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You Say Money, I Say Moolah

1 March 2021

Studies in the field of neuropsychology support the notion that people who make the transition from thinking about money in terms of income to thinking about money in terms of assets, are the ones who successfully adapt to wealth, and maintain it.

Income is a somewhat abstract term suggesting movement and flow (hence… easy in, easy out). In contrast, asset is a more material word that sounds rooted and concrete. Due to the solid feeling, the thought of spending an “asset” triggers a stronger, deeper, more connected emotional response.

Cognitive and behavioural scientists are beginning to understand how non-conscious factors such as the subtleties of language affect how we make monetary decisions. This is partly why we need to be connected to the feelings and choices that affect our behaviours.

We need to be having open and healthy conversations with ourselves and our loved ones about money while remaining conscious of the nuances that our language and behaviour can have on our own (and their) wealth mindset.

Money is an incredibly powerful tool, and once you have control of this power, it can be easy to forget how it felt not to have held it in the first place. People coming from a background of wealthy prerogative aren’t always fully aware of the controlling effects their financial behaviours can assert over people in more austere circumstances.

In simple terms, money empowers us, but this power can be used in a negative context, so we need to be mindful of the context and influence of our financial actions.

As an example, if you have children who get pocket money, and you say, “If you don’t do your chores, you’re not going to get any pocket money this week.” What is the tone and language we are using to talk about money? Are they entitled to the money, or are they earning it? Are the chores a burden or a privilege?

Money can be a great motivator, but it should not be used as a form of control.

Language is only the surface of a deeper characteristic; our wealth mindset. The ultimate goal of adapting our language should be to cultivate an abundance mindset, a financial outlook that encompasses stability and growth.

If you feel like the glass is half empty, we can help – let’s get in touch.

Sanlam Life Insurance is a licensed financial service provider.
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