The psychology of money is a topic rarely discussed but the language of money, that is, the acquisition of it, is one that every person has the ability to learn to speak. For those who have struggled with money for several years, it may be necessary to go beyond the traditional approach of attempting to simply modify one’s behavior by the force of sheer will and to, instead, work on their own personal view of money in order to initiate a long-standing change.
It is likely that most of the financial decisions made by people who have grown accustomed to having money problems have so practiced dealing with this situation that those decisions have now become natural tendencies. If this is the case, identifying those habits and replacing them with positive behavioral alternatives is necessary. One idea that may help encourage a more stringent approach and long-term decision to take control over one’s financial life once and for all could be the possibility that their current frame of mind is costing them money every day and literally sabotaging their potential for growth.
According to John Greco, producer of a new TV show called Thinking Money which premieres this fall, financial stress in a person’s life can have the potential for lowering their IQ by up to 13 points, an equivalent of the loss of one night’s sleep. A Princeton University study concluded that financial worries contribute to high stress levels and another study from Bankrate revealed that over 26 percent of Americans do not have emergency savings funds. That state of living naturally produces feelings of insecurity which will, then, trickle into every area of a person’s life causing poor decision-making and creating feelings of instability.
A spokesperson for the National Foundation for Credit Counseling (NFCC), Gail Cunningham, said that although financial help is accessible, many people resist reaching out for help as a form of the cultural tradition of solving one’s own problems themselves. The NFCC conducted a survey which showed that very few of those surveyed felt as thought they have learned the psychology of money and are speaking its language in their daily life. According to the survey, only eight percent of respondents consider themselves the “CEO” of their financial lives and felt they had a hold their financial situation. Alternatively, the survey showed that one-quarter of respondents wished they no longer had financial responsibility at all.
When considering the aspects that cause low-level financial productivity, typical reasons point to either mis-education regarding money or psychological barriers of resistance toward acquiring it. Dr. Tracy Theemes, psychologist and financial advisor, explored the potential causes of undesired financial situations for women and cited that, historically, women have often had a back seat position in the area of finance. Dr. Theemes said that some women tend to make decisions based upon advice they receive, as opposed to education or they choose to not be involved in making financial decisions within the household at all.
Dr. Theemes also points to the long-held cultural misconception that women are not as good with money as men. She counters that women simply approach financial matters differently, and she added this is because they are biologically, psychologically, and emotionally wired so differently. One of the most surprising theories of Dr. Theemes is the identification of a subtle level of resistance toward financial empowerment that she says is subconsciously present in many women and causes them to maintain their financial issues in order to stay small and less powerful.
Learning to speak the language of money and acknowledging the psychology behind its acquisition can help every person to separate fear and anxiety from their actual monetary circumstances, and thus, create a picture of clarity regarding where they stand. All it takes is a serious assessment of one’s current financial position and setting goals they feel are attainable for them, as well as creating an action plan they can live with and have fun with.
Opinion By Bridgette Bryant
Photo by Tax Credits – Flickr License