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Cultural, societal norms and your relationship with money

by Lesotho Times
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In today’s society, many people unknowingly carry certain beliefs and habits that hinder their financial progress. From the educational system to cultural norms, a series of influences subtly steer people towards fiscal behaviours and decisions that often result in financial struggles rather than prosperity. It’s as if an unseen script guides their actions, influencing them to make choices that keep them from achieving their wealth potential. In this blog post, we’ll unpack these deeply ingrained narratives and behaviours, helping you to recognize and challenge them and pave the way for your journey toward financial literacy and the freedom to create wealth. Let me show you how to shift from a scarcity mind-set to an abundance mind-set.

Let’s check primary ways people are programmed to be poor.

Being taught that financial education isn’t necessary

From an early age, many of us are exposed to subjects like math, science, and literature over financial literacy. This societal programming suggests that financial education isn’t as necessary or valuable as these traditional areas of study. As a result, many people enter adulthood without a firm grasp on crucial financial concepts like budgeting, investing, or understanding credit. This lack of financial knowledge makes it harder to make informed money decisions, leading many to avoidable financial difficulties. Understanding money – how to manage it, invest it, and grow it – is fundamental to achieving financial security and wealth.

Advocating for job security over entrepreneurship

Society often argues that pursuing a traditional career provides more security and stability than venturing into entrepreneurship. This programming starts early, with education systems emphasizing job preparation over business creation. As a result, many people opt for the perceived safety of a steady salary over the uncertain rewards of entrepreneurship. However, entrepreneurship allows for unlimited earning potential and the creation of assets that can generate long-term wealth. Embracing the entrepreneurial journey, despite its risks, can lead to financial independence beyond what traditional employment usually offers. Schools educate people to become employees and teach them that higher education is the only path. Schools are selling their product of education. Wealth comes from creating goods, services, and businesses that are wanted in the marketplace. Employees create wealth for their employers. Business owners create wealth for their self and their investors.

Encouraging instant gratification over delayed satisfaction

Instant gratification is constantly promoted in a world of one-click purchases and same-day deliveries. We are programmed to desire and seek immediate satisfaction, which can often come at the cost of our financial health. This mind-set leads to impulse buying, consumer debt, and neglect of long-term financial planning. It discourages the practice of saving, investing, and waiting for the benefits of compound gains to take effect. Practicing delayed gratification, on the other hand, can lead to wealth accumulation and long-term financial stability. If you spend more than you make, you will always be out of money no matter how much you earn. Personal finance is mostly impulse control over excessive spending once you make enough to pay your bills.

Instilling fear of calculated risks

From childhood, many of us are conditioned to avoid taking risks. We’re taught to seek stability and predictability and often hear phrases like “better safe than sorry.” This programming can limit our willingness to take calculated financial risks, such as investing in the stock market or starting a business. However, these ventures, while risky, have the potential to generate significant wealth. Overcoming the fear of calculated risk is often a critical step toward financial freedom. The path to wealth is paved by consistently taking intelligent, calculated risks in your favour while managing the risk of ruin.

Propagating a scarcity mind-set over an abundance mind-set

Our culture often propagates a scarcity mind-set, suggesting that resources are limited and that one person’s gain is another’s loss. This programming influences us to view wealth as a zero-sum game, which can limit our ambition and discourage us from pursuing financial success. By contrast, an abundance mind-set, which views wealth as something that can be created and expanded, opens us up to new opportunities for financial growth. Breaking free from a scarcity mentality is essential to embracing the potential for financial abundance.

Teaching that home ownership is the ultimate investment

One standard piece of financial programming is the belief that owning a home symbolises financial success. While home ownership can be a component of a healthy financial plan, it isn’t the investment gold standard it’s often made out to be. Homes come with ongoing costs and don’t always appreciate value as expected. This programming can lead to overemphasizing homeownership at the expense of other investment opportunities. Understanding that wealth can come from various investments is crucial to building a diversified and robust financial portfolio. A home is a liability when you must pay a monthly mortgage and upkeep costs; it only becomes an asset when you lease it out or sell it for a profit.

Discouraging continued learning and skills improvement

The notion that learning stops after formal education can stagnate our personal and financial growth. In today’s rapidly changing economic and technological landscape, continuous learning and skill improvement are more important than ever. However, the programming many of us receive discourages this pursuit, implying that learning is only for the young or those in school. Embracing lifelong learning can enhance our value in the marketplace, increase our earning potential, and provide us with the tools to navigate the evolving economic landscape. Education doesn’t have to be in academics to change your life, and self-education has never been easier on personal finance, investing, and building a business.

Promoting cultural or societal norms that lead to poor financial habits

Society and culture play a significant role in shaping our financial habits. Many cultural and societal norms promote behaviours detrimental to financial health, such as conspicuous consumption, keeping up with the Joneses, or avoiding discussions about money. This programming not only normalises poor financial habits but also stigmatises wealth-creating behaviours. Recognizing and challenging these norms can help us adopt more beneficial financial habits.

Avoidance of discussing money and finances

Money is often considered taboo, and many are programmed to avoid discussing it. This enforced silence can prevent us from seeking advice, learning from others’ experiences, and gaining valuable insights into money management. It also perpetuates a lack of financial literacy, as we’re denied opportunities to learn from each other’s successes and failures. Encouraging open and honest discussions about money can help break this cycle and promote better financial habits.

Spreading negative perceptions of wealth and wealthy people

Negative stereotypes about the wealthy are common in our society. We’re often exposed to narratives that portray wealthy individuals as greedy, corrupt, or morally bankrupt. This programming can discourage us from aspiring to wealth, associating financial success with negative traits. Understanding that wealth and morality are not mutually exclusive and recognising wealth’s positive potential can help challenge these harmful stereotypes. Entrepreneurs create the businesses people work at, the products they use, and the services they need. Business owners are the backbone of the economy.

Maintaining economic system biases

Disbelief in our economic system often goes unchallenged and is perpetuated by societal programming. Not wanting to participate in free markets or demonising them as an unfair system leads to not tapping into the opportunities to build wealth through economic creation.

Recognizing these societal and cultural programming patterns is the first step to dismantling them. We can rewrite our financial scripts and chart our path toward financial abundance by questioning these narratives. Embrace the opportunity and freedom to create something of value in the marketplace.

Recognising and confronting the societal and cultural conditioning that cultivates fiscal ineptitude is crucial to achieving financial freedom. This means questioning ingrained narratives about money, wealth, and success and learning to navigate our economic landscape’s biases and systemic hurdles. With a focus on financial literacy, embracing entrepreneurial ventures, promoting delayed gratification, and adopting an abundance mind-set, we can redefine our relationship with money and carve out a path toward lasting wealth and prosperity.


Until next week enjoy making money on capital markets.

Thinking of raising capital (issuing shares or bonds), listing shares on the securities market, buying or discounting bonds, Treasury bills, equity trading and capital markets news and information? Contact us today.

Leonard Nyambuya

Katleho Securities, (Member of Maseru Securities Market)

+266 59709178, 53230700, 68730055

lnyambuya@katleho.co.ls, securities@katleho.co.ls, www.katleho.co.ls




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