The Psychology of Money

The Psychology of Money

Money may be a physical thing – the paper in your wallet, the coins in your pocket, the numbers in your bank account – but it comes with a whole lot of psychological baggage that affects our lives in a profound, yet intangible way. Our regard for money is described as our “money personality” and, as with humankind, there are a whole lot of money personalities out there. The key difference, however, is that these personality traits are learned throughout our lives – through our parents, upbringing, life teachers, circumstances, and more… which means that negative money personalities can be unlearned.

This is a good thing!

The different types of money personalities

The best things in life are free but undeniably, money is important. It facilitates life in this day and age in which we live. With money, we are able to live well, eat well, look after our health, educate ourselves and our children, afford to travel, and more. Without it, we find ourselves lacking and this can take a tremendous toll on life’s most important things: our relationships. Through lifelong exposure to money, every person has developed a money attitude.

How do you feel about money? Here are the three most defined money attitudes:

  • “Money will solve all of my problems” – They worship money, which means that they likely place it above all other worldly concerns. If that’s so, they’re probably willing to do whatever it takes to earn it, even if it means hurting or neglecting their health and spending long hours in the office.
  • “Money gives me status” – The attitude that money buys status (and status is everything) will likely see them using it to buy flashy things (clothing, cars, jewellery, etc.) but also judging other people’s worth by their possessions.
  • “Money is the root of all evil” – People who shun money as materialistic and unimportant don’t like to concern themselves with smart money habits like rainy day savings or insurance. They may not be broke or in debt but money in typically equals money out and, in an emergency, they may find themselves in serious trouble.

These examples essentially highlight the four money personalities:

  1. Money worship
  2. Money status (your self-worth = net worth)
  3. Money mistrust/avoidance
  4. Money vigilance

Which one are you?

Changing your money personality

The great thing about money personalities is that they’re learned, which means they can be unlearned. First, however, you need to discover your core money personality and come to terms with them. You might think there’s nothing wrong with using money to buy nice things… but there is something wrong with believing that store-bought status makes you a better human being than anyone else. Equally, you might think you’ve got the right attitude by believing that money isn’t important, but there is something wrong with not saving and making provision for the future.

Assess your money personality honestly and decide on the things you’d like to change, whether it will better your financial situation or your humanity!

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