Growing up, we subconsciously absorb a lot of messages about money – from our familes, pop culture, friends, religion and our greater culture. By the time we’re adults we all have a lot of biases and thoughts about money that we may have never given much conscious thought to. Many people think that money is about math, commas and zeros. However, what I’ve found is that money is more about the subconscious thoughts we have around finances.
I was born in the 1980s in Silicon Valley. At the time there was a lot of prosperity due to the tech boom. My mom worked for a company that made hard drives and my Dad owned an auto body shop with clientele that included a few of the San Francisco 49ers. My grandparents on my Mom’s side owned a successful construction business and branched into residential development. My family never seemed to have a problem bringing in the cash, however just as soon as it was made it was spent. From my family and the culture of the Bay Area of the time, I absorbed a lot of unconscious messages about the need to acquire a lot of money in order to create security and happiness.
What are Money Scripts?
According to financial psychologist Dr. Brad Klontz, there are four primary money scripts which include Money Status, Money Vigilance, Money Avoidance and Money Worship. Money scripts are just a fancy way of categorizing our unconscious beliefs about money which are often rooted in childhood and passed down from generation to generation.
Money Worship Script
The money script that was passed down to me, has the very unflattering name of Money Worship. People with the Money Worship script believe that lots of money and the things money can buy are the keys to happiness. However, Money Worshipers never have enough because they constantly move the goal post in terms of what is enough. Those that relate highly to the Money Worship script are more likely to carry credit card debt and have a lower net worth. They also are prone to work-a-holism and giving loans to others even though they can’t afford to.
Money Status Script
Two other money scripts that can lead to problems are the Money Status and Money Avoidance script. Those with the Money Status script associate their self-worth with their net worth. Signs of this money script are outward displays of wealth, and a belief that wealthy people are happier. Many times, people with Money Status scripts grew up in lower socio-economic backgrounds. The difference between the Money Worship and Money Status scripts, is that the former is more about self-medicating with money, and the latter is the belief that having more money makes someone better than others.
Money Avoidance Script
Those with Money Avoidance script have a deep belief that money is evil. Interestingly, Money Avoidance is associated with people who are more highly educated and wealthier. Those with script may attempt to avoid their money completely by ignoring financial statements, overspending, not maintaining a budget, or giving their money away. Many people in helping professions such as psychologists and social workers have signs of this money script. All of this avoidance can lead to self-sabotaging their own financial future.
Money Vigilance Script
Thankfully, with work and introspection money scripts can be changed. The final script, Money Vigilance, is considered the most healthy. Those with the Money Vigilance script are alert and engaged with their finances. They believe in creating a personal financial plan that allows them to save for the future and mitigate emergencies, while spending on the things that bring them the most joy. Through educating myself about money, creating a financial plan and sticking to it, this is the money script I now relate to this most.
Many people are anxious or worry about money. However, mastering your money mindset will help you to start making positive decisions about your finances that will set you up for a successful and financially free future.
If you are interested in learning how to improve your money management skills including understanding the emotional and behavioral elements of dealing with money, understanding your spending habits, creating a budget, outlining a financial plan, learning how to create an emergency fund or managing debt schedule a free 30-minute consultation to learn how to get started.