NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- When you interview 1,200 of the world's wealthiest people over the past 30 years -- and you're a self-made multi-millionaire yourself -- you know all too well the conventional wisdom on wealth doesn't hold up under serious scrutiny.
That's the deal with Steve Siebold, author of How Rich People Think and a serious student of what makes people rich -- and what doesn't, including those so-called "money phrases" or cliches.
"Be careful. Some of these seemingly harmless phrases about money can actually interfere with the wealth-building process," Siebold says.
"Most of us learn about money from people who don't understand it, and who are well-intentioned people of influence who propagate their ignorance of what wealth means and how it's acquired," Siebold says. "These well-known money cliches that most people use are ingrained in our memory early on, and are rarely if ever questioned. Is it any wonder that most of us are broke?"
Siebold has a short list of "favorite" quotes that can send Main Street Americans down the wrong path to wealth creation:
"It takes money to make money": Siebold calls this famous line "limiting" and "destructive." The key to genuine wealth is having great ideas that solve problems -- that's how you make money. "If you do that, you will attract money like a magnet," he says. "Wealthy investors are always on the lookout for the next big investment they can sink their teeth into."
"Money doesn't grow on trees": Uncle Sam uses cotton and linen to print money, but that's not the point. "Figuratively speaking, money does grow on trees; and the trees are ideas," Siebold says. "This belief sets people up to believe money is scarce and difficult to earn, instead of seeing money as abundant and earning it is as easy as solving a problem through persistent, creative thought.
"Another day, another dollar": This cliche is actually self-defeating, Siebold says. "The masses trade time for money," he says. "This creates the belief that making money is a linear process directly connected to time," a big mistake. "The average person believes the only way to make more money is to work more hours," he adds. "Big money requires thinking about it in non-linear terms."
"Money is the root of all evil": Hogwash. In reality, this quote, which goes back centuries, says it's the "the love" of money that is the root of all evil. That's a "serious misquote," Siebold says. "Decide to be proud of your ambition and ignore people who tell you that wanting to be rich is wrong."
"A penny saved is a penny earned": You might as well say "I see little opportunities, at the expense of big ones."According to Siebold, saving in itself is not bad, but the masses are so focused on clipping coupons and living frugally that they miss major opportunities. "People must reject this nickel-and-dime thinking and focus their mental energy where it belongs: on the big money."