Change Your Perception to be Closer to Financial Freedom

by David Ning · 14 comments

He told me he had a gun, but it turns out to be a friendly neighbor trying to do some good.

To say that perception is important just doesn’t do the term justice. It is the sole contributor to our decision to purchase, and the reason why some of us make more money than others. In essence, perception is one of the most crucial factors of personal finance, because it affects the two main avenues of accumulating more wealth – our ability to earn and our discipline to save.

Let me explain.

Saving is Spending in Reverse

You weren’t born wanting to buy my budget travel book, but through the glowing reviews on Amazon or through a recommendation from someone you know, your perception of the book changed. At some point, you realized that paying for it actually saves you money as long as you read and study the tips and tricks, and hence, you made the purchase. This is before you have seen the content. Buying is all about perceived value.

In order to save more and spend less, trying to curb your spending is hardly effective. Instead, see the value of being out of debt, and the value of delayed gratification. Think of the freedom of not having less monthly payments, while developing a love for a growing account balance. The only way to be successful in saving is to see a higher value of having that wealth instead of the stuff that you buy… and let me tell you a secret – you will be much happier because you aren’t trying to keep yourself from doing something you like.

Show Me the Money

Ever wonder why your coworker got a promotion instead of you even though you work harder than him? The reason is simple. He/she is perceived to be the best candidate for the job. No one can guarantee that it’s the right choice or not, as anyone being considered obviously haven’t been in that position before. If you want to earn more money, then start acting like you deserve better pay. Here are more little tips you can start doing immediately:

  • People You Are With – We all naturally gravitate towards people we see as equal but it doesn’t help our career at all. It’s a little unfortunate how this works actually, but start hanging out with coworkers at a level above you more often and people will magically give you more respect. As an experiment, if you befriend a department head, note how people within the department will start treating you.
  • Funny Is Not Always Good – Many young guys fall into this trap because it earned them many brownie points with the ladies at an early age. Injecting humor is always good but there’s a fine line between clever jokes and being goofy.
  • Hold Yourself Together – Learning to stay calm gives everyone the impression that you are a competent individual who knows what to do in every situation. I had dinner with a friend the other day after not seeing her for a couple years. She no longer appeared as a clueless girl and her transformation was incredible. She told me that little has changed, but she stopped herself from overreacting and sending out signals that she actually has no idea what you are talking about half the time.

Surprisingly, reality counts little, while perception is everything. Change the way people perceive you and how you perceive the world. It could mean big bucks.

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{ 14 comments… read them below or add one }

Jules @ Lovely Las Vegas September 30, 2009 at 7:12 am

Good concept of looking at the value of things and evaluating purchases. Wise spending goes hand-in-hand with saving. Especially if the things we purchase have continual value and/or will last a long time.

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Jason @ MyMoneyMinute September 30, 2009 at 8:32 am

“Saving is Spending in Reverse” — I understand the concept, but had never heard it put that way. I like it.

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Craig September 30, 2009 at 8:40 am

Agree, when I get my paycheck I automatically put a little into savings and retirement, in a sense it is spending, like you say in reverse. It’s a good mentality to keep.

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John September 30, 2009 at 10:00 am

I love the phrase “saving is spending in reverse” as well. Would refunds be considered neutral?

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Financial Samurai September 30, 2009 at 10:05 am

Hi David – Just curious to know how long you worked in “the corporate” world before you started blogging full time? Cheers

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MoneyNing September 30, 2009 at 10:24 am

I worked at various summer jobs when I was young and got a glimpse of the corporate world then, but full time probably 6-7 years or so. I’ve been in managerial positions as well as sales which helped me tremendously in putting everything in perspective.

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Financial Samurai September 30, 2009 at 12:14 pm

Cool, thnx for sharing. What was your “a-ha” moment that let you to stop working in the corporate world, and focus on blogging full time? Was there a certain monetary threshold involved? Maybe we can do an interview at some point.

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MoneyNing October 1, 2009 at 10:12 am

The moment was when I realized the potential of doing it full time and seeing how others were able to do it. It wasn’t so much a threshold but the fact that I was making enough money to support myself if I live frugally. My sales position being too demanding and the fact that I was no longer able to give my 100% to both my blog and my job was also a factor.

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Fred September 30, 2009 at 11:04 am

Another good piece David… Most people have it all wrong when they work on their spending. Instead, they should focus on saving and the spending will take care of itself.

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David@DINKSFinance September 30, 2009 at 6:28 pm

Good advice. To some it seems obvious but there are plenty of people who don’t realize the impact that perception has on so many aspects of life.

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samorchard October 1, 2009 at 3:17 am

That is some really good advice, I think my problem had always been that I enjoy the cheery side of work when you had a giggle but worked hard and I think it meant people thought I wasn’t professional. I was always good with clients and won business from my meetings but people don’t always see that. When I got passed over for promotion I decided that I would start and work from home.

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Thicken My Wallet October 1, 2009 at 5:49 am

You hit upon a good point on the job front. It is not that you preceive or your colleagues preceives you as competent, it is that your managers do. I have seen far too many “nice” people be laid off or downsized not because they were not good at what they did but management did not preceive them to be crucial to the organization.

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Wilson Pon October 1, 2009 at 10:22 pm

A small change will either make it good or worse, David. However, if we didn’t take the chance and changing our perception, then we’ll be the big loser for sure.

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contrastockhunter October 4, 2009 at 2:19 pm

Agreed perception really is reality. The same is so true when it comes to investing successfully (a quicker path to financial freedom in my book). Once I learned how to look at things the right way, which very few folks do, I learned there was so much more opportunities out there.

As for the politics of the workplace, i don’t think acting like you know what you are doing is enough. You’ve got to learn or simply say you don’t know. That’s fine and the people who work for you will respect you for it.

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