How you see yourself has a lot to do with how you experience life. If you see yourself as happy, you’re probably happy. If you see youself as smart, you’re probably smart. The same goes for your relationship with money. Whether you see yourself as bad with money or a financial rock star, you’re right. So my question for you is – are you a financial rock star?

In my previous tiptoe into neurological levels, I explained how values and beliefs shape your finances. This time, I’d like to discuss how your identity around money impacts your relationship around money.

Neurological Levels

There are 5 neurological levels including:

  1. Identity
  2. Values and Beliefs
  3. Capabilities
  4. Behaviors
  5. Environment

Accomplishing goals is dependent on where you are in each of the 5 neurological levels. Identity is a good place to start because if you don’t see yourself as good with money, you may have a hard time accomplishing your goals.


According to Wikipedia identity is:

the qualities, beliefs, personality, looks, and/or expressions that make a person (self-identity as emphasized in psychology) or group (collective identity as pre-eminent in sociology). One can regard the awareness and the categorizing of identity as positive or as destructive. 

If you identify yourself in a negative way with money, it may prevent you from accomplishing your goal.

Identity Example

When I was younger I grew up in a GM household. I had two uncles that worked at GM and another that sold parts to GM (and Ford). My Dad always drove GM cars, as did everyone else I knew. So naturally, when I bought my first car, it was a GM. My next 4 cars were American-made cars too. The only problem was, ever since seeing Roger Moore in 007 I always wanted a BMWs (goal). I equated BMWs with awesomeness (belief) and I wanted one.

Fast forward until a few years ago. I was doing some planning for myself and decided that I really wanted my next car to be a bimmer. But I had to overcome some beliefs I had around them. I didn’t think I could afford one (belief). I thought they were expensive (belief). I thought it would cost too much and all my clients would fire me if I didn’t have an American-made car (belief). But I crunched some numbers (figured out that my belief was wrong), updated my plan, and got permission from the boss before I made the plunge and bought my new-to-me BMW. I’ve since run into a couple of clients and upon explaining to them that I’d always dreamed of owning one, they got it – removing my belief that all my clients would fire me. Goal accomplished.

Money is funny that way. We have beliefs set from when we are young and have a hard time changing them until someone shows us how.

Miles Bridges

Many of you know I am a huge Michigan State fan. I love watching MSU basketball and football. As a result, I read a lot of articles about MSU sports. One day I was reading an article in Sports Illustrated about Miles Bridges, a highly touted basketball recruit,  and I saw something that made me wince – money is evil. He was talking about how he’d been raised and why he choose MSU over other schools, and he said something to the effect that he thought money was evil. I had two thoughts 1. will his beliefs change when he makes millions in the NBA 2. will he find a mentor so that he won’t lose his wealth.

You see, according to CNBC’s Money lessons from pro athletes’ financial fouls, sixty percent of NBA players go broke within 5 years of leaving the league. Seventy-eight percent of NFL players have financial distress two years after retirement. Why? They identify being wealthy with having awesome clothes, fancy cars, big houses, and living lavish lifestyles. Who can blame them? That’s what we see on TV. But that’s not wealth. Ask Warren Buffet, who flies coach, what wealth is, or read The Millionaire Next Door, and you see that wealthy people drive old cars, live in middle-class neighborhoods (in their paid-off houses), and invest heavily in their kids’ education.


The first step in accomplishing your goals is figuring out who you want to become – your identity. If your beliefs don’t jive with who you want to become, you’ll have to change that, or you might have a hard time accomplishing your goals. So, do you want to be a financial rock star? If so, take a good hard look at yourself.

Rich Feight, CFP
Rich Feight, CFP

Hi, I'm Rich Feight I'm a fee-only Certified Financial Planner, successful business owner, and self-made millionaire that knows how to beat the system and become wealthy. I have a lot of clients that have done it too. I'm also pretty good at finding that ever-elusive work/life balance so many of us strive for. Lucky for you I have an abundant mindset and give all my knowledge away on my blog. So if you want to know what it takes to become a millionaire, follow me.