Money doesn’t grow on trees. A penny saved is a penny earned. You might have heard your parents—or your grandparents—utter these money idioms growing up. Some of these sayings have some outdated wisdom that feel like have been around since the beginning of time. Here are some well-known money maxims that need a serious makeover:
Money is the root of all evil
Money is actually pretty awesome. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with wanting to make lots of it. It isn’t everything, but can be used as a tool to do all the things you’ve ever wanted to in life. Contrary to popular thinking, having gobs of money won’t solve all your problems. If you were “behaving badly” before you had money, having more of it will just permit you to keep doing the same. You’ll need to learn how to manage it, to have the know-how and skills to put it toward your goals.
New maxim: Money can lead to many possibilities. You just need to know how to work it right.
Early to bed and early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise
…If you’re a farmer it does. It’s a lot more complicated than that, isn’t it? These days it really depends on figuring out what conditions you need to perform to be at the top of your game. For instance, if you’re a night owl, it might be tough to do your best work in the early morning hours.
If you are self-employed, you might be able to design a schedule that is in line with when you are most productive. On top of that, finding work you love and have fun doing, are good at, and can pay the bills will lead to fulfilling work. All these things working together will ultimately lead you to winning at life.
New maxim: To be successful, figure out what makes you you.
Another day, another dollar
Trading time for money will turn you into a wage slave. These days there are plenty of ways to make a buck besides working a 9-5. You can get a side hustle, start a business, or look into generating income from investing.
Do you really want to live a humdrum, day-in and day-out existence, letting the money you make slip between your fingers? This pessimistic attitude isn’t going to cut it. Instead, get proactive about both making your money grow.
It can be hard to get out of this survival mindset, especially if you have mounting student loans, credit card debt, or a job that doesn’t pay enough. If you have less money than you would like, then you can get creative about either making more of it or cutting back on your spending.
New maxim: Make your money work for you.
Neither a borrower nor a lender be
While this probably has more to do with borrowing and loaning money from a friend or family member, people can have conflicting opinions on whether good debt exists. Let’s be real: Taking on debt is a part of being a consumer. Whether it’s taking out a loan for your car, funding your kids’ college education, or taking out a mortgage, there’s a good chance you’ll need to borrow money at some point in your life.
But if you take on debt, you can be smart about it. Research your options and know what you’re getting into before committing to anything. If you already have debt (i.e., student loans or a credit card balance) come up with a plan to pay it off. If you’re a member of a credit union and would like some guidance on debt, contact your local branch. A credit union employee can provide professional advice and point you to information or services.
New maxim: When you take on debt, be smart about it.
These outdated money idioms are proof that these days we can take on a fresh approach to how we view and treat our money. Once you find ways to take control of your finances, you’ll be able to start building a life of your own design.