One of the first finance books I read and loved was Secrets of the Millionaire Mind by T. Harv Eker.
In Secrets of the Millionaire Mind, Eker talks about the “money blueprint” and how it affects your financial behavior.
So, what is a money blueprint?
Your money blueprint, according to Eker, “consists primarily of the information or ‘programming’ you received in the past, and especially as a young child.”
However you were taught to think about money growing up formed how you think about money in your adult life (this could be through verbal communication, modeling, or specific incidents).
Your money blueprint is either positive of negative. It may be setup for success and wealth or it may be setup for failure and struggle. The good news is that you can identify and change your money blueprint.
Examples of a money blueprint
Throughout the book, Eker describes examples that form your money blueprint from verbal, model, and specific incident conditioning. Use the examples below to help you identify whether you a have positive or negative blueprint.
- People who said to you, “Money is the root of all evil” (verbal).
- People who said to you, “The rich get richer and the poor get poorer” (verbal).
- People who said to you, “Money doesn’t grow on trees” (verbal).
- Growing up in a home where your parents mismanaged their money (model).
- Witnessing a family member go through bankruptcy (specific incident).
- People who said to you, “You can achieve anything you want to” (verbal).
- People who said to you, “You can be rich and happy” (verbal).
- People who said to you, “Save your money and don’t spend it” (verbal).
- Growing up in a home where your parents were savers and financially independent (model).
- Witenessing a successful self-made family business (specific incident).
Whether these exact things happened to you or whether you experienced something different, all of the verbal conditioning, modeling, and specific money incidents that you grew up with form your unique money blueprint.
Identifying your personal money blueprint
Knowing is always half the battle. Once you know what your money blueprint looks like, you can decide whether it’s positive or negative. If it’s negative, you can change it. But you can’t do any of this unless you know what your money blueprint looks like.
Think about your childhood and what money was like growing up. Here are some questions to get you started:
- What did your parents say about money when you were growing up?
- Were your parents stressed about money?
- Were your parents good savers or were they spenders?
- Did your parents agree on finances or did they argue?
- Were there other people in your life growing up who influenced your view about money besides your parents? How have they added to your blueprint?
- What incidents can you remember happening growing up that affected money in your household?
- How do you feel about money?
- Are you a spender or a saver? Why do you think that is?
- What motivates you to make money (is it fear / anger or is it happiness / freedom)?
Changing your personal money blueprint
If you have a successful, supportive money blueprint, then that is awesome. For everyone else, do not worry – you can change your money blueprint.
To change your money blueprint, you need to change how you think about money. It’s not enough to force yourself to do certain things (e.g. forcing yourself to save an extra $100). Without really changing how you think about money, you won’t have a vision that promotes a successful money blueprint, and you’ll fall short (spending that extra $100 before you know it).
How to change your money blueprint:
- Determine what you want financially. This includes identifying and creating attitudes regarding money and specific things you want with your money. Set a money vision and money goals that correspond with that vision. Decide what you want to live by when it comes to money (and set financial goals).
- Create “money sayings” that are supportive and promote success. Example: declare that you are capable of reaching your financial goals. Eker includes a ton of money sayings in his book that are meant to help change how you think about money.
- Implement money habits that promote your success. Example: pay yourself first every paycheck (as if savings and retirement were included in your other bills). While saving an extra $100 here and there might seem helpful to your money situation, the habit of saving every time you’re paid is better. Any time you can get yourself in the habit of doing something (such as saving), you’re more likely to keep doing it in the future.
- Get a money role model. It’s a known saying that you become the average of the five people with whom you spend the most time. I love this life hack because it really works. If you start hanging around people who manage their money well, you’ll soon be managing your money well, too (we’re chameleons). So, if you want to change your money blueprint, get a money role model who you want to be like. You’ll learn from her in a way that is different than reading or researching.
- Read! Read the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, and finance books that will help you change the way you think about money. Reading has changed my money blueprint tremendously. My favorite finance books are on my resources page.
- Continue to be aware of how your family affects your money blueprint. Example: Do you constantly hear people saying negative things about rich people as an adult? If so, get on track with your family so you all can live by a supportive, successful money blueprint.
A final note!
Your money blueprint is your mindset and how you think about money. Without a positive, supportive, successful money mindset, you cannot achieve great financial success. Eker gives the example of lottery winners who are notorious for losing their winnings because they received money without having the right mindset. Alternatively, people like Donald Trump can make millions, then billions, then lose it all, then make it all back. The point is that having the right money blueprint is more important that having the money.