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How Mark got like this

By any measure, Mark’s a financial outperformer. He earns $390,000 a year working as a physician and has managed to accumulate rental properties collectively worth $2 million. He says these properties generate $8,000 a month in passive income.

Yet, despite the immense cash flow, Mark can’t handle the concept of his wife and children spending any money. “If we go to dinner and the kids want an extra drink, I’ll say yes but inside [I think] ‘Man, that’s extra $3 we could have saved,’” he explains.

Co-host John Delony quickly deduces the issue: Mark grew up poor.

His family struggled financially and that experience made Mark hyper-conservative with money. “Give yourself some grace, your nervous system is wired this way,” Delony reassured him.

Parents facing financial hardship could impact their children’s psychology, according to the American Psychology Association. Kids who witness financial strain face higher likelihoods of mental health issues.

Meanwhile, a study conducted by the University of Michigan found that even children as young as 5 displayed emotions related to spending and saving money that may have been influenced by their parents’ money habits.

Put simply, Mark’s attitude to money has been shaped by his parents, and he’s likely to similarly impact his children's perception of money. But he admits that his tight-fisted approach is impacting his marriage.

To break the cycle, Mark needs to gain a fresh perspective on his family’s fortune.

Read more: Suze Orman says Americans are poorer than they think — but having a dream retirement is so much easier when you know these 3 simple money moves

A new perspective

Mark’s immense net worth of $7.3 million puts his family nearly within the top 2% of American households, according to data from the Federal Reserve. However, wealth doesn’t necessarily correlate with lifestyle and spending patterns. Warren Buffett, for instance, exclusively buys used cars and lives in the same house he bought in 1958.

However, Delony thinks this level of financial restraint is unnecessary. “You’re running for your life,” he tells Mark. “That’s a little absurd; you’re pretty wealthy.”

The co-hosts convince him to stop fixating on money and take a step back to work on his relationships. Mark claims working part-time, three days a week, would reduce his annual income to $290,000, but agrees that it would give him more time to spend with his wife and children.

“Do it. I love the idea that you’ve worked hard enough that you get to work part-time and spend more time with your family,” says co-host Jade Cranshaw. “Embrace that. I think that’s excellent.”

Delony adds he knows exactly what Mark’s going through — he too struggles with a voice in his head that urges him to save every cent. But he emphasizes that this is something Mark can change by simply being aware of it and gently resisting that instinct.

“It’s going to be uncomfortable at first, but the more you’re mindful of it, the more you accept it, the more your body goes ‘Alright, we’re OK now,’” Delony reassured him.

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About the Author

Vishesh Raisinghani

Vishesh Raisinghani

Freelance Writer

Vishesh Raisinghani is a freelance contributor at MoneyWise. He has been writing about financial markets and economics since 2014 - having covered family offices, private equity, real estate, cryptocurrencies, and tech stocks over that period. His work has appeared in Seeking Alpha, Motley Fool Canada, Motley Fool UK, Mergers & Acquisitions, National Post, Financial Post, and Yahoo Canada.

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