In Gratitude

by Charles Richards, Ph.D. on February 24, 2012

To say that I am pleased and surprised at the response to my new book, The Psychology of Wealth, would be an understatement. Since its release on January 17, it has reached the top of multiple bestseller lists in short order. Here are some of the places the book has traveled so far:

#2 New York Times Bestseller
#1 on Wall Street Journal Business list
#1 on USA Today Money List
#1 on Amazon
#1 on Barnes & Noble

Mostly I am grateful to the many people who shared their time, expertise and, most importantly, their awe-inspiring stories of perseverance, courage, and success for the book. I credit much of the book’s warm reception to them. Their hard-won insights about how to make better, more conscious choices about their lives and their finances are clearly resonating with readers. I thank every one of them.

In the face of the upending economic changes we’ve experienced over the past few years, many of us have been reexamining our view of “the good life” and the meaning of prosperity. We’re learning that, contrary to some reports, the American Dream—and an even more encompassing version of it—is alive and well. Real wealth is far more than having money and toys—it is a state of consciousness. How we think and feel is the key to making that dream come true.

Thanks again, everyone.

Your Mind and Wallet

by Charles Richards, Ph.D. on January 31, 2012

CNBC “BULLISH ON BOOKS” BLOG – Guest blog piece from Dr. Richards ran 1/30. See:

GUEST AUTHOR BLOG: The Wealth Archetype—Understanding the Positive and Shadow Nature of Wealth by Dr. Charles Richards author of, The Psychology of Wealth: Understand Your Relationship with Money and Achieve Prosperity.

The Psychology of Wealth

Much of our financial behavior as individuals is based on our underlying attitudes about money and wealth. The more conscious you are of your personal psychology of wealth when making financial and career decisions, the more you can use this self-knowledge to your advantage. One way to uncover and strengthen your individual psychology of wealth is to look at wealth through the lens of psychological archetypes. Archetypes are concepts or patterns within the psyche that we inherit simply by being human and that affect us unconsciously. They predispose us to behave in certain recognizable ways. Wealth is such an archetype.

Like many things in our world, archetypes have a dual nature. Like up and down, light and dark, and hot and cold, an archetype has two faces. One is the archetype’s constructive, idealized expression; the other is its destructive, or shadow, expression. The archetype’s constructive expression represents its potential for supporting positive growth and fulfillment. The shadow expression is its negative underside, along with its potential to hamper progress toward our real goals. These two expressions lie on a continuum; one person rarely expresses the purely negative or positive aspect.

When we recognize the wealth archetype in our own attitudes and behavior, we can use this understanding to consciously steer our course rather than allow it to unconsciously drive or sabotage us. Our individual concepts of wealth can inspire and motivate us, or they can lead to stress and burnout. To generate the life you want, you can reinforce the positive aspects of the wealth archetype in your awareness and actions.

The Negative Side of Wealth

The shadow, or destructive, side of the wealth archetype is constrictive, suspicious, miserly, competitive, arrogant, self-serving, punitive, judgmental, indulgent, and disempowering. This side of wealth is driven by fear and insecurity. It is often accompanied by anxiety and blaming others. Operating in this state floods the body with stress hormones and can actually contribute to disease and disorders of the heart.

I’ve seen examples of this psychology in some of the executives and entrepreneurs I’ve coached over the years. They are highly capable people but live in dread that they will be discovered to be frauds. Each day they soldier on, hoping that others keep believing they’re good enough, while not really believing it themselves. Many feel that resources are limited and must be aggressively guarded. Paradoxically, this holds them back from experiencing the joy that success should bring. In a corporate setting, it can derail their rise to the top; entrepreneurs may have few genuine friends.

The Positive Side of Wealth

The positive expression of the wealth archetype encompasses four primary qualities: generosity, proficiency, creativity, and discernment. Thus, the idealized expression of the wealth archetype is generous, empowering, expansive, joyful, humorous, playful, regenerative, innovative, and service-oriented. At its core, this expression of wealth is never self-serving; it serves a higher cause or principle beyond the mere accumulation of assets. This principle may be spiritual, philanthropic, healing, patriotic, or otherwise positive. Wealth becomes a vehicle to realize a goal of service in the world.

“When we recognize the wealth archetype in our own attitudes and behavior, we can use this understanding to consciously steer our course rather than allow it to unconsciously drive or sabotage us.” – Dr. Charles Richards, The Psychology of Wealth

The creative expression of the wealth archetype recognizes that the world offers a nearly infinite abundance of resources, with more than enough to enrich those who have the desire and will to pursue their dreams. The person who embraces this expression is dynamic and continually evolving. Such individuals are encouraging of others.

If your view of wealth includes these positive qualities, you will naturally attract like-minded people. Your inner sense of expansiveness and your willingness to grow will create situations in which you can experience the freedom to be your best. This may take hard work, perseverance, and everything you have to give. With this generosity of spirit, however, you can begin from wherever you are and take substantive steps toward true wealth.

A powerful way to cultivate the positive archetype of wealth in yourself is to practice giving. Sometimes the negative archetype may reveal itself in a hesitation to give freely for fear that you will not have enough. This feeling can be a self-fulfilling prophecy and is certainly self-defeating. Performing a simple act of generosity can renew your energy, inspiration, and motivation, and is the essence of the positive archetype of wealth.

#1 on Amazon and Barnes & Noble

by Charles Richards, Ph.D. on January 17, 2012

With gratitude for all who supported & inspired its writing, I’m thrilled to report The Psychology of Wealth is currently #1 on Amazon and Barnes & Noble!

Happy New Year

by Charles Richards, Ph.D. on January 3, 2012

Happy New Year, and welcome to my first blog. Starting 2012 with the publication of my book, The Psychology of Wealth, promises to spark many conversations and some soul-searching this year about prosperity in its many forms. I’m looking forward to having these conversations with you. Of course, a new year is a great opportunity to set new goals and resolve to upgrade our financial ways. As a psychotherapist and eternal optimist, I’m familiar with these earnest intentions. So how do we make them stick?  As with any positive change in behavior, one key is to become more conscious of our actions. It’s easy for many of us to fall into unconscious behaviors when it comes to money. To help make your 2012 resolutions about your finances more than wishful thinking, I recommend first taking an honest, conscious, and compassionate look at your financial habits.

How conscious are you of how, where, and why you spend your money? Do any of these unconscious habits sound familiar?

•    You find items that you forgot you had purchased and that you’ve never used or worn.
•    You purchase things without knowing how much you’re paying.
•    Your credit cards are maxed out, and you can’t remember what you bought.
•    You have a TV/DVD/CD player in every room, but you have trouble paying your bills.
•    You are still making payments on things you no longer own.

If you identify with any of these unconscious behaviors, take heart! Next time, I’ll talk about how to turn them around. I’ll suggest specific ways you can take control of your relationship with money, spending, and debt. In the meantime, I wish you a happy, healthy—and prosperous—New Year!