when financial behavior becomes set in stone


Have you ever bought a lottery ticket? Have you ever used a coupon? Have you ever incurred non-mortgage debt? If you haven’t ever, will you ever, just to try it? Just to see where it takes you?

I have some financial behavior that is set in stone. You do, too, I bet.  Me?  I hate debt of any sort. I can’t stand seeing money spent on “fancy” cars, even though I’ve owned several nice new mid-range cars. On the other hand, I am careless about spending money on eating out. I can spend money on big-ticket items if I think they benefit health or quality of living, but I agonize over spending smaller amounts on items I might not “need” – think “new shoes”, for example.

Most behavior is learned. Some is not. I know where I got the idea that money spent on “going out” was money well spent. I know where I got the idea that any money spent on books was money well spent, too. I also know why I think ANY debt is awful, and why I get antsy about buying expensive (but hopefully good quality clothes). Most of these behaviors were learned at a young age, and they fit in with the world view I developed as an adolescent and voila – now these money behaviors are part of what define me.

I often wonder if I will ever apply for a $300,000 small business loan, or splash out on a BMW. It’s easier to imagine the loan than the car, I guess. I drive an almost 10-year-old Pontiac because I just don’t care about cars. It has an air conditioner and a CD player, and it makes – for an old car – acceptable mileage. The loan? If I was suddenly struck by inspiration to start a coffee shop or a hardware store or something like that, maybe… but it would be so out of my normal financial behavior that even writing that seems odd to me.

Without being too specific, I spent some time a few days ago listening to a radio show from a political commentator whose political views were 180 degrees from my own. I was stunned by what I perceived as the commentator’s completely insane view of reality. Imagine trying to listen to someone try to convince you that the sky is pink. I wondered whether there was some truth in what he said, and whether I could ever pull some of that truth out and live with it. I doubt I could, in the same way that I can’t imagine suddenly strolling into an Audi dealership, ready to buy. Some behaviors and thought patterns are hard to change – for better or for worse.

photo by Q U E E F

8 Replies to “when financial behavior becomes set in stone”

  1. This is a post that I completely agree with. Keeping a record of ones thoughts in a journal over time gives great clarity and insight into our thinking. I personally have been keeping a journal on-and-off for the past four years and find that this practice has made me more mindful about all the important aspects of life.

  2. Most of our thoughts are set in stone though I have found that those willing to be open minded and willing to work can improve them.

    Our concepts of wealth change when we ask the right questions. The human mind works by answering questions. Noah St John recently wrote a book about it called the Secret Code of Success. Usually we ask questions that reinforce our current mindset. Such as why do I think spending money on eating out is ok? Your mind fills in the answers and reinforces the neural pathways making those thoughts easier.

    Now if we change that to Why do I find eating at home to be easier and more enjoyable than eating out? You might find your thoughts changing.

    Politically over a 25 year time frame I have gone from being a bleeding heart liberal wanting much larger government to a dyed in the wool libertarian wanting much smaller government. Mainly because the question I kept asking was – What political system gives us the greatest opportunity for the greatest creation of wealth to for the greatest number of people.

    The questions we ask really do matter 🙂 Keep up the good posting 🙂 I enjoy it.

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  4. That's the great article! I just pass 'n read it, two thumbs up! 😉

  5. That's the great article! I just pass 'n read it, two thumbs up! 😉

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