7 Money “Rituals” That Help Build Wealth

  • Have you ever wondered why we humans have “rituals”?
  • What purpose can rituals play in our financial lives?
  • What are some “Money Rituals” we can practice to build wealth?
For thousands of years humans have practiced rituals. Even the Vikings (our blog elders) held rituals that kept the community tied together and helped each individual survive in a harsh world. You do not need an anthropology degree to see that habitual rituals play a role in human success on planet Earth. In other words, we were once the hunted and now we practically over dominate everywhere on the globe. Were rituals a part of this? I will leave the big questions to the experts. But in the meantime, we developed 7 “money rituals” that we can practice to improve our financial picture. Isn’t the concept of retirement a kind of ritual? With the way modern life is progressing, this “ritual” is lasting longer and longer, which means it requires more planning and resources.

What is a ritual?

First, how do we define a ritual. Rituals are classically defined as:
“A sequence of activities involving gestures, words, and objects, performed in a sequestered place, and performed according to set sequence”. Rituals may be prescribed by the traditions of a community, including a religious community. Rituals are characterized but not defined by formalism, traditionalism, invariance, rule-governance, sacral symbolism, and performance.”
Money rituals are actions, habits and mindsets we can use to conquer financial freedom. These include paying down debt, earning, saving and ultimately investing for growth. I would argue that we have all kinds of formal and informal rituals we use every day with our family unit, work unit, community and country at large. Heck, isn’t drinking a cup of coffee each morning a kind of “ritual” to mentally prepare for the work of the day? Is getting together with a group of friends on a regular basis to watch a game and eat a pizza a kind of ritual? There are certain rules and practices of conduct and everyone tends to socially bond and communicate. Rituals are kinds of formalized habits. Perhaps rituals can help us sustain our good habits. In a way that might be what going to a religious institution and experiencing rituals does for many people, strengthens good habits and mindsets. Our personal finances can use the same kind of attention and assistance.

Why are rituals important?

Rituals become kind of communal and individual habits. Therefore they can focus our mind on specific goals and endeavors. Here are 7 personal finance rituals to practice in order to build large amounts of wealth:  

Ritual 1, The Gratitude Ritual, Saying “Thank You”

Are we truly thankful and grateful enough for the abundance around us? Do we we deeply see and appreciate how much we have? After 20 years of studying investing and wealth, I deeply believe this is the key to financial success. And this is not some mumbo jumbo stuff made up for a blog, I believe it is real and I will explain why. Money and an existence of abundance is in many ways in our heads. Most of us, Americans in the middle class, have far more material wealth than 90% of the world and by most standards more than 90% of the humans that ever lived. This means that finding happiness and a feeling of wealth has very little to do with striving for that next dollar. Therefore it has more to do with what we do with our current dollars, state of existence and mental game. I think for many of us no, we spend countless hours chasing the next thing, without realizing we had everything we needed in front of us. Count your assets and blessings, then grow them from a place of gratitude. You may find even more abundance come your way. Therefore, I am calling the act of gratitude a ritual. Perhaps it is in a daily prayer or affirmation when we say “Thank You”. Not to any particular person, but just in general. I deeply believe this creates a paradigm shift in our outlook. Because now we start looking at the world with an eye for abundance not scarcity. In other words, there truly is plenty for all. Part of the issue is that we seem programmed for the hedonic treadmill, where our appetites become insatiable. To me, that sounds like a sad existence. Therefore, for years I developed a mindset of gratitude. I count my blessings and assets, and the more I tend to focus on them instead of “what I want”, the wealthier I feel. Here are some ways we can cultivate a feeling of gratitude for maximum wealth building impact:
  • Focus on your current assets and what you can do with them to create more wealth. This may be a better starting point than starting with looking at what you do not have. Perhaps you do not have $250,000 invested. But instead of focusing on the deficit, what can you do with your time, work, health and current funds to reach this goal. That shifts the paradigm to action, not sulking about what is missing.
  • Health, family and connections are the actual true sources of wealth. View them as very valuable assets that can be enjoyed and harnessed to add more monetary wealth to your life.
  • Do you have running water? Is there adequate housing? Do you own a car? Are healthcare and healthy food options available? Congratulations if you said yes to these things, you already are wealthier than billions of people on planet Earth. Therefore, sometimes it is a perspective thing.

Ritual 2, Annual Net Worth Calculating

Get into the ritual each year of calculating Net Worth. I calculate net worth each year and keep the records, it is a ritual! It sort of connects to ritual #1 because after I see my net worth figures, I say “Thank You” and feel gratitude. And remember I am a self made guy with a middle class salary. This is building a brick house, one brick at a time. Another cool thing about this ritual is that you have one “competitor”. That is you from last year. Were you able to beat him/her? This is done by saving a little more, paying down debt, choosing to develop habits that make you stronger. The Calculating Net Worth ritual allows you to know where you currently are. This is important because we all have to start somewhere, even if we are in the hole. And if the number is negative, do not fret, many people are in this boat and focused in on changing their situation. Secondly, the ritual helps us experience growth and evolution on our financial independence journey.  

Ritual 3, Tax Prep

I know, tax preparation is not most folks idea of fun. But in a way, this is a national ritual. In America, we have a self directed tax filing system initially based on the honor system. In other words, no armed men come to your door and shake you down for taxes. We annually collect our chaotic messed up files of background docs and march into the closest tax prep center. Plop down some service fees, let someone crunch some numbers for us and file our taxes. We all do it around the same time and do essentially the same thing. Based on our incomes combined with tax breaks for the things the Government deemed in the “public good”, we square up with our Government and society. But perhaps we can make it more beneficial to us by educating ourselves a little bit. Make it a yearly ritual to thoughtfully go through your documents and crunch some of your own numbers. When it comes to taxes, education is truly power. Therefore, people probably miss out on billions in tax breaks because they lack knowledge. We developed a Simple Taxes Explanation here. I encourage folks to educate themselves on what other deductions they may be able to enjoy.  

Ritual 4, Monthly financial “house cleaning”

Recently we talked about the importance of decluttering and organizing for wealth building potential. I like to perform a monthly financial house cleaning ritual and here are the basic elements:
  • Are my bills and debts all paid on time?
  • Am I making progress in building a larger emergency fund?
  • How does investment allocation look? Am I too heavily weighted in stocks?
  • How are debt levels?
  • Am I on track and moving forward to progress each month?

Ritual 5, Beginning of year intentions/focus areas

I do believe in writing down yearly intentions and tacking them to the bulletin board. Therefore they are right in front of us and we can make micro decisions each day towards those intentions and stay on track longer. Some folks do this as an actual ritual. For example, they write down intentions and take them to the beach or the mountains and say them out loud. That is a ritual. They share them with friends. The very act of thinking through them and writing them down is very ritualistic. Something does not need to be carved into an ancient tablet or fancy scroll to become part of a ritual. But that would not hurt 😉  

Ritual 6, The way we treat money and resources

Sometimes I think of the way we actually physically handle money as a kind of ritual. I remember watching a wise wealthy older man hold a dollar bill. In other words, he held it with respect for the energy it contained. Contrast this with someone that has wads of cash crumpled up in their pockets. Most likely they are not very wealthy because they do not respect resources/money. Therefore, it does not respect us back. Some cultures have small alters that have special coins in them that signify an aim of abundance. This seemingly silly thing actually can matter to us psychologically. Another aspect of this ritual is the very important concept of paying yourself first. This is probably one of the most important laws of building wealth. And this practice or ritual should be automated. Every two weeks your money should be automatically placed into a separate 401k, TSP, IRA or Roth IRA for investment purposes. This ritual illustrates to yourself how important your time and assets are to your life.  

Ritual 7, The health ritual

I like to ask myself about on a monthly basis, am I making healthy choices? Have I gone off track a bit? Am I getting a serving of vegetables with each meal, drinking water, etc.? Do I need to cut back a bit on fast food or alcohol? Check out our various ideas on staying healthy with some easy health hacks: 7 Foods to Unclog Arteries 10 Simple Health Hacks 5 Exercise Hacks For Busy People  

Ritual 8 Bonus, The fun ritual

Life is not all goals, spreadsheets and striving. There needs to be some room for some plain old fun. Therefore:
  • Are we spending quality fun time with our kids, just playing around?
  • Can we introduce some board game nights with the family?
  • Are we doing something fun for ourselves that we enjoy, a hobby, a good book, a walk alone in a beautiful setting to clear our mind?
  • Are we meditating or taking a mental break to just let things chill?
 

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