The Psychology of Money

Money is a powerful player in one’s psychological health.

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Think about how you perceive money. Do you view it as a way out, a solution to all of your problems? Or do you perceive it to be the opposite, as a devil that’s robbing you of a better life? If you said, “Yes” to either, you’re probably being ruled by your emotions rather than logic when it comes to your finances.

You may be unconsciously using money to feel better about yourself, cope with anxiety, control others, or your life. How can you know for sure? There are a few signs that can help you determine whether you’re using money to the detriment of your financial health. For example, are you in debt currently? Do you feel overwhelmed with managing your debt and try to avoid it, hide it from others and/or rationalize the debt you have? Do you feel better while shopping and worse once you’ve stopped? Do you use money to get what you need from others by buying them things or cutting them off financially? Money will never be the solution to your problems. It can temporarily abate worries directly related to money. For example, it can pay your bills and provide food and shelter for you and your kids. But it won’t bring you love, happiness or even security. Money becomes the problem when we believe it does.

How do you know whether you’re concerns are realistic or are being controlled by your own issues with money?

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The bad economy makes it difficult to determine whether your anxiety about and focus on money are realistic. After all, it is socially acceptable to worry about finances. Some of the things mentioned above could even seem understandable, reasonable even. The real sign that your emotional health is ruling your finances, however, is whether you’re continually living above and beyond your means and when you feel unable to seek help and/or participate in routine activities to manage and repair your financial situation.

The following questions mentioned in The Secret Language of Money: How to Make Smarter Financial Decisions and Live a Richer Life can get you reconnected with your finances and give you a better sense of whether it’s negatively impacting your life:

· What in your life right now are you compromising for money?

· What have been the three most significant experiences with money in your life?

· How fully and honestly do you speak with your spouse or partner about money, finances, spending, goals, savings, and debt?

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Brandi-Ann Uyemura
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