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The Wealthy Person in You

Penelope S. Tzougros, PhD, ChFC, CLU

Are you handling your money like the wealthy person you are going to be? Are you following the strategy of the wealthier you?

If not, let's tune into what that other you is saying. It is asking you to focus on your dreams. It has a lot of advice and doesn't want you to gag it with credit card receipts. Let's give a listen.

It is easy in the rush of events and the excitement of possibilities to overspend. That's understandable and it's part of how we experiment. But there are two dangers.

One is that overspending becomes a habit. We are all familiar with this one, whether or not it's our own problem. The ideal is to pay off the credit card in full each month, and for sure not to hold a balance more than three months. If this is a big challenge for you, keep reading. Remember you're trying to hear the voice of your wealthier self.

The second danger is that the automatic spending has nothing to do with you. Yes, you gave the merchant the cash or check, or credit card, but you did not buy what you should have bought. I don't mean it was the wrong size or color. I mean it doesn't reflect who you really are. This isn't about taste and aesthetics; it's about discovering who you are.

You may be hiding your special genius in the trends of today, in the mindless activity of the crowd. You are unique-- your fingerprints, your DNA, your thoughts prove that there is only one very special you. How you spend your money should reflect that unique person. When it does, we can say cash flow is character. The money flowing though your wallet is in harmony with your real self, and actualizes your self.

Here are three questions to shift the way you think about your money and check that your money is helping you be the best of you. These questions have helped people gain control over their money and move them toward their dreams.

Is there a difference between these statements?

  • I need a vacation
  • I need rent money
  • I need a newly released CD

Are these all needs? Or are we using the word "need" loosely? Are we agreed that the rent is a need and the music CD isn't? Is food a need, a want or a luxury? Okay, that's a need, but what about eating out? Where does that fit? Bottled water? A concert? A donation to charity? A vacation? A car?

  1. 1. Before you make any purchase ask the first of the questions for wealthy choices: "Is it a need, a want or a luxury?" You can define the categories, but be consistent once you do that. Would your friends agree with your definitions? If not, what does that tell you?
  2. 2. The second question for wealth choices is "How much of my life is this worth?" Suppose there's a really great looking outfit on sale for $120. If your take home pay is $12 an hour, that means it takes 10 hours of your life to pay for the outfit. Is it worth that? Whether you are working in the mailroom or the operating room, you have only 24 hours in the day. Time makes us all equal.

    Since we can't make more hours in the day, don't say, "Oh, but it was on sale." Ask instead whether it is worth that many hours of life. Work is a temporary agreement in which we exchange our talents, energy, creativity, etc. for a wage. We can improve our skills and ask to be paid more. But whatever we are paid, we should divide the hours worked into the pay. That hourly dollar amount is the gauge for our spending.

    Money is your stored up energy, talent, creativity, etc. So when you spend your money, you are giving away you. This definitely does not mean your human worth can be measured by your bank account, your income, or any other monetary measure. Your human worth is a treasure beyond calculation.
  3. 3. The third question is "If I spend this money which of my goals is it advancing? Where is it getting me?" Money spent on tuition can advance your career or help you retrain for work that you like better. Look at everything you spent money on in the last week, what did it do for you?

    Suppose the list included: toothpaste, fashion magazines, a mystery novel, a handbag, three lunches out, dinner and a movie. What do the expenditures say about who you are and where you are going in your life? Yes, it's your money; you earned it, but can you spend it without thinking about the wealthier person you want to become? Set goals for what you really want in your life and then spend money to advance you toward those goals.

Ask yourself these three questions and let the wealthy person you are becoming in control of your money.

* Adapted from the newly released audio program The Wealth You Want in the Time You Have, which can be purchased through

Dr. Tzougros is a registered representative offering securities and additional Investment Advisory Services through WS Griffith Securities, Inc. -- Member NASD/SIPC (781-893-0567)