Billy Graham once stated, “If a person gets his attitude toward money straight, it will help straighten out almost every other area in his life.” What I take from this quote is that we must first have a great attitude toward our money and do good with it, then it will then flow in all the other areas of life in a positive manner. I was never good with money. At least, that’s what I told myself. I didn’t even trust myself with money. You would think because my parents were successful businesspeople, I would have learned how to value and respect money. To their credit, they tried to teach me—but with me, it was in one ear and out the other. I was at spring break when I signed up for my first credit card in order to get a free t-shirt. I quickly fell into the credit trap and racked up credit card debt I couldn’t pay. Even well into my adult life, I still hadn’t figured out how to handle my money. I even had my condo foreclosed on. Ouch!

As of right now, I’m still paying for my ignorance and mistakes. I’ve learned the hard way to get my attitude toward money straight—and I’m still learning. But all the times people have helped me when I was going through tough times changed my attitude toward money. I want to be in a position where I am one of those people who have the money to help other people. One of my favorite quotes about money is by one of the authors of the Chicken Soup for the Soul series.

He said:

The best way to help the poor is to not be one of them. — Mark Victor Hansen

When some people hear me quote that, they cringe. But think about it—if you’re poor, you can’t help yourself and you certainly can’t help other people. The way you put yourself in a position to not be a burden, but a boost to others, is to be financially secure. If you manage to be wealthy—well, so much the better.

But discussions about being wealthy or poor always seem to stir up controversy. The subject of money sparks all kinds of debate. People have some deep-set perspectives and old wounds when it comes to money. Whether it’s a divorce, childhood fears about poverty, fights over who’s making the most—all of that boils down to money. To a large degree, money affects your relationships, your decisions, and your life. Wouldn’t you agree?

But you know what? It’s really not money that affects these areas of your life. It’s your attitude toward money. Money isn’t a good thing, but it’s not a bad thing, either. In fact, money isn’t anything more than a tool for you to use. All the hype and obsession with money is really over how people deal with money. Some people use it for good. Some people use it for bad. Some people don’t know how to use it at all.

In Rich Dad, Poor Dad, Robert Kiyosaki said:

If you want to be rich, you need to be financially literate.

Just like everything else in your life, your money is an area where you need to get your attitude straight and educate yourself. Managing your money is another way of managing yourself. The average millionaire in the United States wasn’t born with a silver spoon in their mouth. They’re not a Wall Street trader or a famous actor. They’re not some college drop-out who sold an internet company at the height of the dot-com boom. They don’t have a second home on the Riviera and a third home in the Swiss Alps. They don’t even drive a new car. The typical American millionaire is a first generation, self-made, self-employed businessperson who lives a seemingly average lifestyle. Wealthy people are wealthy, for the most part, because they’re disciplined and smart with their money. With money, I find the better I manage it, the more of it I seem to have. For a period of my life, I lived foolishly. I treated money like I treated time. There was always more coming, so I might as well spend it as I wanted. I didn’t realize I could have been investing my money in my future. If I had saved and invested my money, I would have had a rainy day fund when the recession hit and I lost it all.

As I have said before time is something you should value, respect, and use wisely, or something you can devalue, squander, and wonder where it went. It’s not that you don’t have it—you make money (or you will). It’s what you do with it that decides whether you enjoy success or not.

Having time isn’t the point—it’s what you do with it that counts. It’s the exact same thing with money. Having it doesn’t do you or anybody else any good. It’s what you do with it that matters.

Once you decide to do good with your money, a positive attitude is the best place to start!

“Remember that it is up to you to choose everyday to Get off Your Attitude and to create a positive lifestyle for yourself and others.” Ryan C. Lowe

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