Sometimes when we’re looking for an answer it helps to go back and make sure we’re asking the right question.
One question I absolutely abhor is, “Can I afford it?” Framed this way, the question screams poverty consciousness. What this question really means is, “can I squeeze this monthly payment in with my other monthly obligations and not exceed my monthly income.” It’s a snake oil question. The millionaire next door, while she was amassing her millions, never asked herself this question.
Reframed, this question becomes, “Is this how I choose to spend my money?” This is how a person — in control of his money rather than being controlled by his money — makes a spending decision. This is a power question.
“Can I afford it” precedes the action of someone reaching into your wallet, counting out their share, and leaving you the leftovers — if you’re lucky.
“Is this how I choose to spend my money” precedes conscious thought and action.
There’s no guarantee that reframing the question will immediately and permanently effect change on your finances and spending habits. But the perspective shift, combined with the empowerment that we feel when we ask power questions, might be an important first step in looking at money and our finances differently.
If you’re not happy with the answers you keep getting when you look at your financial picture, reframing the question could result in better answers.