Is the ghost of “Money Past” haunting you? Do you feel like no matter what you do to "get ahead" it never works? The problem may not be what you are doing, it may be what you are thinking. Many of us have deep spiritual and psychological patterns around money that can block our efforts at managing our money better and creating prosperity.
Knowledge is power however, and often just naming our internal blockages can set us on the road to financial freedom. One of the most powerful steps you can take toward clarifying and changing your relationship to money and creating more prosperity is to discover where you have an unhealthy money profile, and then begin changing how you think about your money as well as what you do (and do not do) with your money.
There are six major trouble spots in our relationships to money.
In this article we will begin by defining the most common and often least recognized problem that can lead to money stress and chaos: underearning.
Read the following profile and ask yourself if any of these traits sound familiar. Do you recognize yourself? If so, check the resources section at the end of this article for things you can start doing right now to start overcoming underearning tendencies. After all, you deserve to heal the underlying issues once and for all- so that you can live life with more joy and less stress!
An underearner is a person who has a difficult time consistently earning the money they need to fully maintain financial security and personal independence. While they may have tremendous talent, and often have intermittent periods of earning well, they tend to have difficulty consistently earning enough. Underearners are also those who make adequate money to take care of their immediate financial needs but make considerably less than their talents, education and professional experience warrant. These types of underearners have paychecks that seem big, and yet despite the fact that they are not overspending they still have little or no financial cushion set aside for future needs such as retirement or health care.
The key to understanding underearning is to connect earning with the long term needs. The definition of an Underearner is not simply someone who makes very little money. In fact it is possible to make very little money and NOT be an underearner, provided you have a simple lifestyle and are able to put aside adequate savings despite a relatively low income.
It is also possible to make a great deal of money and be an underearner, if you have large lifestyle expenses associated with earning that income. For example if you are a world class racecar driver and make good money doing it, but also have insufficient sponsorship and have to pay out of pocket for travel and other expenses you might still end up being an underearner- earning less than you need to fully maintain financial security.
Remember, underearners are often very talented professionals it is simply that they are also people who will consistently make less than they need to support themselves in a lifestyle that matches her abilities, vision and priorities. Underearners also often live with considerable financial stress and chaos and find themselves working much harder than the average person.
So, why does it matter what an underearner is? It matters because knowledge is power. If you or someone you love or work with is an underearner, then you need to know that self blame, working harder and fighting debt may not be enough to stop the cycle of stress and pain around money. However, if you can recognize underearning for what it is you can begin to find ways to change your long term thinking about money and start earning higher amounts, more consistently.
If the term “underearning” is one that catches your attention, take a look at the following list to see if you exhibit the typical traits of an underearner.
If you check off ten or more statements then Underearning is probably a financial trouble spot for you. Keep in mind: You can learn to heal Underearning and doing so leads to an immediate increase in personal serenity and business success. Check for resources at the end of this article to help set you on the right path.
25 Common Traits of Underearners
1. Assume they have to make a choice between being authentic and having money. They usually believe they can’t do both, and often believe their occupation won’t allow them to make more money.
2. Have unsecured debt (more debt than they can easily pay off in a reasonable time frame). May have debts that they cannot afford to make regular payments on.
3. Are financially disorganized with unclear or non-existent systems for keeping track of bills, balancing accounts, and collecting money owed to them.
4. May feel acute embarrassment, anger, or overwhelm when they are reminded to pay a bill or asked for money they knew they would be expected to pay.
5. Frequently receive praise for excellent work either on the job or volunteer projects, but rarely get monetary recognition for their special efforts/skills.
6. Are often in financial stress or crisis. Feel relieved or excited when they pay their monthly bills.
7. Frequently put the needs of others before their own, especially when giving away time, expertise, skills, and energy without financial compensation. Do a lot of unpaid, charity, or showcase work.
8. Have to pay late fees, bounced check fees, parking tickets, or other financial penalties more than twice a year. Frequently believe that as long as they pay their bills, it does not matter significantly if they are late.
9. Feel pain, stress, and fear over money, often to the point where these feelings seem to be a normal response to money duties/issues. May vacillate back and forth between being financially irresponsible and in denial followed by periods of intense shame and self-blame around how they have handled money.
10. Live from month to month. They will not or cannot regularly pre-plan their financial expenditures and income ahead of time. Do not make saving a priority. Have little or no savings and few financial assets.
11. Often come from dysfunctional families that may have a history of codependence or addiction.
12. Have negative assumptions about people with money. They often feel morally superior to “rich people.”
13. Are good at finding people to loan them money, take care of them financially, or convince them that their stress and fear around money is “normal.”
14. Have only a vague idea of what their monthly living expenses actually are. They may tend to forget what they spend money on or grossly underestimate how much they spend in a given area. Conversely, they may tend to “round things up” in their mind and imagine that they need to make much more than they really do to support themselves.
15. Have an unsteady work rhythm. They may work too hard and not take care of themselves, work in cycles of excess and collapse, or don’t want to work at all.
16. Don’t fully understand or use the concept of net vs. gross. For example, they may think in terms of their total paycheck vs. what they have after taxes, or the price they sell products/services for vs. their profit margin.
17. Frequently think there is spiritual or political virtue in not having money. They find virtue in struggle and are often proud of their ability to make do with little. They may believe that people only get wealthy by exploiting others or giving up on their own commitment to creativity and integrity.
18. Get their money education informally by listening to other underearners.
19. Often have clothes, tools, or other possessions that are old, worn out or insufficient. Or Have the very best clothes tools and possessions but know that such things were obtained through a compromise to integrity such as doing something they felt was wrong but did it anyway.
20. Know that things must change, but feel personally powerless to create the change. Secretly feel that eventually something will happen to make things better (the sale of a house, winning a lawsuit, finding a benefactor, winning the lottery, etc.).
21. Tend to over-commit and fill free time with endless little tasks and chores as well as things they feel they should or must do for others.
22. Do not trust themselves when it comes to spending money. Dislike, resent, or fear spending money. Know they sometimes go on buying binges or have a habit of spending more than they can afford on things they don’t need.
23. Are usually terrified of financial risk such as investing, finding a better job, or spending money on their own financial intelligence. At the same time they react to built-up financial stress by taking poorly thought out financial risks (“get rich quick” schemes).
24. Believe more money would cure all of their problems. Believe if they just made more money they would be free to never think about money again.
25. Are uncomfortable asking for money. May find themselves asking for less than they know they deserve or feeling embarrassed when they must remind someone to pay them for work they have already done.
This list is inspired by Jerrold Mundis’ bookEarn What You Deserve. If you think you may be an Underearner, it is strongly recommended you read this book and/or the book Secrets of Six Figure Women by Barbara Stanny. To learn more about "Real Hourly Wage" you may also wish to read Your Money or Your Life by Joe Dominquez. You deserve the insight and help these books can provide.
You can begin to heal your underearning tendencies by:
• Starting to muse or meditate on the idea that money is a symbol of energy, nothing more and nothing less. It is not good or evil. It is simply and expression of where energy is flowing towards you or out from you through goods and services.
• Stopping the habit of saying no to money that is offered to you unless it is illegal or unethical to accept it.
• Making a commitment to significantly reduce the clutter, inadequate tools and physical conditions in your environment that drain your energy.
• Organizing all bill paying paperwork and creating a routine for paying the bills and balancing the checkbook.
• Learning about “Real Hourly Wage” and working to consciously make career and lifestyle decisions based on Real Hourly Wage instead of based on income.
• Learning about “Passive Spending” and working to reduce your passive spending habits.
• Getting in the habit of thinking of money as energy exchanged for value, and starting to focus on the spiritual benefits of being a high earner.
• Stopping the practice of accruing debt unless it is secured by an asset that appreciates.
• Learning the habits of saving and investing and force yourself to earn more in order to support these new habits.
• Enrolling in a money class, join a group, or look for friends that focus on building wealth intelligence.
• Hiring a coach to work around these specific money habits and tendencies.
• Understanding that your money past is not your money future.
The Most Important Thing to Remember About Underearning:
You do not need to change overnight- and in fact you can't. Awareness in and of itself is the first step and more powerful than you might imagine. If all this information seems scary and moves you into self-judgment, DO NOT DESPAIR! Just by reading this report, you have changed your awareness and moved energy. For now, keep it simple. Take ONE idea, observation, or action item, and play with it. Then put this report in a drawer, and pull it out once a month to re-read and again pick a single item or action item until you feel ready to choose a single category and get support in fully healing it.
Congratulations on Raising Your Earning Awareness!
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