22 Useless Myths That Can Cost You Money

“Money is like a sixth sense – and you can’t make use of the other five without it.”

– William Somerset Maugham

Make more moneyAs you grow, you keep developing many misconceptions about money. These are the barriers in your mind, which hinder your financial growth and success. These money biases limit your ability to achieve prosperity and abundance. They become an excuse for your inaction or failure.

So, in order to truly align your mind to wealth creation, you must debunk these negative myths. Here are the most common and most destructive ones:

Myth #1: “Money is the root of all evil.”

I think a much more accurate statement is that the lack of money is the root of all evil. People have to address their primary needs to live, and the more basic they are, the easier the leap is to give in on their values and break the law. Is money dirty? From a certain perspective, sure. And if you limit your view to that perspective, that’s what you’ll see, that’s the reality you’ll create for yourself. But money can also be plentiful, abundant, it can be about freedom, choice, empowerment, value and goodness.

Myth #2: “If my parents were rich, I would have made it.”

Most super rich are from poor families and some from average families. But even those from rich families had to create their own personal wealth. Everyone has the potential to make a shift in their relationship towards money.

Myth #3: “Rich people are greedy.”

Aside from the fact that this is a broad generalization, it’s also not really true. The simple truth is that it’s terribly difficult to make money if you’re not generous. It’s just that the scummy rich are more played up in the media because it sells newspapers. And here is one principle you could live by: you can’t help the poor if you are yourself poor.

Myth #4: “Money isn’t important.”

There’s a significant difference between focusing on money and neglecting the rest of your life and the things you value. Unfortunately, this bias seems to equate focusing on money with neglecting other valuable things, when this is never true. If your interpretation of this myth leads you to neglect your financial health, sooner or later your poor financial health will become a problem. Money is like a friend – if you don’t treat it right, it’ll go away.

Myth #5: “If only government, my employers, family, or spouse helped me, I would have made loads of money.”

Anybody can run out of your life. You could be fired, government can dump you, your spouse might divorce you, and your family and friends could desert you. The only one person responsible for the quality of the life you live is you.

Myth #6: “Money can’t buy happiness and money won’t make you happy.”

In fact, very rich people rate substantially higher in satisfaction with life than very poor people do, even within wealthy nations. “There is overwhelming evidence that money buys happiness,” said economist Andrew Oswald of the University of Warwick in England.

Myth #7: “If I were rich, my friends would resent me.”

Business is business, even between pals. Friends who resent their friends’ success aren’t friends, straight up. Friends who block friends’ attempts to succeed financially are called enemies in places where diplomacy isn’t all that important. If you hold yourself back from success in order to “be accepted by your friends”, you’re doing nobody any favors. You’re letting them down, and worse, you’re failing yourself by not trying to succeed.

Myth #8: “If the economy was better, I’d be wealthy.”

In any community, State, or country, there are millionaires. And there’s more than one way to build wealth, the key is to understand that there’s always an investment that’s good right now. There is money everywhere.

Myth #9: “You need a scam to get rich.”

Moneymaking opportunities worldwide are more available today than ever before. But if you honestly believe that the only way to make money is in unethical behavior, you will not look for ways to make money, it’s as simple as that. Your mind is closed. Opportunities for business exist, they’re out there everywhere, but in your mind you “know” that none of them is right for you.

Myth #10: “If I really try to become rich and fail, I’ll be crushed.”

The unspoken part of this personal bias is that we’d rather never experience failure than expose ourselves to the remotest chance of success. If you never try to become rich, you’ll never become rich and the result will be exactly the same as if you’d tried and failed, with one exception. When you try, you give yourself a chance. If you don’t, you’ve guaranteed yourself failure.

Myth #11: “You need a break to become wealthy.”

Wealth is not an accident, it’s a function of your actions in your financial world – and your actions are directly shaped by your thoughts, feelings, and beliefs around money, value, and business. In fact the super rich weren’t lucky, they only prepared for luck. Opportunities and luck are created not waited for.

Myth #12: “I’ll save money when I have enough.”

Any amount of money you save, no matter how small, is enough to save. The habit, not the amount, is the key here. If you’re in the habit, managing and saving money won’t feel like work. Like any good habit, learning to save a little money every day can add up to big benefits in the long run.

Myth #13: “If I had large sum of money, I would have started saving and investing early.”

Little drop of water makes a mighty ocean. Start with the little you have. If you are waiting for a large amount, you will never make it. And the best time to start saving and investing is today. Start small, with just even $10 a paycheck or a little bit of money from a bonus or gift. If you get paid twice a month, then by saving $10 from each paycheck you’ll have saved $240 by the end of the year.

Myth #14: “Having a good job leads to wealth.”

A job should be only a temporary source of income. A permanent one requires that you make your money work for you. So whatever you do, be in business for yourself and apply your money industriously. You are always the CEO of your endeavors. Make some wise financial “first moves” today so you can look forward to the future with great confidence!

Myth #15: “Money corrupts people.”

Having a lot of money or having very little money doesn’t relate to what kind of values a person has. But, money has the power to take those values from within and out into the daylight. It has the power to reveal a person’s true nature and intentions once the bets are getting higher.

Myth #16: “If I didn’t have family or social responsibilities, I would have made millions.”

It is not all about your responsibilities, but how you frugally manage them. You have to be frugal with your money and spend on the most important stuffs.

Myth #17: “It’s better to give than to receive.”

Giving is a good thing, something I enjoy quite a bit, but there’s nothing wrong with receiving either. To say that one is better than the other is simply creating an imbalanced perspective. If you’re uncomfortable about receiving things, you’ll find ways not to – whether it’s gifts, income, anything. So an important skill to have, if you want to become wealthy, is in being able to receive as gracefully as you give.

Myth #18: “Money doesn’t grow on trees.”

We all heard this from our parents when we wanted something and they decided that it was an inappropriate use for their money. We might even hear it coming out of our own mouths when we feel that we don’t have enough money to get something we want. You’re listening to the voice of defeat, telling you that something is impossible. Stop it!

Myth #19: “Rich people don’t care about the poor.”

How, precisely, would someone demonstrate care? By opening one’s checkbook and paying them? There are problems that money just can’t solve, and although it may be difficult to swallow, being poor is one of them. People who are financially strapped are that way for a reason, and giving them money will never touch that reason – all it will do is enable them to avoid solving the problem that’s making them poor.

Myth #20: “I have to work very hard to become rich.”

So many hard working people are poor. The rich don’t work hard; they work very smart and they know how to handle money. It’s up to you how financially literate and intelligent you want to become. People knew the very basic laws of how to handle money as far back as 4000 to 6000 years ago and they are just as valid today.

Myth #21: “It takes money to make money.”

It takes money, no matter how small, to seize opportunities. If you believe that you can’t afford it, it will become true because you’ll never try to get it. It’s really that simple, and this myth puts you on the back foot.

Myth #22: “I’m a loser and a failure because I’m in such terrible financial trouble. My situation is hopeless.”

No, it’s not. Look at others. They made it out without bankruptcy. They grabbed every opportunity they could find. They even repaid a six-figure debt and survived to tell about it. There’s a way out for you, too. And if you will supply the commitment and determination, I promise you the inspiration, motivation, tools and information you need to take back control of your finances and turn your money life around.

When you think about it, you are the result of your beliefs and attitudes, and the life you’ve created is a reflection of how you act on your thoughts, beliefs, and attitudes. A lot of people are poor because of myths or wrong assumptions about money. And for you to become rich, you have to know the realities and the myths of money making.

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  • rob says:

    Myth 1 is a common misquote – Its actually a line from the bible which states “For the love of money is the root of all evil”. Subtle but i think significant difference – having money is not evil in fact as you say it provides your freedom etc, it’s your attitude to it and what you are willing to do to get it which can lead to problems.

  • Tim says:

    This is one of the best posts I’ve read at the Ririan Project. It touches what people don’t want to talk about, but by logic is as true as it can get. Thanks, and keep it up!

  • Nirah says:

    Thank you for posting this up.
    People don’t understand my sense of living quite of a frugal life.
    And since i’m surrounded by these kind of people almost all of the time, it’s hard not to lose sight of why you are the way you are – the belief.

    This entry reminds me of my purpose all over again. Thank you.
    I’ll share this with family and friends. *hugs*

  • Racovitsa says:

    Earning money is really a hard thing, so it’s important for everybody not to dispair or give up hopeing, and try again and again each time you fail!

  • excellent points.

    If you quit whining, keep an open mind and look for money making opportunities instead of watching TV and drinking beer with your other poor friends, you can build wealth.

    Thats why I put together a website on wealth building lessons. You can learn to become wealthy, even you don’t have a lot of money to start out with.

  • viji says:

    The myths are quite interesting and your explanation is very nice. Viji

  • WOW that was one great list. I am passionate about become more conscious and self-aware and helping others do so also. Your list is super because if a person took time to explore each myth in their lives they would gain a boat load of insight. Thanks for the gift of insight you have given. I write about consciousness, personal freedom and peace because that is my mission. Check me out at http://www.explorelifeblog.com. Thanks for being you, Joseph

  • Coury says:

    Very interesting post. Most of these are opinions and not “the truth” as someone had stated earlier. I agree, for someone wanting a successful lifestyle in the capitalist America, and doesn’t see a problem with embracing materialism, viewing these as “myths” would be beneficial. Number #6 is one I found very interesting, and have to disagree with, I have seen many unhappy rich people, and many unhappy mid-wealth/poor people, its not whether you have money or not which determines your happiness, it’s your outlook, it’s your decisions (or perhaps lack of), there’s and interesting segment about “Synthetic Happiness” on the TED talks videos. Many happy Buddhist who live a ‘successful’ lifestyle would also have to disagree with you.

  • Me says:

    Myth #6 has always been a pet peeve of mine. Money, the holding of the paper, can’t do anything for you in that single sense, but there’s a huge amount of happiness that comes with having money, and the security that money brings… Not worrying about a roof over your head, or feeding your family, or being able to take your kids to the doctor when they’re feeling ill are a few examples.

    So money may not bring happiness, but I’m sure as hell alot happier having it, and the security and peace of mind that comes with it.

    Great blog by the way!

  • Manny says:

    A beautiful article which says so much about our beliefs regarding money. I believe that saving money is one of the Master Skills, because, if you can save money, it means you probably have discipline, long time perspective, ability to delay gratification, and the ability to abstract from “things” to more rarified concepts (investments, returns, compounding, etc). But doing the actual saving can help develop all those habits of mind; we don’t need to wait until the habits are in place to strat saving money.

  • Tabs says:

    Great list very enlightening, I have a few favorites but I especially appreciate myth #6, money may not buy happiness but the peace of mind it provides is a really valuable commodity.

    Cheers Tabs

  • Kwitcherbitchin!!!!

    good post.

  • Sean says:

    Excellent post! Unfortunately, far too many people embrace these myths as truth. To the anti-capitalist Coury—you really did miss the point, didn’t you? Re-read myth #3. Wealth does not equal materialism…unless you call giving all your money to charities materialistic. You can’t help anybody unless you have the means to do so. Many of the humanitarian organizations in this great country exist and operate solely on private donations from wealthy people.

  • J.C. says:


  • Jill Draper says:

    “There are problems that money just can’t solve, and although it may be difficult to swallow, being poor is one of them. People who are financially strapped are that way for a reason, and giving them money will never touch that reason – all it will do is enable them to avoid solving the problem that’s making them poor.”

    Giving people money never solves the problem that makes people poor? I’m sorry, and know I love your site, but I’m shocked to see this kind of generalization so cruelly applied to a broad (and growing) swath of our country.

    When manufacturing jobs leave, they take everything away but the people left trying to struggle to get ahead. Illness, and medical bills, a job loss, a sick child, an ailing parent–all of these things are mitigating factors.

    There is no inherent sin in poverty, anymore than exists in other stratas of society. The logic used above could make the case that “people who have amassed more money than they could spend in several incarnations are craven, amoral, manipulative war criminals and profiteers–how will they solve their problem of being so rich they don’t have to care about the rest of humanity unless we take their money away from them?”

    Now while this may be a solid argument for a subset of this demographic, its patently unfair to extend the logic that works so well with neo-cons to the wider population of wealthy people.

    Remember when Hugh Grant hooker embarrassment several years back? I recently read an interview with that same woman, and she thanked Hugh Grant for inadvertently putting her children through private schools in good neighborhoods, and for turning a prison of hopelessness into a solid, secure and prosperous life.

    Money got thrown, things got done. Just because there were inherent flaws in the Great Society doesn’t mean that providing a net for the least among us isn’t a valuable, important thing to do. The superiority we might feel for our own success is likely more vulnerable than we ourselves feel.

  • ??? says:

    A couple of things:
    1. Never wish for wealth, especially when you live in generally poor areas. If worst comes to worst, the poor will all end up in tents and the rich will get richer. Unfortunately for the rich, the poor have rebelled against them, and money doesn’t make good barricades.
    2. Money really doesn’t come from trees, it comes from cotton. Therefore, all we must do to get wealthy is own a cotton plantation.

  • Steve Y says:

    Yes, these myths are the tenants from the Church of the Mighty Dollar. While the article has some wisdom as far as financial discipline, saving for a rainy day, etc. it misses on several cylinders. Yes, money in our society equates to security and a necessity to some extent. However, the question that often is missed is ‘How much is enough?” and “What misery are you willing to experience to get enough?” in a goal oriented society, I think that people tend to focus entirely too much on the goal of ‘financial security’ and miss out on the grand trip of life.

    Some of the poorest people in the US would be considered wealthy in other unfortunate countries. The lifestyle of the average American in many ways exceeds that of the wealthiest people who lived a century ago. Instead of celebrating these wonderful facts, we tend to compare ourselves to the Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous. Longing for more. The Church of the Mighty Dollar creates expectations that are way too high, which results in an unhealthy lust for money, and fear of loss. All this can get in the way of enjoying the moment and the other things that have great value around us, like our relationships with family, friends, and community.

    I think that it is more correct to say that ‘Money can buy some happiness, the rest is up to you.’

  • bernard says:

    I always knew some of these things but never really took interest. Now I know what to do

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