Abundance Mindset

How have you all cultivated an abundance mindset? I don't necessarily mean just as it applies to money with respect to quantity, but I also mean in totality across all aspects of life?

I struggle with this BIG time. My parents were very poor immigrants to the U.S. and we struggled for many years living in a lot of scarcity. My parents were even worse before coming here. But over many years the family businesses have grown quite large and netting a few seven figures a year. Yet, my parents never changed. Everything they do is still drenched in scarcity and essentially a poverty mindset. 

I grew up with this and didn't realize how bad it was until I got older and it affects me to this day. It's hard for me to spend any amount of good money without feeling guilty. I also don't like how I think about "larger" numbers such as dropping six figures on a watch, trip, etc. It's gut wrenching and I know it shouldn't be.

Perhaps this warrants a trip to a psychologist but I'm curious to hear if any of you have dealt with this.

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Comments (38)

Funniest
Aug 30, 2021 - 7:57pm

psychiatrist not psychologist 

"If you always put limits on everything you do, physical or anything else, it will spread into your work and into your life. There are no limits. There are only plateaus, and you must not stay there, you must go beyond them." - Bruce Lee

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Aug 31, 2021 - 12:29pm

This is a pretty common phase for people that have been in your situation, and I basically went through the same thing. What helped me might not help you, but I will give it a try. My mindset was to make my parents proud throughout my whole life, it was the prime motivator, and by doing so it made every small achievement feel amazing. You need to think about how your larger salary is a way of extending your family tree into newer and better ideals. Appreciation and building up your base in life can make you feel better as a person, as well as giving back to your family and setting up towards the future. Having an abundance is a blessing for all of us, so just think about all of your hard work and how your family helped you achieve your goals OP, in order to achieve that abundance mindset. Hope this helps!

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Aug 31, 2021 - 1:57pm

You shouldn't feel guilty spending money. You worked hard to get where you are and money would have no value if it could not be spent on desired goods. Doesn't mean you have to do excessive spending like going to the clubs and spending bottle service. But having a nice watch, suit, house, car, etc. these are all reasonable and necessary purchases that have a long lifespan and will make you feel proud. You can still be rich and also be conscientious about money. I heard lebron doesn't like to use cellular service for example and always likes to connect to WiFi, but he obviously lives lavishly and has many mansions etc. 

Aug 31, 2021 - 2:45pm

I heard lebron doesn't like to use cellular service for example and always likes to connect to WiFi

me neither 

I'm from Europe 

Most Helpful
Aug 31, 2021 - 2:46pm

allow me to take a controversial viewpoint, your scarcity mindset is precisely why your family has done as well as they have and you should not work to change that. sure, you shouldn't feel bad about spending money in general, but if an expensive watch, house, car, etc., isn't something you want, then fuck it, don't buy it. too many people get in lifestyle traps where they measure their success in what's on their wrist, in their driveway, etc., and the moment they experience any volatility in life these act like anchors on a sinking ship. fuck that, be antifragile, be mobile. have a savings rate of 50%+ and set aside money for things that matter to YOU, it's infinitely easier to drop some dough on something you've already budgeted for especially when your other goals are taken care of. another trick you can try is see if it's the amount or the recipient that's giving you pause. like do you feel a gut wrenching reaction giving say $10k to charity? if not, then it's not the dollars that bug you, it's the purchase, so eschew what others may think about you and spend your money the way you want. fuck the world, most people don't have their own business much less a successful business that wasn't built by MBA networks and the bid/ask spread.

Aug 31, 2021 - 3:10pm

Always great hearing from you brofessor! I do understand what you're saying and in no way do I wish to adopt an abundance mindset for the sake of spending mercilessly with no conscience. No do I care what others think of me so if at any point in time I purchase something expensive, I'm doing it for ME, not to show off or get validation from others so that isn't an issue. But my parents take it to the extreme: they'll spend an extra 10-15 mins and drive blocks to find the cheapest gas, they complain about the price of stuff constantly, even before all this money printing driving up prices, 

Despite being a horrible time to save money, I'm saving/investing 80%+ of the money I make. I just don't like the feeling I get when I spend a lot of money on something and I feel I have to work my ass off again to regenerate said money that was spent. I think I also want to reframe what I feel is "a lot of money" as I think that would free my mindset a bit if that makes sense. 

I like what you said about the recipient of the money potentially being an issue, that is definitely food for thought.

Aug 31, 2021 - 3:41pm

define "a lot of money" and that could help me

and yes, if your parents are extreme to that end (depression era babies are the same), it will be uncomfortable to act differently, but so long as you assure them that you are taking care of your future, that will wane with time. my wife comes from an immigrant family and they still have this mindset to some extent so we get eyebrows from time to time when we do things that are completely reasonable given our income (and accounting for the fact I save a large % of my income), but may come off as wasteful to them.

finally, your comment about spending money and then building that back, stop that right the fuck now. have your baseline of cash set and only worry about "rebuilding" if it dips below that. for example, say your emergency fund is $100k but your cash accounts are sitting at $200k right now. you may be making the mistake of thinking $200k is the new base, it's not, there's 100k for emergencies and another 100k looking for a home that hasn't been identified yet. if you stop moving the goalpost you will stop feeling bad about spending. what you're describing is a common trap I've seen, you get accustomed to a lot of cash and frame wherever you are as the new "minimum" to help you sleep well at night. a technique could be separating out your accounts. have your $100k in one account and have excess automatically transferred out to your slush fund which you should NOT be shy about depleting to $0, if it goes to $0, then that just means you chill out for a bit. if that gets large, maybe fly first class to a villa in cartagena and get fed vino blanco and seafood for a week or two while you recharge the batteries

Aug 31, 2021 - 10:58pm

Ok man like first. You probs won't blow it entirely overnight if you are really scared of this set a limit on your card. Why accumulate and save when you can't spend? Tell your parents to enjoy what they have. No one can take it to the after life (no offence). I have this mindset too and it is nice to sometimes treat yourself. I grew up in a war torn country and came back up with it. We have a 6 generation business. I don't use my family money but I am working in a completely different part of the world and not going to rely on nepotism neither blow it over on one night. Just trust your guts man. Feel free to pm me if you need some bro prep talk

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Sep 1, 2021 - 2:19am

Having grown up incredibly frugally I feel where you're coming from. I was on the extreme end - would service my own cars (cars were a hobby), buy tech second hand, etc. It came to the point where sometimes I couldn't enjoy some things because I felt guilty about whether it was a waste of money. I echo what thebrofessor stated.

I had to learn to enjoy spending money on things that were meaningful. I set my budget quotas (50% of income to long term investment, x% bills, x% medium term savings (larger ticket items), x% shorter term entertainment/fun (nice restaurants/weekend trips/etc)). A key for me was putting these in different accounts so their balance was clear. Specifically, I cannot view my investment account. I also have an emergency account with 12 months of expenses I cannot view. Now, I am more than happy to see the short/medium term accounts go toward 0, especially if I just did a large trip. I just make sure I chill out for a bit afterwards. When I first started, I actually made it a goal to spend my short term spending account by the end of each paycheck. It was tough at first, but then I shifted from the mindset of "am I wasting the money" to "what will bring me the most enjoyment now".

Don't get me wrong, this doesn't mean I waste money, I'm thoughtful pre-purchase, but accept the outcome once I make the decision. I recently bought a classic and I waited for a nice example to come up which was perfect for me, but you have to work out how much time and stress is really worth deciding whether or not to buy the guitar or '67 Impala. If you're anything like me, you'll probably have those things for a long time, get a lot of enjoyment out of them, and in the end they might not even lose much value (but remember, you're consuming these, don't justify a purchase saying it's an investment). As for holidays / submarine expeditions / etc., I just work out what experience would bring us the most pleasure now. If you think that is a submarine expedition, go for it and don't look back.

I will say, the whole "letting go" has been really good for my mental health. In a scarcity mindset every action would make me think of costs associated and how this means I couldn't have nicer things later in life if I invested this and it compounded or how much time at work this action was worth. If this is you, stop. It's hard, but try setting yourself spending targets, don't check your accounts so frequently, and when you do buy something (particularly if a larger ticket item), you can debate if it is worth it beforehand, but once you make a purchasing decision then acknowledge that that was the best use of your time and money, you made the decision based on your information available at the time, and now you'll enjoy whatever it is. I found this particularly useful to minimize the regret I felt post-purchases. If I did try a new restaurant and it was shit, instead of thinking it wasn't worth it, I now am content in the knowledge when I made the decision it was the best course of action and don't feel guilty.

Long post but good luck man

Sep 1, 2021 - 2:07pm

I appreciate both the length and content of this, thanks man. Lots of great nuggets of actionable wisdom. I'm going to start segregating my accounts; I think just having my mind see that would make a huge difference.

Scarcity mindset definitely is a huge burden on the mind. I have moments of "letting go" as you have mentioned and it's those moments when you realize how much weight is on your mind when you're obsessing over price, spending, etc. 

Sep 1, 2021 - 1:20pm

Lmao I second this too. The most expensive destinations in the world I been to (hehe on corporate card) doesn't even require me to blow 6 figures. Just don't use the stupid services like pReSiDenTiaL suITe. Those things are cool but they are the same shit with more towels and furniture in a bigger room. Some hotels rooms are already nice enough. Presidential suites are only for meetings guess and shit and they can cost upward of 2k a night. Watches are cool but once you hit the 6 fig ball park. High chance it is a rare collectible watch and can definitely resell. You can definitely go skiing in the Alps for budget of 2k. I did it with my friends when we were in school hehe, snuck out of the dorm and got a flight and returned on Sunday afternoon. You can also get a hotel for like $500 and it is already really nice.

Sep 1, 2021 - 2:13pm

I personally wouldn't spend 6 figs on a watch, that was just an example. The sub trip is a once in a lifetime experience to a certain shipwreck that I would gladly pay $150k as it's something I've been wanting to do since I was 5 and won't do ever again.

I'm pretty extreme with regards to experiences as I spent the entirety of my 20s buried in books and work. I'm finally getting to a point where I can let loose a bit and spend and I think life really is short and most people spend it doing nothing. And I'm fine spending with moderation too; I think the $150k trip made me out to be either someone who doesn't spend at all or spends recklessly and I'm neither of those. I'm perfectly content with spending several hundred to a few thousand on a nice trip. 

Sep 1, 2021 - 4:43pm

I'll try to keep this short since everyone who has already commented has said things I would echo pretty much. I would not think of this as a bad thing necessarily; in terms of financial responsibility, it's certainly a good thing. As a third-generation of working class immigrants, I can definitely relate a bit to this. My grandparents came to this country with nothing and worked hard to give their kids, and eventually grandkids, a better, more comfortable life. This is what motivates me to work hard and improve my financial standing, day in and day out. To make them proud and show them that it was worth it, even though they are no longer with me. So when it comes to spending, I try to maintain their financial discipline and general shunning of superfluous purchases, but when there is something I really want, I buy it and think of it as fulfilling their dream for me to be able to live a good life and enjoy the fruits of all of our labor. Best of luck to you and yours.

Sep 2, 2021 - 11:25am

A reversion to an abundancy mindset is why families go broke 2-3 generations after wealth has been established. Unless you have like 50mm+ a 150k submarine trip sounds like a complete waste. I think its very healthy to have your mindset and you should be grateful for it. Its not something I'd focus on getting rid of and pray you instill it on to your children as well. 

Sep 2, 2021 - 12:51pm

I understand what you're saying. Perhaps there is a balance between abundance and scarcity. My parents take it to the extreme, however. They're worth over $50M yet I've seen my dad picking through a Tupperware of moldy fruit just to get to the bottom pieces that weren't covered in white fuzz. If that's what it takes to maintain generational wealth, I'm not sure if that's something I want to take part in.

The sub trip is a once in a lifetime thing that I would regret if I didn't go on. I haven't committed to it and most likely won't for at least another year and I couldn't imagine spending that much on any sort of trip, ever. 

Sep 2, 2021 - 1:09pm

If you're stacked 50mm+ let it rip. I personally believe its important to stay grounded in the value of money, regardless of how much one has. So you shouldn't feel guilty to so speak about spending money but want to be aware when you're doing if its a lot of money. What you don't want to happen is to gradually become flippant about it. There is a lot of scope creep that is good to avoid. Realizing that luxuries are in fact luxuries and not essentials, even if you indulge is important to staying grounded. I have friends that have made serious money that grew up modest and now listening to their "what's needed" makes me laugh (for example, stuff like "between nannies and childcare you gotta budget 100k a year for kids", lol, sure if you got it but that's not "needed").  

Sep 3, 2021 - 12:32pm

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Sep 4, 2021 - 8:25am

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