Do you know that there is a publication called The Journal of Financial Therapy? Initially I was astounded that such a journal exists but upon reflection, and factoring in people’s anxiety and dependence on money, it makes sense. In the current issue there is a study called, “Money Beliefs and Financial Behaviors: Development of the Klontz Money Script Inventory”.
Its timing could not be better as we settle in for prolonged economic uncertainty. Mr. Klontz surveyed 422 people about 72 money-related beliefs. The result is four categories he calls “money scripts” that we all fall into:
Money avoidance: people who distance themselves from money, worry about abusing credit cards, may feel they do not deserve money and erode their own financial comfort, they tend to be younger and have low incomes and net worth.
Money worship: these folks hope for a windfall as it will make every thing better. They gain satisfaction from the status derived from what money can buy. This can lead to unnecessary debt as they overextend to keep up and surpass peers. According to Klontz, this category applies to the majority of Americans.
Money status: this is curious category characterized by anxiety when people’s self-worth is linked to their net worth. It leads to bigger bets, bigger risks all for the sake of status and making an impression.
Money vigilance: this group does not share any information about income or wealth and they do not spend foolishly. Compared to the other categories caution can work against them as they do not enjoy the benefits of what money can provide.
Two things unite the categories more so than education, income, race, or gender. The first is the underlying anxiety is not with money itself but with what it represents. The other thing shared is a financially traumatic incident such as almost losing the family home.
The study can be found here, http://jftonline.org/journals/jft/article/view/451/1139, check and see what money script you belong to. It may help you remove some personal challenges while helping understand the behavior of others.