Day 14: Trust Buster Alert – Be Cautious of the Words “Secret” and “Millionaire”
I’d like to take a look at the psychology behind the marketing and selling of wealth and financial tools and strategies. It baffles me that the general public doesn’t see through the sales pitch when a book, article or movie uses words such as “Secret” or “Millionaire” and combine that with an unrealistic time frame such as “In Just One Week”. Do you realize that it is not a “secret” if everyone knows about it?! 🙂
Yet, despite the little voice in the back of our heads telling us this could be a hoax, for many of us, we are still drawn to these flashy phrases. Its as if they hold the keys to something that has eluded us, and if we uncover it, all of our questions will be answered. Most people would like to know how to be a millionaire, so they are (consciously or sub-consciously) immediately drawn to the term and their odds of purchasing increase.
My caution is this, though these terms can appeal to the masses through impulsive purchases, if there is not true depth to the offering past the catchy title, people will be left feeling duped and frustrated. Or, they may try something, but they will quickly give up because they have not reached their full potential of being a “Millionaire” already. The same holds true for weight loss programs that sell “Lose 20 pounds in a week!” etc. I believe that honesty and authenticity should prevail over simply selling a product. This could get into an ethical debate, but this is the path that I personally will choose to follow.
Popular Examples of the Term “Secret” and/or “Millionaire”:
- “The Secret”: a best-selling, somewhat cheesy, but insightful movie that swept the nation and was promoted by Oprah herself. I would have probably titled this move “Positive Energy and The Power of the Universe” – but would it have sold as many copies?
- “Secrets of the Millionaire Mind” by T Harv Eker: I love this book and the concept of changing the way you think about your finances and wealth, but would probably have named it something like “Achieving Your Personal Financial Freedom – It’s All in Your Mind.” Yet Eker knew that he would hook people by using the catch phrases of secret and millionaire.
- This list could go on and on to include “The Millionaire Next Door”, “The Automatic Millionaire” and more.
All this being said, there can often be valuable information in some of these “wealth-help” books, movies and articles. The tricky part is sifting through what holds true and what is essentially a scam. And to me, it can be hard to know when they are all named the same variation of the words secret, wealth, millioniare, etc.
For the past two weeks, I have been able to clearly assess my net worth, debt, and get a little more organized using online tools such as Mint.com and Mitto.com. I am also trying to simplify my life style and prioritize my time. Where do I go from here?
I’ll be taking a closer look at the popular minds of Dave Ramsey, Suzie Orman and others and I plan to read articles and books. So far, the Millionaire Mind by T. Harv Eker has been inspirational for me as it looks at changing your attitude and outlook towards your finances before you can truly make a difference in your quest toward financial freedom (not necessarily being a millionaire, just financially more free than the average joe). It has a similar perspective as “The Secret” in that good things come to those that use and exhibit positive energy: you will get results where you focus your efforts. (I’ll be posting more about Eker’s concepts and how I relate to them shortly).
Behavior of Wealth and Finance
I also plan to look more into behavioral economics and behavioral finance with the intent on understanding my own psychological factors involved in budgeting, finance and investment decisions. I’m considering reading books such as Nudge that discuss this concept.
Before I make any large changes from where I am presently, (besides trying to simplify and organize), I’ll need to evaluate and learn more from the experts.
Please comment and let me know if you have any suggestions.