In this three part series we will explore what a poverty mindset looks like, what God’s biblical principles and requirements are and how we can be good stewards of what He has given us.

What Is a Poverty Mindset

A poverty mindset is a belief system about money and wealth that negatively impacts or limits your relationship with it and what you are able to do with it.

Often our negative mindsets or belief systems around money are developed through our upbringing and our culture. We may grow up with parents who repeatedly demonstrated over-caution in their spending, or were very ‘class’ conscious about their place in society.  These mindsets may also come about because of one negative experience that you then apply to every circumstance around money.

Having a poverty mindset is not the same as being a wise spender, or putting savings aside, or making informed financial decisions.  Some people are naturally more generous than others, and some better savers than others.  We all have a ‘money’ personality. Having this mindset means that your reactions, opinions, and decisions are emotionally swayed by an ‘inner voice’ that is not necessarily the truth.

The following are some of the ways in which a poverty mindset or belief may affect you.

– See yourself as poor; ‘it’s not right to be rich’.

– Have a ‘make do’ attitude and mindset

– Think ‘I’m not good enough to be wealthy’

– Keep you thinking about what you don’t have

– Make you envious and jealous of those that do have

– Fill you with fear that you may never have enough, go hungry, lose your home, lose your job, lose your business, run out of money etc.

– Cause you to ‘penny pinch’ or believe you ‘can’t afford that’

– Become obsessive about having money, things or ‘succeeding’

– Makes you feel like a failure if you are not ‘keeping up with the Joneses’

– Creates a value system and belief system in you that limits your ability to take even calculated risks, to accept financial help or to seek it and much more.

– Stops you from being generous to others

– A mindset that money will fix your marriage, your children, etc

– Lead you to addictions such as gambling and crime

– Will bring division into your marriage through arguments over money management, financial goals, different money values and personalities.

– Can cause you to love money and use people in your pursuit of it

– Cause you to have an unrighteous sense of your personal power

– Cause you to keep confessing your lack

– Cause you to feel that you don’t deserve to have ‘nice’ things, so you, therefore, feel guilty for buying a high quality, better value product, that will last longer and require less maintenance or replacement.

– Cause you to see the short term cost instead of the long term gain and investment.

– You may often experience unexpected spending, small extra unnecessary expenses, unexpected repairs, accidents and losses that cause expense, bring sickness to limit your ability to work, eat up your time or your resources

– If you’re in business, cause you to fear your competition, losing customers, takeover bids, envy the prosperity of those who seem to be succeeding etc.  It will have you focus on the ‘have not’ in your business rather than the ‘do have’.

How to Overcome a Poverty Mindset

– Affect your judgment in valuing your products and services.

  1. Become financially knowledgeable. Learn as much as possible about financial management, financial systems, and tools for measuring financial stewardship e.g. calculators for break even and gross profit percentages etc.
  2. Review your upbringing and significant encounters around money. What were you taught?  What principles were implied but never spoken in your upbringing?  How was your family’s relationship with money reflected in their lifestyle? their conversations? opinions of others?
  3. Examine your own relationship with money now. What is your biggest fear of money? how does it outwork itself in your life? when you think of wealthy people what is the first thought that comes to your mind? when you’re making spending decisions, what rationale do you use in your decision making process?  what are your values around money?
  4. Look for the ‘lie’ in your beliefs. Does it make logical sense? all things being equal, what is the true outcome likely to be if I ignore this fear or belief and move forward. Often the belief has no rational basis, it is simply something we have believed somewhere along the way for a reason we may no longer remember.
  5. Seek the input of others and/or professionals. If you are wanting to step outside of your comfort zone financially, and it’s a significant or life changing financial decision, then talk it over with trusted friends and advisers who are not emotionally attached to the decision or the outcome.
  6. Review past significant financial decisions and review the process and thought patterns around them. Were they influenced by wrong beliefs?.  How do you and your family make spending decisions now?  What values and priorities are they based on?  Do they need to change?
  7. Write out a set of values, priorities, and protocols that you wish to use from now on when making financial decisions.

In Part 2 we will look at some of the biblical principles that apply to our relationship with money and how to deal with our wrong mindsets at a spiritual level.

Copyright Fiona Dieleman 2018