The Fear of Money Is the Biggest Obstacle to Wealth

This article is an excerpt from the Shortform book guide to "Rich Dad's Cashflow Quadrant" by Robert T. Kiyosaki. Shortform has the world's best summaries and analyses of books you should be reading.

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Does thinking of and handling money make you nervous? Why do people fear money, fear spending it, or fear not having enough?

The fear of money haunts many people. After all, money is core to survival, impacts virtually every part of our lives, and is the difference between freedom and freefall. So, the fear of money makes sense. But if you want to change your financial situation, you need to overcome your fear of money and develop a healthy relationship with it.

Here is how the fear of money impairs your financial progress.

Get Over Your Fear of Money

Before you can make any change to your financial situation, Kiyosaki emphasizes that you need to have a healthy relationship with money. Kiyosaki says fear of money—fear that you don’t understand it, fear that you won’t have enough, fear of taking financial risks, or a thousand other worries related to money—makes sense.

But Kiyosaki says the fear of money impairs our journey in two ways: 

  1. Fear of money can cause us not to act at all. Kiyosaki says this is a particular issue for people transitioning from the E and S, who are used to the academic method of gathering as much information as possible before making a decision. This doesn’t work in the B and I categories, Kiyosaki says, because learning by doing is so important. 
  2. Fear of money causes us to make decisions based on emotion, not logic. Emotion-based decisions are rarely the best, or even good, financial decisions. 

Strategies for Overcoming Your Fear of Money

In Your Money or Your Life, Vicki Robin agrees that a core part of financial freedom is freedom from fear and worry about money. She argues that by consciously connecting money to your values, purpose, and dreams, you can diffuse some of your financial anxiety.

Sethi offers three ways to overcome financial anxiety:

  • Trust your own judgment. Not every financial risk or spending decision is a slippery slope to financial ruin. 
  • Know you can earn your money back. Instead of thinking of your money as a stockpile you can’t dip into, remember that you often need to spend money to earn money, and that you should be spending some of your money on things you enjoy. 
  • Don’t be over-afraid of wasting money. Not every decision you make will be the most economical, and not everything you spend money on will be worth it. While you need to be conscious of waste, if you’re living a full and curious life and taking appropriate risks with money, you will have to waste some money in the process. 
The Fear of Money Is the Biggest Obstacle to Wealth

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  • Why the traditional path of college to career doesn't work
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  • An in-depth look at Robert Kiyosaki's four cashflow quadrants

Darya Sinusoid

Darya’s love for reading started with fantasy novels (The LOTR trilogy is still her all-time-favorite). Growing up, however, she found herself transitioning to non-fiction, psychological, and self-help books. She has a degree in Psychology and a deep passion for the subject. She likes reading research-informed books that distill the workings of the human brain/mind/consciousness and thinking of ways to apply the insights to her own life. Some of her favorites include Thinking, Fast and Slow, How We Decide, and The Wisdom of the Enneagram.

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