What would you do if I told you that most of what you "know" about money and wealth was absolutely false … even harmful to you financially? Would you listen? Would you open up your mind for a few minutes … to try to be teachable?
I know. It might be hard to admit that your assumptions about wealth could be wrong. These assumptions have been precious. You have forged them over long hard years of almost stubborn adherence to the general consensus. There are lessons that you feel learned from recessions in the market. There are the proverbs of so called wise-men which have been adopted into the conventional wisdom that are hard to ignore. And, most powerful of all, there are the admonitions of parents and loved-ones. All of this lifetime training (programming) has left indelible impressions.
Nonetheless, most of what you have learned from these well-intentioned teachers is false … at least when taken in the context of today's investment climate. And still these false assumptions prevail, are nourished and passed on … a general case of the blind leading the blind, transferring this knowledge from generation to generation like a communicable disease.
I'll never forget a radio interview I did in Pittsburgh. While I was talking with the host / interviewer, his assistant, a young woman, listened intently to our conversation as we discussed the dimensions of the road to wealth. After the interview, she came up to me and questioned, "Mr. Allen, all of what you say sounds interesting, even possible. I asked, "How are your parents doing financially?" She replied, "They are really strapped for money." I thought to myself, "By their fruits ye know know them," But I did not say anything because I saw the light of understanding come in on her eyes … if only for a moment. But when we began to discuss it further, I saw the doubts start to creep back in and I lost her.
I lost her because she could not let go of her programming. These assumptions which we all carry with us are deeply rooted into the fabric of conventional money wisdom. And since they are so deeply embeded, they are equally difficult to dislodge.
It reminds me of a story I heard recently about monkey traps. It sees that in Africa the natives use an ingenious method for catching monkeys. They hollow out a coconut shell by cutting a fairly small hole at one end … small enough to barely allow a monkey's hand. Inside the hollowed shell they place a few peanuts. they connect the coconut shell to a thin, strong, cord and wait in hiding for the monkeys to smell the peanuts. When a monkey discovers the nuts inside the shell he reaches in and grasps them in his fist … but the hole is too small to allow the tightly-clenched fist to escape. At this precise moment the natives pull on the cord and the monkey, who will not let go of the peanuts to save his life, is caught.
Many of us are like those monkeys. We hold tight to our own peanut ideas for fear that we may lose them … when all the while, it is these very ideas that hold us captive and prevent the surplus freedom we long for. When approached with new and better ideas, the majority of us recoil and in essence say, "My mind is made up. Do not confuse me with the facts!" And then the blind remain dumb because they will not hear.
Well, what are these false assumptions which most of us cling so properly to? And how can we rid themselves of them? The answers follow. I have tried to research these ideas by doing a broad cross-section survey of interviewing them about their attitudes on money. To seek another opinion, I have tried to choose a representative sampling of middle and low-income workers. Although my research is not yet complete, I think I can draw some conclusions which offer some insight. I have detailed information on the 8 false assumptions listed below and comments on each of them. I chose to break them up and write separate articles on each of them.
False Assumption No.1 Having a job is good and leads extremely to wealth.
False Assumption No.2 Saving your money is a good investment
False Assumption No.3 Debt is bad. Avoid it like the plague.
False Assumption No.4 Security is good. Get as much of it as you can, whatever the cost.
False Assumption No.5 Risk is bad. Avoid it at all cost.
False Assumption No.6 Failure is bad.
False Assumption No.7 Wealth is measured in material holdings.
False Assumption No.8 The Government is responsible for my financial well-being.