Money Psychology May Play A Starring Role in Your Money Script

Money Psychology May Play A Starring Role in Your Money Script

Libertyville, IL investors, business owners, pre-retirees, and retirees all may have different ideas about money. Some people see money as an element to be sought after, others seek to avoid talking about it or even thinking about it. 

In that respect, money is like most other components of our life: we are acting in accordance with a type of psychology script that charts what we do, often learned very early. 


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You may be able to see this if you look at how you spend your weekends, for instance. Some people see the weekends as a time for leisure-time pursuits, such as golfing or shopping. Others use it to visit family or host large dinner get-togethers. 

Or, you may view cleaning the garage and catching up on gardening and household chores as the ideal way to spend a Saturday afternoon. What you see the weekends as being for varies due to your script, which is often picked up from early childhood.

Well, we all have money scripts, too! The good news about money scripts (or unconscious beliefs about money) is that, if they are causing any issues that hold you back, you can flip the script. No one needs to hold on to a money psychology script that isn’t bringing happiness and satisfaction into their life. 

But to flip the script – even to redo certain parts of it – you have to realize what your money script is. Here are four common money scripts.


1. Money avoidance

If money avoidance is the script, people don’t like – or feel uncomfortable with – discussing money, thinking about money, or managing money. These feelings often stem from early childhood messages they may have received that money is bad, tainted, or that dealing with it makes them a bad person.

Money avoidance can cause problems, simply because a person may not be making enough money to meet their goals, managing it appropriately to meet their life plans or retirement, or spending money inappropriately. Both underspending (not enough for a good life) and overspending (outspending your income) can stem from money avoidance.

Nicely enough, there’s a solution. Make specific plans to check in with your money. A one-hour meeting with yourself to review plans or checkbooks, or a meeting with a financial advisor, is easy to set up and adhere to. Keep going until you and your financial plan are managing your money to meet your goals.


2. Money worship

People whose scripts involve money worship are somewhat the opposite of money avoiders. This group of people likely believe that money is crucial to happiness – perhaps more crucial than any other element. They feel that money is essential to fixing problems.

The potential peril of money worship is that money doesn’t necessarily lead to happiness and the elimination of all problems. A person can have more money than they know what to do with and still not feel satisfaction in their life.

The solution to money worship is to foreground goals, not an amount of money. Do you want to travel, spend time with your grandchildren, or start your own business? You may want to work with a financial planner on that, not on pursuing money for its own sake.


3. Money status

For a money status person, they may feel that the purpose of money is to keep up with the Joneses. If they have a new car and new boat every couple of years, this person not only wants these things, they feel that they must have them to retain standing in the community and even the affection of their family.

The potential issue with money status scripts, though, is one very similar to money worship. You can keep up with every Jones, in every area (work, family, neighborhood), and still not ultimately be living your best life. You may feel unhappy or dissatisfied.

The solution? Think through your personal goals and values. Do you want to leave a business to your children? Give extensively to charity? Then, make a plan to accumulate wealth and spend intentionally, in accordance with your goals and values. Working with a financial advisor on an ongoing basis may help further your goals and values.


4. Money vigilance

Money vigilance, as the term implies, is all about monitoring your money. This person knows how much money they have in terms of income and expenses. They know what their portfolios are doing and what they are invested in. They likely have goals and follow them.

Money vigilance can be healthy – it’s generally healthier than not knowing anything about your financial life, at any rate. But potential downsides certainly exist. You can all too easily end up with a form of hypervigilance. You may become fearful of your financial future and afraid to spend on things like vacations, for example.

The solution is to create positive things to be vigilant about. If your efforts at financial monitoring have centered around retirement and investments, for example, flip the script by planning some fun and relaxation related to money, such as an entertainment or travel budget.


How To Figure Out Your Script

While it’s good to know about these scripts, some people may find that they don’t really know which one they fit into! Perhaps, upon the first read, you think you’re a hybrid of several scripts. 

You might be a money worshipper concerned with retirement because you saw family members as a child who didn’t seem to have enough to live on in their golden years, but a money status when it comes to your own family.

To ascertain your money scripts, think through your early childhood memories about money and finances. Did your parents argue about money? Did they discuss family members or friends and their financial situation? Were those discussions positive or negative? Did one parent avoid money and the other do the work of money vigilance?

Remember, the ultimate purpose of money is to enhance your life. That’s why money is so inextricably bound up with your personal goals and what you want to achieve in life. Take the time to write down your goals and plans – everything from the dream of owning a second house in a sunny clime to a desire to scuba dive. Then, work with a financial planner to achieve the goals you most want.

At Prism Planning Partners, we are CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™️ Professionals committed to facilitating important questions so that we can help you explore all of your opportunities. We offer a broad array of financial planning and consulting services for our clients-including retirement, investment, and estate planning.

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