Close your eyes and think about money. What comes to mind?
Are you swimming in a bath of Benjamins? Opening overdue bills? Scratching off a fresh lotto ticket? The answers to these questions can point you in the direction of your money script.
A money script consists of unconscious beliefs about money, often rooted in childhood. These scripts often affect adult behaviors and perspectives around money. The term was first coined by Brad Klontz, a thought leader in the world of financial therapy.
Let’s explore how you can identify your own unique money script, and review tips to help you overcome obstacles within your financial beliefs.
How to Find Your Money Script
To discover a client’s money script, I often begin by asking questions about their first memories of money: What was the first thing they bought with their own money? Did they have an allowance growing up? How did their parents discuss money, if they did at all?
That conversation begins to unravel a thought process that could be a barrier to having a healthy relationship with money.
It’s important to keep in mind that your beliefs about money may or may not be true – money isn’t an objectively good or bad thing, it’s a means of exchange. For example, some people believe that investing is only for wealthy people (not true!).
Think back to your earliest memories of money. Did you feel empowered or defeated? Do you still feel the same way? How do those feelings affect your financial decisions?
You may find it helpful to journal out those memories and work through your emotions on paper.
Common Money Scripts
There are an endless number of money scripts – after all, no two people think exactly the same. But there are a few common money script categories that may resonate with you:
1. Money Avoidance
- All wealthy people are greedy.
- Poor people are inherently purer than wealthy people.
- Better to give than receive.
2. Money Worship
- Money is power.
- Money is freedom.
- If I just buy X, I will finally be happy.
3. Money Status
- If I don’t buy the latest technology, I’ll be left behind.
- Wealthy people are happier.
4. Money Vigilance
- Never pay for anything with credit.
- Nothing you buy will ever feel as good as saving your money instead.
You may find that one or more of these scripts resonate with your thought process depending on the specific situation – that’s okay! Once you’re aware of how you think about money, you’re already more empowered to make better financial choices.
Make the Most of Your Money Script with These 4 Tips
For each category of money scripts, there are skills you can embrace to overcome belief barriers and make better financial decisions – let’s dive in.
1. Remember that money is neither good nor evil
This tip is especially useful for those with money avoidance. Remember, money is an object – an object you can use to add value to your life through experiences and giving.
If you struggle with regularly checking in on your finances, a budgeting app or financial advisor can help guide you along the process and hold yourself accountable.
2. Realize that money isn’t everything
Remind yourself that while money is important, it’s not the end-all be-all of a full life.
List out the things that are most important to you: family, friends, your pets, the outdoors, your favorite hobbies. Most (if not all) of these things don’t require money for you to enjoy them.
Explore ways you can enjoy your life without reaching for your wallet. While money can grant freedom and power, it’s not the only path to success or happiness.
3. Separate money from status
Ask yourself this question: If no one knew what you spent your money on, would your priorities (and your spending) change?
Think of when you didn’t have the latest gadget, nicest car or fanciest clothes – how did you feel? Where are the roots of those feelings? What things in life aside from money could help you feel fulfilled?
4. Find a balance
Total avoidance of borrowing or using credit cards can lead to a lack of credit history, setting you up for rejection when it’s time to apply for a mortgage. Too much reliance on borrowed money can lead to massive debt – that’s why healthy finances are all about balance.
You may find it helpful to set realistic goals for yourself. For example, maybe you create a monthly budget and set aside time each week to check in on it. Perhaps you set a new financial goal every few months, like raising your credit score ten points or paying down a certain debt.
Whatever your money script, a financial planner can help you find a path forward to healthy, balanced finances.
The sooner you find out your script and gain skills to overcome your own unique challenges, the better off you’ll be when making long-term financial decisions.
Learn More with Clarity
Our advisors can help you better understand your relationship with money – and create a plan for the future. Click here to schedule a consultation with Clarity Wealth today.