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Money behavior is baffling - even to therapists! Thumbnail

Money behavior is baffling - even to therapists!

Photo above by Andre Hunter on Unsplash.

As I’m fond of mentioning, this money and personal finance stuff is not merely about numbers and spreadsheets.

Money is just as much — if not more so — about thoughts, feelings, and emotions. There is a HUGE psychology component to all this seemingly cut-and-dried money work.

So when we start looking more at our money, it’s not uncommon to get a bit frustrated.

You might find yourself wondering, “Why did I do that?!” Or even…

“Why do I KEEP DOING THAT — when I clearly know better?!”

If you get frustrated with your behavior around money — or seem powerless to change behavior that doesn’t serve you — there’s a good chance you have some unconscious money scripts at work.

Hold an expansive and curious understanding of your relationship with money.

We all have a relationship with money. We all have a relationship with our money skills. We all have a relationship with our past actions around money.

From within those relationships stories arise. Stories that tell us what we’re good at - and what we’re bad at. Stories that tell us what we can do and what we can’t do. 

Stories become beliefs, often unconsciously held. These beliefs are oftentimes limiting. Especially when it comes to money.

Until you make the unconscious conscious, it will direct your life and you will call it fate.

I imagine you’ve heard this Carl Jung quote before. I remember the first time I heard it (on a podcast of all places). It sorta blew my mind. And I believe it especially applies to your relationship with money.

Let’s make your relationship with money a bit more conscious and intentional.

Let’s bring your attention to your relating to money. Not to make you bad or wrong. Rather to make the unconscious conscious and, in so doing, perhaps alter your fate.

What the heck is a money script?

Money scripts are patterns of thought and behavior regarding money.

These scripts run on autopilot — in the background of our minds and outside our conscious awareness.

Most of your money scripts are formed in childhood. (Bet that doesn’t come as a huge surprise to you!)

These money scripts are “rules to live by” that your child self developed. And these “rules” are perfectly rational responses to the circumstances you faced at the time.

The trouble is that these hard and fast rules are typically true in only limited circumstances. But our minds apply money scripts indiscriminately — to most (or even all) financial situations we face.

Not only that, as I mentioned, these scripts are applied outside of our conscious awareness. Money scripts aren’t rational decisions that our executive function consciously makes. Rather, the more primitive — yet incredibly powerful — areas of the brain kick into gear, overriding our best intentions.

Awareness is the first step

But it isn’t hopeless! There are ways to dramatically lessen the grip money scripts have over your thinking and behavior. (You’ll find much more about that in the book suggestion below.)

Bringing greater awareness to your own money scripts is the first step.

Dr. Brad Klontz, who developed the idea of money scripts, offers a free assessment on his website. He is both a Psy.D. and a Certified Financial Planner™️ — which I think is a pretty cool combination.

👉 Click here to take the Klontz Money Script Inventory.

The money scripts inventory will help you better learn yourself. It will bring greater awareness to how you relate to money. It will shed light on why you behave the way you do. Self knowledge and greater awareness is the solid foundation we need to improve your financial health and your money story.

Ready to feel GREAT about your finances?!

Get my free guide that will show you how!!

👉 Click here to access! 👈

Recover and design interventions for yourself

If you suspect your money scripts might be causing you some grief, I’d encourage you to consider the book Mind Over Money: Overcoming the Money Disorders That Threaten Our Financial Health.

While the term “disorders” might feel a bit over the top, the reality is that we all have some degree of “disordered” thinking around money. This book offers explanation, insight and interventions to help you better navigate your sometimes bewildering behavior around money.

If you’ve ever found yourself frustrated with your own (or your partner’s!) financial behavior you seemingly can’t change - this book is a must read.

The link above is for the Kindle version of the book. Amazon offers the option to download a free sample before you purchase. If you find the free sample reading resonating, I think this book will be money well spent. (The Kindle version is much more reasonably priced than the print version. And there’s an Audible book available, too.)

What’s on your mind? 🤔

What’s your reaction to the idea of money scripts?

Does it seem surprising? Are you skeptical that money scripts have a meaningful influence on your behavior? Or does this knowledge come as a relief?

If this all feels a bit much, give me a shout. I work one-on-one with therapists from all over the country helping them address issues just like the ones we talked about today! Learn the different ways you might work with me on my services page.


Turning Point is a registered investment advisor in the state of California. Please visit turningpointhq.com for important information and additional disclosures. This article is provided for general information and illustration purposes only. Nothing contained in the material constitutes financial, legal or tax advice; a recommendation for purchase or sale of any security; or investment advisory services. I encourage you to consult a financial planner, accountant, and/or legal counsel for advice specific to your situation. Read the full Disclaimer here.