By Jon Acuff
The “lots myth” is one of the most popular myths in the history of money. And chances are you’ve heard it—or maybe even spread it yourself. Here is how it goes:
“If I had lots of money, of course I would have Financial Peace.”
“If I had lots of money, of course I could buy a car with cash.”
“If I had lots of money, of course I wouldn’t need my credit cards.”
“If I had lots of money, of course I could make wise decisions with money.”
The exact phrase may change, but the sentiment is always the same: If I had lots of money, things would be different.
But is that true? Is the secret of Financial Peace simply having lots of money? Is that a shortcut to good living? Is that the easiest, smartest way to find a sense of calm in your life when it comes to money?
I mean you had to see that coming, right? I called it a “myth” right off the bat, so the “no” really shouldn’t have come as a surprise. But why do I say the “lots myth” isn’t true? Why do I feel like it’s a work of fiction?
Because life is constantly proving it false.
Think about professional athletes. Many of them have struggled their entire lives financially. They’ve come from humble roots and are ecstatic to get their first professional sports contracts. They can make it rain money and have more than they could possibly ever need. So do they tend to make good financial decisions? Is that incredible income always a blessing? No way. In fact, Sports Illustrated® found that within two years of retirement, 78% of former NFL® players have gone bankrupt or are in financial distress due to joblessness or divorce.
Or just think about lottery winners. How often do you read an inspiring story about how a lottery gambler changed his broke way of life and set his family up for generations of wealth? Rarely. The truth is that 70% of lottery winners squander all their winnings within a few years.
You see, money doesn’t make us smarter; it just amplifies what we already are. If you’re a mess with a dollar, chances are you’ll be an even bigger mess with a million dollars. If you’re wise with a nickel, chances are you’ll be great with a thousand nickels. It’s like Dave says, “If you do broke people stuff, you’ll get broke. If you do rich people stuff, you’ll get rich.” Money isn’t really the key ingredient here; the difference-maker is your behavior.
If you want to know what your life would look like with millions of dollars, it’s easy. Just take a look at what your life looks like right now. Are you saving, or do you spend every dime you get your hands on? Do you pay cash for everything, or are you hooked on OPM (other people’s money)? Are you a generous giver, or do you keep all your money for yourself? Are you living broke, or are you living like the rich—the real rich?
The belief that more money alone will solve your money problems is a myth. If you believe it, if you get suckered by it, you’ll wait for your “lots of money” to show up before you start working toward financial peace.
Don’t do that. You’ve already got what you need to get moving. So get moving.
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Jon Acuff is the founder of stuffchristianslike.net and the author of the book Stuff Christians Like. His insight into everything from church, to advertising, to money, to life is as funny as it is true. In the last 12 years, he’s written branding for companies such as The Home Depot, Chick-fil-A, Staples, Bose and many others. He’s a contributor to CNN.com , speaks nationally on the subject of social media, and joined the Dave Ramsey team in 2010. He lives with his wife and two daughters in Nashville, Tennessee.
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