Get Scarcity Thinking Out of Your Finances

Series: Figuring out your Personal finances.

One of the things I do is help people figure out their personal finances. From planning for retirement, to figuring out how to buy out your long-time business partner, money is always a piece of the puzzle.

People let it get too out of proportion, though. Money is alway an issue, but it need not always be THE issue.

The key – in my experience – is your mindset. If money and everything about it seems stressful, negative, and an argument waiting to happen, it’s because money is not in it’s right place.  This happens a lot, and it’s nothing to be ashamed of. The best part is that you can fix this; at any time and no matter how bad things seem.

Here’s how you do it. I said that it’s all about a mindset, right?

Think about these words:

         ⁃        can’t

         ⁃        expensive

         ⁃        won’t

         ⁃        bankrupt

         ⁃        without

         ⁃        without

These words make you feel bad, no? In fact, they make me feel like shit just reading them. They’re words I used to use when I occasionally tried to get my own financial house in order.

Today, I have zero debt. I mean none. I have some respectable savings, and some investments – both retirement accounts and regular taxable ones. Right now I don’t make much money – in fact, as a writer and consultant, what I do earn is very sporadic. Thankfully it’s growing, but thanks to the overhaul I did a few years ago, I don’t stress about money. The shitty words I showed you above don’t come around anymore when I think about money.

Here’s what helped me, and has helped several of my clients and friends reframe their relationship with money.

Most of us (me included) love new things. We might love nice cars, tech gadgets, fast food or fine dining. We might love to continually redecorate the house, travel, or horses. Any one of these can be tremendously expensive – and most of us like more than just one of them. Enter the problem….. The Scarcity Mindset. The Scarcity Mindset is a real bitch. It’s responsible for continuing to raise hell in our lives. We get divorced, bankrupt, addicted to drugs, food, shopping. We get fat, sick, depressed, and bitter because of it.

The lousy part is that it’s all a lie. The scarcity mindset is just that. We’re caught up chasing something we can’t name.

Let me help you out. I’ll name it for you.


Yes that donut makes me feel pretty fucking happy sometimes, but it’s (I imagine) like heroin-happy. I’d bet one of my readers can back me up on that since I haven’t tried heroin. It ain’t about the donut. It’s about the happy.

All you have to do is take out the donut and replace it with your go-to habit. What is it? Porn? Gambling? Work?

Yeah, I know this sounds coarse. It sounds rough around the edges. Know why? Because life is like that. Life’s tough, right? I know. Mine’s tough too. If you ever see me holed up in the back of the bagel shop with my face buried in a bag of chips at 2 in the morning, do me a solid and pretend we don’t know each other, ok? I’m in a moment of weakness here.

Ok. Back to the money thing. Here’s the deal.

If you never take the time to unplug from the world and all the bullshit expectations you put on yourself and figure out what REALLY makes you happy, you’ll never get out from under this money thing. I’ve worked with people that were thrilled beyond belief to have thirty bucks in their new checking account – and I’ve worked with people investing tens of millions of dollars with complex hedging strategies. The amount of money you have does not matter.

Let me say that another way: If you’re stuck in a Scarcity Mindset, you will NEVER HAVE ENOUGH money. Never.

The only way to break this cycle is to forget about the money and focus on you.

In the next part of this series, I’ll take you through a simple exercise you can use to get yourself right. I’ve used it myself, and it works.