One of the things I first noticed as my husband and I moved from the financial cellar to financial stability and, eventually, wealth was how the conversations in our lives changed. I don’t mean the conversations between us, but the conversations we had with friends, colleagues and total strangers. A new topic developed that we had never chatted about with our family. That topic was money.
When Brad and I were in debt and living in a 4 room mobile home, the subject of money never came up at parties, work get-togethers or family events. It was taboo to talk about legal tender unless you were discussing a decrease in income or how Uncle Sam managed to cut you out of more cash. However, as our financial situation became stronger and we started investing our savings account, a whole new world opened up to us. We noticed we were having more and more conversations about money with everyone that wasn’t our family and friends. It was the weirdest thing.
One particular conversation stands out from the rest. I was in the break room at work finishing off a bagel and cup of coffee when a co-worker of mine popped in and sat down next to me. He was a gentleman of 52-years of age. After exchanging pleasantries he hit me with a bombshell. “I’m going to retire next month.” I responded with a blank stare and a, “You’re WHAT?” He repeated his reply and then he said he had noticed how I never ate lunch in the cafeteria and that I always brought my own coffee in a thermos to work. He asked me what my retirement plans were. I was 31 at the time.
I laughed and said that I figured it would take Brad and I another 30 years or so before we could retire. He then looked me straight in the eye and said, “You can do it faster than that, if you want to.” He then outlined for me a 15 year plan that he and his wife had used to get them to a financially secure spot to leave the work force for good. I was stunned. No one had ever talked to me about money like that. What I came to realize was this, wealthy people talk about money, but the middle class and others do not unless it is the negative view of money.
What does this mean for you? Simply this. Start acting like the wealthy and initiate conversations about money with people who can help you. When was the last time you had a discussion about money with that “rich” Uncle of yours that didn’t relate to a loan? Start asking people who have money advice on how to handle it and work with it. Don’t get personal about their finances or ask for details, but talk to them about what their advice would be. If you’re like me, my family rarely had a savings account so the first time I had $5,000 in an account, I panicked because I knew I HAD to do something with it, but I had no idea WHAT to do with it. As far as I was concerned having a strategy for investing money was like shooting a rocket to the moon. I didn’t know the first thing about it!
Initiate conversations with financial professionals, talk with wealthy family members, if no one in your family is wealthy then set up an appointment with the “wealthy” person in your town. The one everyone knows and ask them what their advice would be to someone who is just starting out. I did this very thing when I was 32. I called up a gentleman who was worth 25 million dollars and asked for a 30 minute appointment and I offered to pay him his consultant rate. He was charging $400 an hour.
The best way to obtain a wealthy mentality is to start forming strategies and goals for what to do with the money that you are saving. If you have no idea about what to do with money, like me, then chat with folks who obviously invest and discuss strategies with them.