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15 Mind Hacks to Train Your Brain for Financial Success

Written By Millen Livis

In this article, I’m going to share with you some simple and proven “mind hacks” that will help you move the needle on a scale of financial success, just like they helped me and my clients.

These “mind hacks” are deceptively simple yet can create a profound effect in your financial reality… when you implement them!

Devil is always in the execution, right?

Let’s start with somewhat controversial but factual statement… 

Money is not a problem. You are. 

More specifically, your mind is.

In other words, our brain is not set up in a way that makes it easy to be financially independent.

Because humans have faulty ways of thinking and behaving that are hardwired into our brains! 

And, if unchecked, these ways of thinking and behaving can prevent you from living your best rich lives.

That’s why sometimes it “seems” like you do everything right – work hard, focus on making more money, having more clients, learning new marketing tools, etc. – yet still have more expenses than money… and don’t experience the EASE and FLOW with your money reality.

Being aware of your mental biases and blocks can help increase your probability for financial success, help create more wealth, feel more confident and happy.

So, here’re my 15 “mind hacks”.

Mind Hack #1:

Know what really motivates you

Different people are motivated by different goals… 

Some are more motivated by avoiding pain and avoiding losses – these people will be willing to take action and do whatever it takes to avoid pain or losses (e.g. loss of personal freedom, money, health, relationships, etc.).

Other people are more motivated by experiencing pleasure and gains – these people are driven by having prestigious careers, exotic vacations, latest versions of iPhone or designer brand clothes (like Armani or Gucci), luxury cars (like Lamborghini), big houses and yachts.

Yet others are content with modest lifestyle but are not willing to compromise on personal and financial freedom.


Get very clear about what motivates YOU the most, and use this awareness to get through any challenges and obstacles in life. 

You can state your goals using pain or gain emotions. 

For example, which one of these phrases resonates more with you?

  • Being Financially Independent ensures that I won’t have to worry about money and will not run out of money (in this statement the focus is on pain aversion


  • Being Financially Independent will help me maximize my resources so I will enjoy more Freedom of Choice, Time, Location, etc. (here the focus is on gain attainment)

When you set goals, phrase them in different ways — emphasizing the pain OR the gain. 

See which option feels more motivating to you and focus on that!

Mind Hack #2:

Reframe “I Can’t” or “I can’t afford it” into 

“I don’t” or ‘I choose not to”

A study of consumer behaviors found that people who used the words “I choose not to” or “I don’t” versus “I can’t afford it” or “I can’t”  — as in, “I don’t eat ice-cream” instead of “I can’t eat ice-cream” — were nearly twice as likely to resist the temptation of making unhealthy choices.

Saying “I cannot afford it” OR “ I can’t” creates a sense of lack and denial.

Saying “I don’t” or ‘I choose not to” creates a sense of empowerment and control over a situation.

Think about all of the decisions you make with regard to your finances…. 

Some choices involve denying yourself something in the present (denying experience of instant gratification) so that you can create a more secure future.

For example, you want a new phone or a new car, but you could also be saving and investing that money.

So, instead of saying “I can’t afford a latest i-phone,” you could say “I choose not to spend money on the new iPhone now.”

Mind Hack #3:

Appreciate how money makes everything easier

We all know the expression “money cannot buy you happiness”, right? 

Well, to a large extent, it can!

Because money makes everything easier.  

  1. You can enjoy more experiences – travel around the world,  hire your favorite coaches, or attend favorite concerts
  2. You can help your parents to retire earlier and your children to pay for crazy expensive colleges or help to buy a house
  3. You can treat yourself with massages and beach vacations
  4. You can buy time by hiring help  – to clean, to cook, to walk the dog
  5. You can pay for your purchases in full, without worrying about debt
  6. You can invest in causes that you support

So, money really makes everything easier… 

This attitude will help you have a healthy relationship with money, which is very important for financial success. 

Mind Hack #4:

Practice setting intentions and guesstimating

Setting clear intentions is a powerful tool for achieving financial success. 

For example, stating your intention to yourself (and to the universe) that you want  to live close to the ocean/or a sea/or a lake, that you want to have a 3-bedroom home with a garden, and to receive $10K or $20K or 30K passive income per month will start the process of manifesting your dream life!

The challenge with setting intentions that many people have is…avoiding making decisions because they have a lot of “unknown information.” 

So, the uncertainty of the future, the unknown information, the ambiguity of possibilities discourage many people from planning and guesstimating!

For examples: When you plan your Financial Independence Lifestyle or your retirement, you’ve got to guesstimate how long you expect to  live, potential future inflation rates, potential returns on your investments, and other factors that are actually “unknowable”. 

Not being able to “know” this information can make planning feel impossible, and many people just avoid it altogether.

Some people also choose to have a super-conservative investment strategy because of the discomfort around unknown factors— they choose to invest in bonds where the returns are “considered” safe, rather than in stocks or cryptos, which are more volatile but historically offer higher returns on investment.

How to handle our inherent discomfort about unknown future? 

Here’s an idea for you:  Choose to consider best- and worst-case scenarios when you’re guesstimating. This approach will ease the pressure around unknowns.

For example, when you plan asset allocation in your investment portfolio, consider investing money for your “must have” lifestyle expenses in conservative financial vehicles (precious metals, bonds, annuities, and cash) and your  “want to have” lifestyle expenses in more growth-oriented vehicles (e.g. stocks and cryptos). 

Mind Hack #5:

Be decisive (practice making decisions quickly)

Napoleon Hill, who interviewed thousands of successful people, concluded in his famous book “Think and Grow Rich” said: 

“Successful people make decisions fast and rarely or never change their mind; Unsuccessful people make decisions slowly and change their mind often. “ 

Also, in the book “Decisive: How to Make Better Choices in Life and Work,” authors talk about 4 traps to good decision making:

  1. Limiting yourself (not considering enough options).
  2. Making wrong assumptions (and paying attention ONLY to what you think you should pay attention to)
  3. Making decisions from a place of fear and other low-frequency emotions.
  4. Righteous attitude (Overconfidence)

So, to make better decisions, the authors suggest:  

  1. To Consider wider pool of options
  2. To Use Reality-tested assumptions
  3. To Release emotional attachments before making decisions, so that you respond instead of react
  4. To Be open to admit your mistakes and course-correct

And I like what Larry Winget, one of my mentors, said “Make a decision, then make the decision right.”

Mind Hack #6:

Take Calculated Risk

To make your money work for you, you’ve got to invest. However, any investing involves risk. And most people are risk-averse.

Research indicates that people are much more stressed by the prospect of losing money than they are excited by the potential of gaining money. 

This inherent risk-aversion makes investing money tricky for many people. 

That’s why knowing risk management techniques is a crucial aspect of successful investing.

You‘ve got to be able to take calculated risk, limit and sustain potentially temporary losses if you want to ultimately achieve great ROI (return on your investment).

Mind Hack #7:

Have a broad perspective on your financial future and 

Plan for it NOW

People tend to focus 100% on their present needs and overlook the importance of planning for their financial future and retirement.

We focus on how to pay the mortgage, how to pay for vacations, for kids’ colleges, for cars and holiday presents, etc.

Yet, we’ve got to balance our present and future financial priorities and the earlier you start, the easier it is to get the desired financial results.

Also, many people focus on saving for retirement and are afraid to invest money because they are afraid to lose it (especially those who lost money before while investing it).

They feel that Savings are the only safe place for their money.

While savings are important because savings are seeds of your wealth, savings are  just one aspect of your financial security… and often it’s NOT even the most important aspect of successful retirement planning.

When you decide to stop working, you’ll need to have income that would cover your lifestyle expenses during your retirement. 

 So, figuring out how to turn savings into retirement income and understanding your future lifestyle cost are probably more important for your financial future than how much savings you need.

That’s why you’ve got to educate yourself about all the factors that impact your financial future and have a bigger perspective on your financial priorities and financial planning.  

Mind Hack #8:

Be mindful of your environment

As the old saying goes “you become like the 5 people you spend most time with.”   

There is a behavioral observation that we have the inclination to do things because many other people do them, particularly your family members and friends.

We get “entrained” into others’ beliefs and energetic states.

For example: Research shows that many people who have spouses, partners and friends who are knowledgeable and proactive with their finances are more likely to be financially stable themselves.

Unfortunately, the reverse is also true… 

Many people in the United States have an extremely low financial intelligence and don’t make planning for financial future to be one of their top priorities.

That’s why I intend to start a “female Investors club” next year to provide a friendly forum for learning about financial topics so women can  have a better chance of being financially successful. 

Contact me if you’re interested in joining this female investors’ club – it will be by application only!

Mind Hack #9:

Know yourself and your predispositions

Warren Buffett famously said thatRisk comes from NOT knowing what you are doing.” 

It is a known phenomenon that people have the tendency to sell an asset that has increased in value and have a hard time selling an asset than has dropped in value.

Yet this is not the best strategy but a personal predisposition. 

For Example: I sometimes have this predisposition. I am currently holding $4,000 worse of shares of some small company that offers psychedelic products… I bought it a while ago for $8,000. That’s 50% paper loss right there.

However, I don’t really want to sell it. And I still spend time thinking about it and tracking it, instead of just getting rid of it.

On the other hand, I am tempted to take my gains on NVDIA stock — even though I think that it is a good company to hold for the longer term.

There are a few ways to deal with these biases – aka personal predispositions – in regards to investments:

  • Have an investment plan — or asset allocation plan — which is a document that outlines what assets you’re invested in and why. This prevents you from making impulsive decisions.
  • Work with a professional – a financial advisor or financial coach to avoid emotional and irrational decision

Because many people simply cannot keep their emotions out of their financial decision-making. 

A financial coach can act as your rational guide and a soundboard to help you make better financial decisions and keep your investments on track for the long term.

Mind Hack #10:

 Be open to downsizing & decluttering

There is a known phenomenon that it’s harder for people to give up on something than to acquire it. (In other words, it takes much more effort and willingness to give up on what you have than acquire something new).

Most people think that “things” they already own, especially things that have some emotional attachment, are more valuable, so they tend to want to keep them.

For example: Homes…Homes are most valuable assets for most people. 

However, at some point in our lives, it makes sense to downsize OR maybe access home equity, if you need money OR want money for something (e.g. to invest in an income-producing asset.)

Sometimes, people want to keep their homes to pass to their children.   

Other times, they want to stay where they have always lived (even if it is too big for them now, since kids are grown up and out of the house).

Oftentimes, people stay in their old homes even though they would like to live in a warmer climate, yet they stay in the same town they were born in or lived for a long time.

Whatever the reason might be, homes are very emotionally-charged assets. Would you agree?  

And so, being aware that your brain has this tendency to want to keep what you already have, what’s familiar… this awareness can help you make more rational choices and better financial decisions. 

Another thing that can help you make more informed rational decisions is to make a list of pros and cons for keeping some things in your life instead of downsizing by selling them or decluttering by donating them.

You can even ask yourself: 

If I didn’t already own this, would I pay for it? How much effort and money would I put into acquiring it?

For example, with the house example, make a list of what you could gain from selling your home — maybe a better lifestyle, saving money on high maintenance cost and property taxes, maybe earlier retirement, or moving closer to family.

Mind Hack #11:

Be mindful of inflation

Money does not have inherent value. The value of money resides in how much it can purchase — which changes over time.

The money illusion is the tendency people have to think of money in terms of the numerical amount, instead of the purchasing power of money.

Buying power of money — how much you can buy with your money — is more important than how much money you have

And here the thing is… The purchasing power of your money in retirement is more important than the amount of savings on your accounts.

For example: How much is $3 worth? Well, 10 years ago, 3 dollars could buy a loaf of bread. And it might seem like $3 would still buy a loaf of bread, but the reality is that the average price of a loaf of bread is more than $6. Never mind that it used to cost $1.50 back 30 years ago.

And look at milk and meat prices…or housing and cars prices.

The money illusion can be really confusing… So, it’s really important to understand the concept of buying power — especially with regards to inflation and its impact on your retirement.

For example, if you are getting a 7% return on your investments, but inflation rate is at 6.8% (as it is right now in the U.S), then the real value of your ROI is only 0.2%.

So, when planning your financial future and retirement, it is essential that you factor inflation into your calculations.

Mind Hack #12:

Live in the present, plan for the future

There is another known phenomenon – Present bias.

Present bias is the tendency we have to focus on the time that is closer to the present moment than the time that farther in the future.

For example: It is a well-documented fact that you are more likely to spend money on something that provides instant gratification NOW rather than save that money for your future.

I love the quote by Abraham Lincoln who said “The Discipline is choosing between what you want NOW and what you want the MOST.”

Present bias is one of the main reasons why saving and investing for retirement is so difficult for so many people.

One of the ways to overcome this bias is to imagine a picture of what your life might look like as an old person….Where would you live, what would you do, who will be there with you…. 

You can truly visualize yourself in the future and this will help you save and invest money, eat better, exercise, and overall take care of your future self.

Mind Hack #13:

Balance ALL your financial priorities

When it comes to money, we’re wired to focus on what we need and want in the near future – like buying a house, paying for kids’ college, buying a new car, going on vacation – and often procrastinate on planning and acting for our financial future.

To illustrate how problematic this approach to money management is, let me share with you a story commonly attributed to Irving Zola:

“You and a friend are having a picnic by the side of a river. Suddenly you hear a shout from the direction of the water — a child is drowning.

Without thinking, you both dive in, grab the child and swim to shore. Before you can recover, you hear another child cry for help. You jump back in the river to rescue her as well.

Then another struggling child drifts into sight, and another, and another! The two of you can barely keep up. 

Suddenly, you see your friend walking out of the water, leaving you alone with the situation!

“Where are you going?” you ask with frustration. 

Your friend answers, “I’m going upstream to tackle the guy who’s throwing all these kids in the water.”

The point of the story is that you cannot continue react to life situations, especially when it comes to your finances.  

At some point, you‘ve got to start solving the underlying causes of money problems, so that you balance ALL your financial priorities, present and future.

You cannot be free of money worries and enjoy your retirement years if you live paycheck-to-paycheck now and constantly have to figure out how to pay for everything you need today.

You’ve got to manage ALL your financial priorities, including your financial future (your retirement) by planning, budgeting, saving, and investing.

Mind Hack #14:

Be mindful of and 

Break from the Status quo bias

Most people have the status quo bias, which is the implied desire to keep things the same.

Because it is more comfortable to keep the familiar, the known, the predictable than to make any kind of big change. 

In fact, often breaking from the status quo takes courage and faith.

For example: While many people are pretty excited about their retirement, it can be really hard to actually stop working.

I believe that part of the difficulty can be attributed to our desire to just keep the status quo, keep the familiar.

I first retired about 12 years ago, felt unfulfilled… unexpressed in terms of my knowledge and experience…So, I started another business…

Let me share with you 3 tips about overcoming the status quo bias:

  1. Recall past big changes or challenges that you overcame and remind yourself that you are capable of transformation.
  2. Break it up into smaller milestones — maybe don’t retire all at once. Maybe take a long sabbatical first or work part time for a while… That’s what I am thinking about for myself.☺
  3. Identify potential obstacles and plan how to handle them if you are going to retire in your future.

I speak with a lot of women and, sadly, some have no choice but work in their mid-seventies. 

Mind Hack #15:

Be willing to make small changes 

to achieve your ultimate goals 

One of my mentors says “Most people think there’re people who “Have” and “Have Not”. The reality is, there’re people who are “Willing” and “Not willing” to do whatever it takes to achieve their goals.

When you want to make important changes in life, you’ve got to be willing to make changes – in your habits, your environment, your skills… 

And it is often more realistic and more empowering to start with small changes rather than try to fix everything all at once. 

Because even small changes and focus on progress allow you to get rid of sabotaging habits and develop healthy/supportive habits.

So, if you want to become financially independent, you don’t need to become a millionaire in the next year. 

You just need to start saving, even if it’s just small amounts, and learn how to invest your money so it starts working for you.

Look… of course, it’s important to have clear intentions and goals. 

However, it’s just as important to take consistent continuous action towards your goals, so that you align your everyday choices and decisions with these goals.

Goals provide direction.

Habits, choices, and actions help you make progress every day… not matter how small the progress may be. 

For example: instead of focusing on how much you need to save to achieve a secure retirement, break down the goal into smaller action steps — how much can you save each week/month/year? 

Decide how can you track your cash flow (income and expenses) so you can actually measure your progress!

By the way, you can outsource your money management to a financial advisor OR you can create your own retirement plan and check on it monthly or quarterly, making small adjustments for more wealth in your future!

And here you have 15 mind hacks to train your brain for financial success.

If you want to discuss with me your current roadblocks to your financial success and strategies you must implement to remove them, book your complimentary consultation “Never Worry About Money Again”. 

Act decisively…always.

To your Health, Wealth and Freedom.

P.S. If you want to start investing strategically, DOWNLOAD the FREE BEGINNER INVESTOR TOOLKIT now!

Let me help you map out your unique fastest path to Financial Independence. 

About the Author

Millen is a Wealth architect and Financial Independence Coach, entrepreneur, and a bestselling author. Being a Possibilities' Catalyst, she uses her intuition, business, and investment expertise to support entrepreneurial women (like you) who want to master their money, live their purpose achieve financial prosperity and freedom. With her physics and business education, corporate and entrepreneurial experience, money management know-how, mindfulness practices and transformational coaching skills, Millen has a unique ability to guide and support clients in achieving extraordinary success in their lives.

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