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Building a Winning Money Mentality - Inspired by Warren Buffett, Bill Gates, Jay-Z and more

As I progressed up through the different levels of competition as a young basketball player, I was introduced to the sport's mental game - principles and philosophies forming a mindset that would determine my actions on the court. In many sports, the mental game is often emphasised over the physical game as the key determinant of success and winning.

When it comes to building wealth, I believe there's a mental game to be won too. This mentality will determine your actions and habits every time you earn money and go to spend it. If you can master this mental game, you're well on the way to building a good financial situation. In this post I'll break down the parts of my mental game that determine my attitude towards my personal finances.

Though these are my personal thoughts and principles, many greats in business and finance also share the same ideas. For each point, I'll go to my expert panel to get their thoughts as well. You might see a few familiar names...

#1 Creating a Vision

First things first. Whether you want to become a millionaire, financially independent on simply be able to live more comfortable - it has to start in your head before it becomes a reality. Through the difficult months and through the temptation to give in to being financially disciplined, a vision will keep you driven and focused on making the dream become reality.

What the experts say:

“If you want to be rich, you need to develop your vision. You must be standing on the edge of time gazing into the future.” 

- Robert Kiyosaki

“If you’re the kind of person who has no guts, you just give up every time life pushes you. If you’re that kind of person, you’ll live all your life playing it safe, doing the right things, saving yourself for something that never happens. Then, you die a boring old person.”

- Robert Kiyosaki

"Empty pockets never held anyone back. Only empty heads and empty hearts can do that."

- Norman Vincent Peale

“I always knew I was going to be rich. I don’t think I ever doubted it for a minute.”

- Warren Buffett

#2 Thinking Long Term

It's great to be able to meet the needs of today and to live for today, but the reality of tomorrow may not necessarily be the same as we are living today. You might be young and single today, but you may be wanting to get married, buy a house, or start a family in the near or distant future. We've just gone through a long period of economic stability and growth, but there's talk of a recession coming soon. By putting measures in place today, you can create a sustainable financial situation over the longer term.

At the same time, creating and building wealth takes time in many cases. Very few people become rich overnight. Be patient and don't put your financial stability at risk trying to get rich quick.

What the experts say:

Jeff Bezos asked Warren Buffett: “You are the second richest man in the world and yet you have the simplest investment thesis. How come others didn’t follow this?” To which Warren Buffett responded: “Because no one wants to get rich slowly”.

“Your future is created by what you do today, not tomorrow”

- Robert Kiyosaki

"Most people overestimate what they can do in one year and underestimate what they can do in ten years."

- Bill Gates

"It's not how much money you make, but how much money you keep, how hard it works for you, and how many generations you keep it for." - Robert Kiyosaki

“If you aren’t thinking about owning a stock for 10 years, don’t even think about owning it for 10 minutes.”

- Warren Buffett

#3 Education and Experience

Education and experience are worth a lot. Understanding your finances, investing and saving should be something that you're willing to educate yourself about if you want to become good at it. Buy books, watch videos, listen to podcasts, do training courses - it all counts towards achieving the vision.

Education doesn't just have to be about your personal finances - learn a valuable skill that people are willing to pay a premium for. For example, do you know how to code a website? Can you speak another language? Do you have a professionally recognised qualification in your area of expertise? These are things that with the right opportunities, whether it be a job or a side hustle, can bring you in extra money.

Part of the learning process is making mistakes. Don't be put off - embrace them, learn from them and move on.

What the experts say:

“The most important investment you can make is in yourself.”

- Warren Buffett.

“I’m hungry for knowledge. The whole thing is to learn every day, to get brighter and brighter. That’s what this world is about.”

– Jay-Z

“A winning strategy must include losing.” 

– Robert Kiyosaki

"An investment in knowledge pays the best interest."

- Benjamin Franklin

"Formal education will make you a living; self-education will make you a fortune."

- Jim Rohn

“Education is cheap; experience is expensive.” 

– Robert Kiyosaki

“You learn more in failure than you ever do in success.”

– Jay-Z

"Rich people have small TVs and big libraries, and poor people have small libraries and big TVs."

- Zig Ziglar

#4 Living below your means

Think about businesses. In the simplest terms, the profits of a business comes from its revenues minus its expenses. To ensure a profit, a business must generate more revenue that it incurs expenses. So do you. If you live above your means, you will create debt which will hold you back. If you live at the same level as your means, you will be constantly working to keep supporting the same level of living expenses.

What the experts say:

“Often, the more money you make the more money you spend; that’s why more money doesn’t make you rich – assets make you rich.” 

– Robert Kiyosaki

"Financial peace isn't the acquisition of stuff. It's learning to live on less than you make, so you can give money back and have money to invest. You can't win until you do this."

- Dave Ramsey

"If you don't find a way to make money while you sleep, you'll work until you die"

- Warren Buffett

"Never spend your money before you have it."

- Thomas Jefferson

#5 Prioritising Investing and Saving

Following on from the previous point - once you're "profitable", this should be a top priority for how to use your "profit". Saving and investing allows for long term growth of your money, and can also be a way to generate passive income when done correctly. There are many ways to invest your money, such as stocks, ETFs, mutual funds, bonds, real estate and savings accounts. How you invest or save will vary depending upon your needs and goals, but everyone trying to create a sustainable financial situation should be doing one, the other, or both.

What the experts say:

“The philosophy of the rich and the poor is this: the rich invest their money and spend what is left. The poor spend their money and invest what is left.” 

- Robert Kiyosaki

"Try to save something while your salary is small; it’s impossible to save after you begin to earn more."

- Jack Benny

“Today people who hold cash equivalents feel comfortable. They shouldn’t. They have opted for a terrible long-term asset, one that pays virtually nothing and is certain to depreciate in value.”

- Warren Buffett

"The moment you make passive income and portfolio income a part of your life, your life will change. Those words will become flesh.” 

- Robert Kiyosaki

#6 Understanding Value

One of the Oxford English dictionary definitions of value is "The regard that something is held to deserve; the importance, worth, or usefulness of something." This definition is developed to "The worth of something compared to the price paid or asked for it". The second is what you need to pay attention to, and it applies for spending, saving and investing.

When you can pay less or equal to what you believe to be the importance, worth or usefulness of something - whether it be stocks in a company, a car or a holiday - you've understood the concept of value and are on the right track.

What the experts say:

“Price is what you pay. Value is what you get.”

- Warren Buffett

“It’s far better to buy a wonderful company at a fair price, than a fair company at a wonderful price.”

- Warren Buffett

#7 Being in control of your money...

A lot of us who work full time could be working anything from 35 hours a week upwards. That's a lot of our time. Time is valuable, and so is the money we make using that time. Let's take the example of the phrase "time is money". If we stand by this, then we could also say that our daily purchases, our holidays and gadget have been bought with our time. I challenge to ask yourself how many hours' work your next purchase equates to.

The bottom line is this - you need to be in control of your money. Use it wisely.

What the experts say:

"You must gain control over your money or the lack of it will forever control you."

- Dave Ramsey

#8 ... But not obsessing over it

This might seem contradictory to the last point, to this whole post and even to the entire existence of this blog. But at the end of the day, although money is important, it's just one part of life. Many of us care about our friends and families, want to live healthy and experience life to the full. Some of us may even support particular charities or causes and give back to society. Money can help us to in some of these areas, but should never come before them. Our time on earth is very short, and we can only live it once.

What the experts say:

"If we command our wealth, we shall be rich and free. If our wealth commands us, we are poor indeed."

- Edmund Burke

“If you get to my age in life and nobody thinks well of you, I don’t care how big your bank account is, your life is a disaster.”

- Warren Buffett

“Money is a great servant but a bad master.”

- Francis Bacon

"A wise person should have money in their head, but not in their heart."

- Jonathan Swift

“Basically, when you get to my age, you’ll really measure your success in life by how many of the people you want to have love you actually do love you.”

- Warren Buffett

“Don’t be addicted to money. Work to learn. don’t work for money. Work for knowledge.”

- Robert Kiyosaki

“Life is for living, not living uptight. See ya somewhere up in the sky.”

– Jay-Z

How are you doing in each point of the winning money mentality? Do you have any other points that you would add to it? Leave us a comment with your thoughts!

Millennials With Money exists to provide personal financial education to Millennials and young people, and build a community of people who are motivated to creating long term financial health.

Further Reading:

"28 Inspiring Bill Gates Quotes on How to Succeed in Life":

"50 Warren Buffett Quotes on Investing, Life and Success":

"52 Best Jay-Z Quotes on Life, Love and Success":

"101 Robert Kiyosaki Quotes That WILL Inspire You":

"Nobody wants to get rich slowly - stop the rat race":

"Top 100 Money Quotes of All Time":

"Value | Definition of Value by Lexico":

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