POST LATER2FIRE Everyone knows they need to save for retirement, but most people, regardless of age, fall behind. When asked why, they cite circumstances such as high housing and healthcare costs, having to support family, and not having enough income. However, there’s another, perhaps overarching reason: having a fixed money mindset.
Fixed Money Mindset
Many people are intimidated by money. They’re afraid of making bad decisions because they lack confidence or financial literacy. They become conditioned to procrastination, defeatism and inaction. Worse, they believe they can’t change, that they lack innate capability when it comes to money. These self-defeating beliefs are the hallmarks of a fixed money mindset.
Growth Money Mindset
On the other hand people with a growth money mindset believe that effort and determination can lead to change. They fearlessly acquire whatever knowledge they lack in order to take charge of their personal finances. These people don’t see insurmountable obstacles, but opportunities. They believe that they can remedy their situation and aren’t afraid to seek help. People with a growth money mindset recognize that small steps add up to progress over time. Most important of all is that they take action to change their money fortunes. These are the traits of a growth money mindset.
How to Get a Growth Money Mindset
Contrary to what people with a fixed money mindset believe, it is possible to develop a growth money mindset.
- Find like minded people. The FIRE community – Financial Independence Retire Early – is the perfect place for support, inspiration, education and motivation. (If you’re unfamiliar with FIRE, check out my FAQ). The FIRE community is large and diverse which makes it easy to find your niche. Members help others by sharing their experience and knowledge. Here’s what Shaun of Project Palm Tree says: ”What I like about the FIRE movement is feeling I’m in a community that values planning for your financial future and financial freedom, and shares what they know with everyone in the community – knowledge, skills, encouragement and accountability.” (Click here to read Shaun’s entire interview with @LateStarterTo FIRE.)
- Develop belief that change is possible. Sometimes all it takes is to see how others have turned around their financial lives. “If they can do it, then I can do it” is a powerful motivator regardless of whether it’s driven by an innate or latent competitive nature, a sense of responsibility, a desire to end frustration, fear, or wanting to achieve life goals.
- Figure out how to improve your financial literacy – what knowledge you’re missing and how to acquire it. You don’t need to become Warren Buffet, but you need to know enough to be accountable for your finances. A good place to start is to meet with a representative from a financial services company which is usually free if you have an account. Get their take on areas where you need more knowledge. Find out what resources they offer and how to use them. Then there are many free online classes and great websites such as Investopedia. And when you join the FIRE community you’ll find a wealth of information on personal finance available through blogs, podcasts, in-person events (such as FinCon 2020) and social media. The great thing is that you can learn at your own pace and in ways that work best for you.
Each of us is in a race against time. The later you start, the harder it is to change and to catch up. That’s why I believe that it is especially important for people who missed their first window to FIRE (~age 22 – 35), to look into the FIRE movement. From there you can develop your growth money mindset and go from making excuses to making changes!