You can catapult people from one socioeconomic status to another overnight, but a lifetime of beliefs and experiences change more slowly.
“Easy come, easy go” is a myth that shows its colors most dramatically in cases of sudden windfall financial gain. If you subconsciously believe this myth, money will come into your life quickly and easily, and it’ll flow out in that same manner. It usually happens so fast that people don’t even notice it. It may take winning the lottery or another windfall to make the mechanism more obvious.
Generally, this belief will often only surface once you’ve addressed some of the other subconscious barriers to wealth, such as the belief that you have to work hard for your money or that time is money. Until you’ve tackled those other limiting beliefs, you’re unlikely to experience the ‘easy come’ part of the equation.
Actions to take
Money Won’t Make You Happy
“If we have money and we have time, then we also have the freedom and space needed to be able to start addressing any emotional issues we may be carrying — and that can definitely lead to greater happiness.”
It’s hard to argue with the saying, “There’s more to life than money.” There are obviously many experiences that have a depth of meaning and importance that can’t be accessed purely by trying to buy them. But does this mean that money won’t make you happy?
Research shows that money may make us happier to some extent. Elizabeth Dunn, a Canadian researcher, and her team found that spending as little as $5 a day on someone else can significantly boost your happiness. In other words, generosity makes you happy, and having money allows you to be much more generous.
Not having enough money for food, shelter, and clothing for you and your family can be stressful. Stress and anxiety typically leave no room for happiness. Even people who appear to be rich can suffer from stress if they’ve financed their lifestyle with a high level of debt.
Your motivation is important in determining whether or not money will help you be happy. There’ll always be someone with a nicer house, a hotter partner, or a bigger yacht. But if your goal is to have more choices, be more generous and abundant, be free to follow your heart’s desires, have great experiences, grow, and live life to the fullest, then money can certainly help with that.
Your underlying belief structure is very important. It’s what drives your motivation, and it can be one of either scarcity and competition or abundance and generosity.
Actions to take
Money Corrupts You
“Having things is not the issue per se, nor is enjoying the bounty of life in a healthy way. A psychological (and perhaps spiritual) problem arises when one becomes obsessive, begins to hoard things, or becomes jealous and covetous of what other people have.”
The “money corrupts you” myth perpetuates the disturbing idea that having money will somehow turn you from a good person into a bad one. It’s a misquote from the Bible, which actually says, “For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil.” The correct quote refers to an attitude toward money and not money itself.
Research shows that, as a society, having money actually makes us better people. As we get richer, we steal, rape, and murder less. Instead, we care more about the environment, our health, literacy, and education. We also make more scientific advancements by collectively coming up with solutions to more of the world’s problems.
When we feel abundant and secure that there’s enough to go around, it’s easier to be generous and consider the welfare of others. But when we’re collectively stuck in the scarcity mindset, we’re afraid of the future, and we’re much more likely to hoard what we have, careful of giving too much to others.
You can use the money to do a great deal of good and to facilitate a life of happiness and satisfaction for yourself and for others, as long as your mindset is based on abundance and not on scarcity.
Actions to take
Busting the Seven Money Myths
“If you want to weaken the hold of limiting beliefs on your subconscious, the introduction of doubt about those beliefs is a very important first step.”
We like to have familiar feelings in our lives because that’s how we know we’re ourselves. If we change what’s familiar, we’re essentially changing who we are. So when you start changing your beliefs, it’s important to be careful. You must ensure your new beliefs are well formed, so they won’t have unintended side effects.
Once you’ve done this, it’s time to look for habits that’ll support you in cementing and stabilizing those new beliefs.
Since trying to stop old habits is difficult, replacing them with new ones is a better approach. For example, if you believe the myth of scarcity, that “money doesn’t grow on trees,” your habits would involve not spending or sharing much of the money that flows into your life. But if you want to change that belief to one of abundance, like “the world is an abundant place, and I share in that abundance,” you could replace your old habit with spending and sharing generously. This is because you now believe that more will flow back to you. The reward is the same — a feeling of safety. You once felt safe in hoarding money due to scarcity, and now you feel safe in sharing due to abundance.