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How to control your ego and create wealth – no one gives a sh*t about your Audi

Your ego is the biggest threat to your financial goals. We write a lot on this website about how to invest, reviewing the best financial products and offering technical tips and tricks to increase wealth. But frankly, if your money mindset is wrong, none of it matters. You’ll only get so far.

Building personal wealth is all about the relationship we have with money. What we think it does for us. What we think it, or the material things it can buy, says about us. And crucially, how we believe it can influence what other people think about us.

That’s called ego and believe me, it’s the number one thing that is holding you back from achieving your financial dreams.

So, here are top money mindset hacks you can use to keep your ego in check and increase your personal wealth.

Heads up – We aim to produce honest and accurate content, however, we are not financial advisors. If you need financial advice, Unbiased can connect you with a suitable professional for free. Some of our links may earn us a small commission to help us run the site.

The phone rang - it was the car salesman

The phone rang and a local number showed on the screen, though I didn’t recognise it. The chirpy, cheeky-chappy voice on the other end was the salesman from my local car dealer. He was calling, with an excited tone much like a puppy straining for its walk, to inform me I was now able to upgrade my wife’s car.

Three years ago I had ‘bought’ the budget-friendly and very sensible Hyundai on PCP. It was the first time I had borrowed money for a car. But at the time it was the best option open to me to preserve cash. And it was still a pre-reg car that was a good deal.

Originally, it was a four-year deal and I was now able to ‘upgrade’ nine months early. As far as the salesman was concerned, this was already a done deal.

I got sucked in

I duly went to the car showroom and looked at the newer models. I did my research online to gauge the current and future market value of the cars I was considering. I built complex spreadsheets to analyse the total cost of ownership and running costs.

But crucially, and here’s where it started going really wrong, I started looking at more expensive cars. I was lured in by the leather seats, flashy wheels and prestige brands. Now I was into the world of BMW, Mercedes and Audi. And even though the budget was getting blown, I kept justifying it to myself.

I had the money, technically, but this wasn’t just lifestyle creep, it was ego.


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“I thought the brand said something about me”

The budget that was now creaking at the seams was starting to worry me. I was finding the whole process quite stressful. It was only when my wife turned around to me and said – “But I like my car. Why are we changing it?”

Boom. Time to re-evaluate my mindset. Why was I doing this?

These cars didn’t offer anything more than our current car. They were no safer, no bigger or more comfortable. Perhaps a bit faster, but we don’t need that.

The reality was, I was buying into the brand and the badge because I thought that said something about me. It takes courage to commit that to paper for everyone to read. But if we’re honest with ourselves, isn’t that true for all of us?

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Saving money = the gap between wealth and ego

If I had achieved all my financial goals, then one could argue I could afford this indulgence of my ego.

But I haven’t, not yet. Whilst I technically could have afforded the more expensive cars, they would have reduced the amount I was able to save and invest.

In turn, my financial goals would have stretched further away. For what? Thinking people look at me differently for the badge of my car? What a load of codswallop.

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Truth - other people imagine themselves driving your Audi

When you drive past in your BMW/Audi/Porche, people are not thinking about you inside.

They are not wondering about what your innate qualities may be that has allowed you to afford such luxury. They do not think about how successful you are. Nor do they aspire to be you. They are imagining themselves in that car. That’s it. Simple.

It’s not about you. It’s about them. And that’s the same for all of us. Fundamentally, the only person we really care about is ourselves. We think about ourselves an awful lot.

And when you’ve driven past, they stop thinking about that random car and continue their day obsessing about themselves.

Is it really worth delaying your financial dreams for that? Remember, it’s all in your head.

How to combat your ego - know your 'why'

It is easy to be sabotaged by our ego. It happens to the best of us and no one is immune. It’s human nature.

The way to protect yourself from your ego is to have a ‘Why’.

But that’s not enough. Your ‘Why’ has to be;

  • big, bold and brave – your long term goals need to be bold and brash, otherwise, they won’t be enough.
  • specific – be really clear on what that financial goal will achieve for you. How will it make you feel? How does it support your core values?
  • clear with timelines – the clearer you are about when you want to achieve your goals, the stronger you will be. Even better, have a firm understanding of how increasing your saving/investing rate will bring this timeline forward.

That’s still not enough. You need to absorb, live and breathe them. Here are some perhaps cheesy, but proven tricks –

  • write them down – the physical exercise of writing them down on some card helps them stick.
  • repeat them – we learn through frequency. Repeat them every morning and evening when your mind is most receptive to information.
  • have them visible – stick them on the mirror, the fridge or your workspace.

Get more Money Mindset tips – 4 Money Mindset Steps to Destroy your Debt.

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Wealth is what you don’t see

Britain is well-known for its class system. But what cars do the upper class or truly wealthy drive?

Go to any Gymkhana (it’s an event for horsey people riding their finest steeds) and you generally don’t see lines of Audis and BMWs on PCP. You’ll find tired old estate cars, creaking 4x4s and battered horse trailers. Vehicles which were bought outright and kept for decades.

You see, true wealth is silent. It is created by sacrificing the material things you could buy today, for more choice, options and time in the future.

I beat my ego

It’s not easy being honest with yourself (or Internet strangers) about your ego.

However, it was a valuable exercise and a reminder to myself. I’m pleased to report that I beat the ego this time around.

Having revisited the spreadsheet, I decided the best route for us was to buy our existing car. We’ll then own it as an asset, albeit a depreciating one, and keep it for many years to come.

The one caveat to owning it for the rest of its life is perhaps to move to something a bit more eco-friendly, which I’m keen to do. After all, what’s the point in living our best life if the planet we live on is dying?

Always stay vigilant

Ego is part of human nature. Whilst it can at times be harnessed for good, more often than not it can sabotage our dreams.

Always stay vigilant. Embrace self-awareness. And be receptive to others when they highlight our ego in action. It could save you a fortune.

Here’s to Financial Fitness does not offer financial advice and is intended for reference/information only. Remember, you should always carry out your own research and/or take specific professional advice before choosing any financial products or services or undertaking any business or financial venture. If you need financial advice Unbiased can connect you with a suitable professional for free. Investments may go up as well as down and you may get back less than you put in.