Money Doesn’t Matter But Your Behavior With Money Does

 Money, Money, Money

“If only I had more money…then everything would be better!” How many of us have heard/said this before? I think the vast majority of us probably have. Money is part of everything we do so it’s natural to assume that having more money would improve our lives. It can, but doesn’t always. Now, I’m not one who believes that “money is the root of all evil” but I do believe that just because you have money doesn’t mean that you will be successful or happy. The reality is that it’s our behavior with money that gets in our way and cause us problems. For confirmation of that belief let’s see how lottery winners (the very essence of sudden money) have fared when it comes to their money:

“Human behavior flows from three main sources: desire, emotion and knowledge”

— Plato

Lottery Winner Stats:

  • Nearly ⅓ will declare bankruptcy-CFP Board
  • 44% have spent all the winnings w/in 5 years
  • There’s a 90% chance that new family wealth will be gone w/in three generations

Here’s a couple of “happy” lottery winners stories:

Jack Whittaker

“I wish that we had torn the ticket up”

Jack Whittaker was already a millionaire when he won a $315 million in a lottery in West Virginia in 2002. The then-55-year-old West Virginia construction company president claimed he went broke about four years later and lost a daughter and a granddaughter to drug overdoses, which he blamed on the curse of the Powerball win, according to ABC News. “My granddaughter is dead because of the money,” he told ABC. “You know, my wife had said she wished that she had torn the ticket up. Well, I wish that we had torn the ticket up, too.” Whittaker was also robbed of $545,000 sitting in his car while he was at a strip club eight months after winning the lottery. “I just don’t like Jack Whittaker. I don’t like the hard heart I’ve got,” he said. “I don’t like what I’ve become.”

“He’s the last person I would have prototyped for going completely crazy but he did,” McNay told TIME on Tuesday. “No question it was because he won the lottery.”

Abraham Shakespeare

“I’d have been better off broke”

Abraham Shakespeare was murdered in 2009 after he won a $30 million lotto jackpot. The 47-year-old Florida man was shot twice in the chest and then buried under a slab of concrete in a backyard, ABC News reported. DeeDee Moore, who authorities say befriended him after his lotto win, was found guilty of first degree murder in 2012. His brother, Robert Brown, told the BBC that Shakespeare always said he regretted winning the lottery. “‘I’d have been better off broke.’ He said that to me all the time,” Brown said.

Behaving Badly

Why all these bad results? A lot of it can be chalked up to bad behaviors with money…

It’s our behaviors that usually determine how things will turn out. If we have the correct behaviors our results will be good. If not, then the results will be less than optimal (a nice way of saying bad). When it comes to money, our natural inclination is to assume that those with money are “living the dream” and want to make sure everyone knows it. The big house on the corner?…a millionaire has to live there, right? Well, probably not. The reality is that many people who have achieved success in life would never be pegged as super-successful. The reason is because many successful people don’t live extravagantly or “show” their wealth. This is the exact opposite of what people would naturally assume.

Research To The Rescue

All of this became evident as a result of the work done by Thomas J. Stanley and William Danko, who released “The Millionaire next Door” on the world back in 1996. The book was the result of over 20 years or research into how the wealthy became wealthy. It wasn’t because of being born with a silver spoon in their mouth, advanced degrees from elite schools or receiving a big inheritance, as many people believed. It was because of specific behaviors, namely hard work, frugality and diligence in saving and planning.

The Millionaire Next Door

The Millionaire Mind

Since the release of the books, much more work has been done in the world of “behavioral finance” and the knowledge of how people relate to money (and as a result interact with it) has increased dramatically. Thomas Stanley’s daughter has taken that research and built a company that is focused on helping financial planners like myself work with clients to help them identify and understand how they relate to and behave with money.

The Keys

Six Key behaviors that help determine our ability to be successful with money, and as a result be successful with our financial plan:

  • Frugality
  • Confidence
  • Responsibility
  • Planning & Monitoring
  • Focus
  • Social Indifference

Assessing these behaviors and knowing where you fit on a scale for each is important. Here’s a link to a sample “Wealth Potential” assessment that you can take to get an idea of how you are “wired” when it comes to your wealth building potential. All financial planning clients will have access to the full-blown assessment that will give you a detailed review of where you stand.

The Fun Money Segment-Rebooking Saves Bucks

I love to save money on travel and one of the ways I do that is by “aggressively” rebooking my hotel and rental car reservations.

The strategy is to book your rental car and hotel well ahead of time to make sure you have a place to stay and transportation. Then, as you get closer to the trip (usually a week or two out) go back and re-visit what options are available. Oftentimes you will find lower rates.

I’ve used this tactic many times over the years and in most cases it works. My most recent business trip was to Austin, TX for an investment conference and I “saved” $75 on hotel and $65 on a rental car using the strategy.

Contact And Connect

If you would like to work with a financial planner to help you set and reach your financial goals while enjoying life along the way I would be honored to speak with you. Just send me an email and we can set a time to speak and see if my services might be a fit for your needs.

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