"THE COURAGE TO BE RICH" by Suze Orman 

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Additional thought of Graham White in highlights.

This book explains the psychology of how and why you feel the way you do about money and how to change that thinking in order to bring abundance and joy into your life.  

There are many sections in this book that I have not covered as they are too detailed, too advanced or not in the areas I work with.

If you want to gain control over your financial future - BUY THIS BOOK!

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The single most important quality you need in order to change the course of your life is courage - a great deal of courage.

Can you remember the courage it took to endure a setback or overcome an obstacle in your own life - the unexpected loss of a job, the illness of a loved one, a devastating rejections from someone you cared about?  That feeling of waking up in the morning with pain in the pit of your stomach, pain that stayed with you as you went through the day in a fog, wondering how you could possible cope, how you could go on, let alone rebuild your life - but you did.  What enabled you to go on was your courage.

It takes courage to stretch your limits, express your power, and fulfill your potential.

 

Your Thoughts About Money

In a buy-now, consume-now, pay-later culture like ours, it takes courage to make the long-term decisions that will get us ahead.  It takes courage to live within the realistic limits of your means.  It takes courage to live responsibly enough yourself that you are able to be share with others without fear of how it will affect you.  And it takes courage to live honestly, wisely, true to yourself and the principles that are important to you.

In order to become rich, you must believe that you can do it and you must take the actions necessary to achieve your goal. 

There is nothing wrong with wanting more.  You do not need to feel guilty for wanting more.  If, however, you deny the possibility that you can have more, you'll be making yourself a victim of today's circumstances, and the cost will be tomorrow. 

The way each of us thinks and feels about our money is the key factor in determining how much we ultimately have.  Regardless of their particular financial dilemma, people who have financial difficulty always use words like: Shame, Fear, & Anger to describe their feelings about money.

When negative emotions control the purse strings, money will not flow purely and evenly.  When it comes to money, emotions can speak louder than reason or necessity.  Your emotions, expressed through your financial actions, have gotten you to where you are now and will continue to shape your financial future if you let them.  If shame, fear, or anger is at the wheel, then you are not on a course towards richness.  By having the courage to face and overcome your inner obstacles you will change the outer trappings of your life forever.

 Exercise #1 Understanding Your Financial Feelings 

Think about how you truly feel about your finances.  Is money - the money you've spent, the money you have, the money you need - a constant worry for you?  Do you feel that you're not good enough to get what you want or that you don't deserve what you have?  Are you embarrassed by how much you have?  Envious of what others have, angry that you don't have such things?

After you have spent some time contemplating your situation, write a few sentences describing how you feel about money as precisely as you can.

If you don't have the money to pay your bills, write down how it feels not to have enough money.  If you're in debt, write down how that feels.  If you have far more money than your friends, write down how that feels as well.  On the other hand, if you think you remain emotionally unattached to your money, I still want you to try to complete this exercise, because you might surprise yourself by uncovering emotions that have been long buried.

Take a good look at the words you have written and see them not as words but as your current truths.  Underline any words that have to do with an emotion- like terrifying, embarrassed, or worried.

 

Money, Power, Respect

Strange as it may sound to you, money is attracted to people who are strong and powerful, respectful of it and open to receiving it.  I want you to think about this - Money behaves and responds just like a person - nurture it, treat it well, and it will grow and flourish; treat it carelessly, or with disrespect, and it will dwindle away to nothing.  Quite simply, if you respect money and give it the attention it needs, it will respect you back.

Conversely, the emotions of shame, fear, and anger cloud your financial judgment, take away your power over your money.  When these emotions determine your spending patterns or force you to deny or defy the truth about your money, they not only wreak havoc on your finances, they actually repel money from you.  This is not to say that there aren't people with a lot of money who feel shame, fear, or anger- there are plenty of such people.  Although they may have a good amount of money, they're not rich in the sense of living a full, expansive and contented life.  And often such people are unable to hold on to their money.  How frequently do we read in the tabloids of wealthy people whose fortunes are destroyed by drugs, ugly divorces, unscrupulous business practices, or similar disgraceful causes?  Why do you think this happens?  I believe it happens because their underlying emotional states are powerful enough, and corrosive enough, to repel even vast fortunes.  No matter how much money you have, power and respect - for yourself, for others, for your money - attract riches, and powerlessness and disrespect repel them.

Financial Shame

How does shame come into play in grown-up financial life?  If you feel "less than," you'll spend more - possibly even more than you have - in order to feel like more.  If you feel you don't deserve what you have, you'll neglect it, it will fail to grow, and eventually it will stagnate.  If you feel undeserving, you will never take real pleasure in the money you have and what it can do.  If you believe that you truly don't deserve the things you really want, then they'll never be yours.  

Financial Fear

Fear has nothing to do with the financial facts of your life; you can certainly have money and still be afraid.  If your parents quarreled about money when you were young, if you grew up feeling there wasn't enough, you almost certainly harbor some fear about money today.  

This is the feeling you have when you go to make a purchase and hold your breath waiting to see if there is enough money in your account, or more often - if there is enough room on your credit card.

Financial Anger

Anger at yourself for what you've done or what you haven't done with your money, for a raise you didn't get, at your parents for the ways in which you still feel they let you down, at friends who have more than you, at a spouse who left you powerless and penniless, or simply at the unfairness of life - and the unfairness of money.  This anger can translate into debt and dishonesty with yourself about what you are or aren't doing with your money.

When your outward appearance and way of living suggest to others that you have more money than you do, you're angry.  When you've invested more money in today than tomorrow, your probably angry.  And no matter where you cast the blame for your anger, in the end the person you'll be the most angry with is yourself.

 

If you face your finances truthfully, just the way they are now, you can begin to change them, a little today and a little more tomorrow.  But first you have to render those emotions of fear, shame, or anger powerless over you and your money.

 

 Exercise #2 Understanding Your Financial Psychology 

Think back to your childhood to find the financial memories that planted the shame, the fear, the anger.  Use the word that most prominently and accurately describes your present-day feelings toward your finances as a sort of password, a key to unlock painful episodes that still resonate, even subconsciously in your life today.

Add to the piece of paper what you are doing today in your actions, thoughts, or feelings about money to keep the emotions of shame, anger, or fear alive and in control of your money.

You must release yourself from the hold these memories have over you.  You can no longer afford to live in the past; make the present your point of reckoning.  Today and tomorrow are all that matter.  Take responsibility for your life, and for your money, from this moment on.

 

ALWAYS FORGIVE

The only way to get beyond the emotional obstacles standing between you and more money is to let them go, to forgive.  Forgive the people who helped to etch those memories on your soul. forgive yourself for the way those emotions have played out in your financial life up until now.  Forgive the past and present, in order to make the future a blank slate on which you can engrave different goals and different numbers.  

This can be either a mental or actual exercise.  Ask to be forgiven and released by all those you have hurt and forgive all those who have hurt or harmed you.

Forgiveness is a process, it takes time.  You may need to repeat this many times before you are able to completely move beyond the influence of the past.  Forgiving yourself may be the most challenging of all, but you need to do it in order to move beyond the restricting effects of those destructive emotions.

 

Moving On

There is a vast difference between facing reality, bad as your particular financial reality might be at this moment, and thinking that you can't do anything about it.

It's not about how hard you're working.  Many people focus on the fact that they're expending a lot of energy in what they're doing.  That doesn't necessarily mean that they are productive.  What matters is that you're doing things that WORK.  Often, doing what works takes less energy than what you've been doing that is causing all the problems.  Stop trying to smash down the brick wall using your head - and go over and open the door, it's much easier and works much better.

Thoughts of Courage

If your thoughts turn to your debt and how you'll never be able to pay it off, replace the thought: Yes, I have debt, but there are ways to get out of debt; millions of people have, and I will too.

Replace each thought of powerlessness with a powerful thought, a thought that says I can, and then move away from the thought.  Replace a thought of powerlessness every time it comes into your mind, over and over again. This is not an invitation to live in denial. You're not pushing the problem away, you're simply meeting it in a new way, head-on, with the strength of your positive new thoughts.

The Power of Language

Where there is flow, even a trickle of money, you have the power to increase it.  Believe it or not, it almost doesn't matter how much or how little money you have coming in every month. All money has the power to grow or dwindle, and when you unleash powerful thought over even small amounts of money, you are turning toward more.  What will begin to make you richer is how you think about yourself, your circumstances, and all the possibilities that lie ahead.

When you use words like, "I'll never get that job, so I'm not even going to try."  "I'll never get rich."  "I'll be paying off this debt for the rest of my life."  "We'll never be able to afford a house."  "I'll probably lose everything." - you are creating a self-fulfilling prophesy.

To have more, you have to begin by thinking you can have more, but then you have to say it:  I can...I always...I am learning how...I will have...  To have more, you must learn to speak in the language of wealth, a language that shows self respect - and also respect for your money.

Letting Your Thoughts Exceed Your Words

  • I'm broke.  The words "I'm broke" suggest, in fact, that you're broken, at rock bottom, unable to function, unable to meet your responsibilities.  Is that the message you want to send to the world?

  • I know I should... Anything that you "should" be doing is something you're clearly not doing.  "Should" is another way of absolving yourself of responsibility.  any sentence that contains the word is not even close to a statement of intent.

  • It's only money.  There's nothing "only" about money.  Money matters, plain and simple.  If this is your attitude toward money, believe me, your money will take the same apathetic attitude toward you.

  • I need a new...  Do you really need it?  Is "need" the right word?  Elevating desires to needs is destructive - to ourselves and to those around us.  Let's say you saw a new suit and you thought, "I would like to own that" - you were able to keep need out of it.  Isn't that statement more accurate and therefore truer to the language of wealth?

  • Never. Never say "never," when it comes to money.  "Never" cuts off tomorrow, and tomorrow holds the possibility of always.  "I'll never be rich."  "I'll always be rich." - one word makes all the difference.

  • I could start investing if...When I get a raise, things will be different.  "If" and "when" take us away from the here and now to a place that exists only conditionally.

  • Oh God.  "Oh God, how I am I going to pay these bills?"  "Oh God, everything is so expensive!"  "Oh God, I would love to come with you to the Caribbean if I just had the money."  So often when it comes to our money we invoke God, which give an unnecessary, desperate urgency to what we are trying to say.  It's the language of longing, not the language of wealth.

 

It is in this way: Designer this and premium that, that our spending inches up, our scale of living inches up, we upgrade a little here and a little there, to the point where those things we once thought of as luxuries have become necessities.

Value money over things, find an extra $200 from somewhere else in your life, don't simply tack on to your spending an extra $200 a year in order to feel good.

Examine the "Necessities" in your life and also the luxuries.  Choose a few luxuries that you wouldn't mind "downgrading" to the necessity category - $500, $1000, $2000 worth each year; you pick the number that feels right.  Regardless of how much or how little you think you have, you can find money by examining your expenses, trimming your spending here and there and learning to choose and value money over things.

What will the money be used for?  First, to speed up the process of eradicating any debt you have, for once and all.  After that, the money will be used to invest in your future.

 Exercise #3  Find the Courage - Find the Money 

  • Vices:Do you smoke, drink, binge eat, do drugs, gamble, have a mistress or other such vices?  Get professional help NOW!  Not only are these detrimental to your health and personal life, they are ruining you financially.

  • Meals: Do you eat out, order in or do take-out more than once or twice a week?  The cost savings by simply going to a bulk store and buying pre-cooked dinners that are quick and simple to make, let alone doing your own cooking is ENORMOUS!  Stop investing your future in fast-food!

  • Entertainment: Do you go to see new release movies more than once a month?  Do you attend concerts or other big ticket entertainment events more than two or three times a year?  By changing to doing things like getting together with friends, waiting until movies are at the cheap theatre and going on Tuesdays, and regarding big ticket events as "treats" rather than part of your regular lifestyle you can save thousands of dollars a year that can be invested in your future.

  • Bottled water:  Necessity?  Really?  How did we ever live before this invention?  What about bottling your own water that you've filtered with a Brita?

  • Soda's and Juice:  You need something other than water?  The office fountain isn't good enough for you?  Do you really need the extra expense, caffeine and calories?

  • Coffee:Do you make it cheap at home or spend more to grab a cup on the way to the office?  Do you drink regular coffee or Starbucks quality?  One medium Starbucks coffee costs about $2.75, which means you're spending $1000 a year on morning coffee.  Invested over 30 years at 10% you would have $165,152.00.

  • Have you switched from an old-fashioned blanket to a luxurious puffy down cover?  What about extra-fluffy towels, scented soaps, brand name shampoos and accessories for the bath?  Have you turned your daily bath into a luxury at-home spa?  If you can cut back on just $10 a month on these luxuries, you will have $120 more a year to invest.

  • Have you added to your phone costs with call waiting, caller ID or a second line for the kids or dedicated to fax or internet?  Do you really need to spend this extra $100 - $500 a year?

  • Do you really need your cell phone?  Does it save you or make you the $300+ you spend to have it each year?

  • Satellite dish, extra cable channels - need or luxury?

  • Designer sunglasses...a necessity?  Do you lose them or need to replace them often?  Can you justify the expense or put that money towards your future by purchasing less expensive ones?

  • Have you switched to premium ice creams?  What about other foods, or how about the restaurants you dine at, have you upgraded there?

  • How many appliances are there in your kitchen that you rarely or never use?  Pasta maker, bread maker, ice cream maker, popcorn popper, waffle iron, rarely used pots and pans - how about serving bowls and platters?  Do you need all the ones you have?  Do you use only top-of-the-line?  Do you use it enough to justify having the best?  Think twice before buying something else for the kitchen.

  • How many power tools are in the garage and how often do they get used?

  • Do you buy books that you read only once?  What's wrong with using the library and saving yourself hundreds of dollars a year?

  • How extravagant is your garden and yard?  Gardening is suddenly a big new "necessity" and can be a costly one.  Could your garden budget take some pruning?

  • Daily bread - have you decided that the best thing since sliced bread is French baguettes, bread that goes stale after one day?  Have you switched from ordinary loaves to gourmet bread?

  • Designer underwear - luxury or necessity?

  • Electronic organizer - has it gotten you organized?  Do you even use it?

  • New home, new car, new clothes, new computer - something you "need" or something you do to maintain your ego?

  • Late charges for videos and monthly bills - are you watching your money go down the drain simply because your disorganized?

  • Gym membership, do you use it?

  • Music you bought but never really listen to?

  • Seminars, tape series, books you've never gotten around to?

Did you find $500, $5000?  Here's how it will make you feel to become rich, over time.  You made the money materialize, and maybe you can come up with even more.  After you rid yourself of the burden of debt, you will begin to invest it.  Soon, the interest begins to add up.  Then the interest compounds, month after month, year after year.  Then there comes a point where the money you have put away begins to matter.  It begins to feel good.  And then it begins to matter more.  You begin to make decisions differently - an extra $50 toward tomorrow begins to seem much more valuable than another sweater or another dinner out or another DC to play once or twice in the car on your way to work.  There will come a time when the money you have created matters more than the choices you will make in order to create it.  At that point, you will choose- without regrets, in a kind of excited state - to keep pouring money into your tomorrow ($50 extra a month, $100 extra a month, or more).  You will choose to value money over things.  After a while, you begin to grow with your money.  You stop cringing every time the bills come, the unexpected happens, the fear begins anew.  When getting rich becomes your true goal, you're on your way.

That's how we get rich, financially speaking.  Little by little.  Every fortune in this world began with a balance of zero.  Oddly enough, that's also how we get rich, emotionally speaking - by the way we make our choices and the choices we make.

 

Defining Value and Worth

When you undervalue what you do, the world will undervalue who you are.

We don't respect small amounts of money enough to believe that they can grow to a fortune.  

Do you compete with your money?  Try to prove love with your money?  Try to please others with your money?  Does charging something give you a high from which you later crash?  Do you tend to always say yes when asked to spend money or, conversely, tend always to say no?

In order to become rich, your self-worth has to rise along with your net worth - you must feel you serve to be rich, you must never cast yourself as the victim, you must stop settling or feeling as if you're just getting by, and you must make the most of what you have.  This is a hard concept for many of us to grasp, for most of us feel as if we're already doing the best we can - but are we, really?

You cannot feel poor and undeserving and expect to become rich.  Instead, you must be certain of your claim on the world, and stand up for your rights in this world even as you stand up to your responsibilities (then be prepared to do the necessary work).

If the relationship between you and your money is harmonious, regardless of how much you have, your financial transactions will be harmonious as well.  By this I mean that you will take such pleasure in what your money brings to you life, what your money - whether large amounts of it or small - can do to help the lives of others, and what spending it on life's simple or sophisticated pleasures can do to enhance your quality of life and well-being.

People first, then money.  Make yourself worthy of money, and money will make itself worthy of you.

We don't feel guilty about how much we love our family.  If there is a lot of love in your life, if your family is close and your marriage is happy, you will tell people with pride how rich with love you feel.  But when it comes to money, wanting to have more than we do has an undertone of "greed" and we don't want to be seen as greedy.

 

Facing The Past

Getting rich first involves knowing exactly where you stand and, if you are bearing the burden of debt, getting rid of it, to clear the way for what you can create tomorrow.  FIRST STEP- knowing where you stand right now.

You are not a bad person because you have credit card debt, you are simply a person who has managed your money badly.  Getting out of debt is the single most important action you can take on behalf of your future financial and emotional security.  When you are in credit card debt, you're literally worth less than you have, which makes you feel less than you are.  Overspending on credit cards merely to accumulate things to wear or display or to satisfy the desire for traveling, eating out, or entertainment is paying tomorrow for today's pleasures.  It is dishonorable debt.

The hardest part of paying the bills is actually sitting down and facing them all at one time.  It really can be overwhelming, we don't like to do it, and so we don't.  We also don't like to let go of money that we have just gotten.  We like to hold on to it, because we do not like to see money flowing away from us.  The fact is, that this is money that isn't really ours but money we owe to others - to the mortgage company, for cable, to the department store.  Simply having it makes us feel richer for the time being, and we like that feeling.

As soon as we feel a little richer, our natural tendency is to spend a little more, and then when the bills come due, we don't have enough money left to pay them.  Don't hoard the money you owe - free yourself up instead by writing and paying your bills as soon as you possibly can.  Paying your bills in this way will make you feel clearer about where you stand and ultimately will make you feel more powerful.

 Exercise #4  What to do about debt: 

  1. Face your debt by telling others about it.

  2. If you are in credit card trouble, you must cut up all of your credit cards now, with the possible exception of one card for emergencies; do not carry this card in your wallet!

  3. Call the credit card company of the one card you've kept and ask them to lower you credit limit to a level that will provide you with security in the event of an emergency.

  4. You must pay more than the minimum payment every month - as much more as you possible can.

  5. You must pay off the credit card with the highest interest rate first, and then the rest in descending order.

  6. After you pay off one credit card, you must apply the money you have been paying that particular company to paying off another credit card.

  7. You must never let this happen again.

  8. After your debts have been paid off, you are to apply the money you were paying all those months toward creating your future, not buying more stuff.

Bankruptcy

If you are thinking of declaring bankruptcy, consider whether your situation was caused by your own poor spending habits or a true life crisis like an illness, death or natural disaster.  If your financial troubles arise instead from credit card debt, if you're overextended because of irresponsible actions, should you then pass that burden on to others? Your financial record may be cleared after seven years, but your soul will carry the memory.

By declaring bankruptcy, you are asking the merchants to bear the cost of your actions.  It is not simply a way to cop out on overspending, and should you choose to do it, you must understand that one way or another, someone will be asked to pick up the pieces - why aren't you doing it yourself?

 

Thoughts about Homes

Don't fall in love with a home.  As soon as you fall in love with any type of purchase, you are going to end up paying more than you should.

Don't feel guilty about wasting the salespersons time, that's there job.  You are not obligated to pay their mortgage through your sacrifice.

Be realistic.  We all have dreams of living in the mansion on the hill, but what can you really afford?

Thoughts about Cars

Most of us need a car, but even a modest car is a big ticket item.  Don't let what you drive today drive your destiny tomorrow.  Value money over things and value your money over your car.  Don't say "I bought a new car!", say, "I invested in a new car.  When I've finished paying the bank, it will be mine!"

When it comes to a car, buying a reliable model, paying it off in four or five years, and planning to own it for at least eight or ten years may not sound like the sexiest decision you could make, but it will ultimately free up more money for you, now and in the future.  There's a reason most dealers are encouraging you to lease, and it's because it's in their best interest - which means that it's probably not in yours.

Thoughts about Taxes

Rich or poor, you will worry about your taxes if you feel powerless over money, and you won't worry about your taxes if you feel in control of your finances.

Getting a tax return is a waste of money.  It means that you have been investing in something with a 0% return.  It's better than having had it and wasted it, but once you are disciplined, you're better off to invest your own money and pay your taxes with the some of the return your investments have made when taxes come due.

Thoughts about Tomorrow, Today

You've heard the saying, "The rich get richer and the poor get poorer."  The truth is that you simply need money in place to earn money to become richer.  Whether you're working with a little or a lot, put your money to work.  Scale back on your luxuries in order to have the ability to invest your money rather than simply spend it.  When an expense is no longer present, a child leaves your home and you have $150 freed up in groceries, begin investing that in your future.

Delay the immediate gratification that buying something brings in order to enjoy the delayed gratification that having your money work for you provides.

Thoughts About Relationships

If you haven't walked carefully and honestly through all the money issues ahead of time, money will one day become an obstacle in your relationship.  Arguments over money trigger divorce in more cases than you can imagine - arguments that are not necessarily based on deceit or lies but on how we deal with money.  Because most of us deal with it very, very differently.

  • Who's paying the bills?

  • Are you keeping close track of your money to make sure that you both know what's going on?

  • Are you both aware of where the money is going or is one person in charge?  (You BOTH need to know)

  • Have you agreed on what you're spending money on?

  • Are you in agreement to save for tomorrow?

BUY THIS BOOK

Suze Orman              

www.suzeorman.com 

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