Written by therapist Treshana Lewis
Do you ever wonder why you have such a difficult time maintaining a budget and sticking to your savings plan? You are not alone. According to a recent bankrate survey, “more than half, 51%, of Americans have less than three months’ worth of emergency savings”.
What if I told you your struggle with managing money goes deeper than a lack of discipline and impulsive shopping sprees at Target? Our habits, patterns, and behaviors around money are severely impacted by our money scripts. In the financial health world, money scripts are considered to be unconscious, trans-generational beliefs about money.
Before we were able to understand the power and value of money, our money scripts were already being formed. This is because money scripts develop throughout childhood as we see our parent(s)/caregiver(s) save, squander, invest, withhold, budget, hoard, donate, or anxiously observe their money. Your beliefs about money are the key factors in understanding your financial missteps and victories.
There are four types of money scripts; money avoidance, money worship, money status, and money vigilance. Keep reading to find out your money script.
Money Avoidance is characterized by the belief that money is evil. Have you ever played with the thought that wealthy individuals are corrupt and greedy? Money avoiders tend to believe living on less money is virtuous and oftentimes feel unworthy of having money. You may be a money avoider if you find yourself refraining from thinking about money or your financial statements. Do you swipe your card like there is no limit, enable others by supporting them financially, or have difficulty honoring a budget? These are indicators of money avoidance.
Money Worship is the belief that the “almighty dollar” is the only means to happiness. Do you think money will be the best solution to all of your problems? Although money worshippers believe money is the key to happiness, they also believe no amount of money will truly ever make them happy. Money worshippers are prone to buying things compulsively. Do your purchases revolve heavily around credit card debt? Do you struggle with workaholism and putting your various relationships to the back burner? If so, these are signs of money worship.
Money Status is centered around the belief that money defines who you are. If you find yourself thinking, “my network is my self-worth,” or, “all I have to do is live right and money will come my way,” then you may fall under the money status umbrella. Do you pretend or lie about your financial circumstances in order to keep up with the Jones’? Do you enjoy gambling or find yourself being on the verge of getting caught in its web of addiction? These are indicators that one believes money equals status.
Money Vigilance is associated with the belief that saving money is of the most importance. Money vigilantes are firm believers in working for their money and not accepting financial charity. Money vigilantes are also known for their alertness and concern about their financial well-being. When engaging in a conversation with a money vigilante, they may appear to be on edge, anxious, and secretive about their money. If they don’t have cash available to purchase an item, they will most likely not buy it. Is utilizing credit your absolute last resort? If so, this is a sign of money vigilance.
Money scripts, like any other belief system, can be extremely difficult to break free from. Though it may be difficult, it is not impossible. Here are a few tips to help you establish healthy beliefs, behaviors, and patterns about money. Remember to not beat yourself up. Every step towards the right direction draws you closer to your destination.
Money Avoidance Tips
Establish a healthy rhythm of engaging with your finances by checking your balance and financial statements weekly. It is best if you have a consistent day and time every week to review your finances and how you are managing them. Set attainable money goals and utilize a budget. Reward yourself for reaching your goals!
Money Worship Tips
It was once said it is better to give than to receive. By giving to charity or others, you are loosening the grip that idolizing money has on you. Another way to manage money worship is to reflect on other areas in your life that bring fulfillment and happiness. Go and engage in those activities. There are many messages in society that cater to money worship, but as you give to others and reflect, you will be swimming to better shores.
Money Status Tips
The best thing for an individual that associates money and wealth to their self-worth is slowing down your thought processes. You can do this by asking yourself the following questions.
- What is the purpose of buying this item?
- How will buying this item impact me emotionally?
- Will this feeling be temporary or long-lasting?
- Do I have the means to pay for this item?
- In a week from now how will I feel about the purchase?
After answering these questions, you will be able to make financial decisions with clarity.
Money Vigilant Tips
Allow yourself to have fun with your money. Create room in your budget for activities that are life giving. If you continuously worry or constantly check your finances, limit yourself. This can be done by implementing a healthy rhythm of engaging with your finances by checking your balance and financial statements only once or twice a week.
If you are reading this article and want to begin exploring your money scripts and financial health, we would love to connect with you and support you on your journey. Give us a call today to schedule an appointment.