Join The Conversation With Mishpacha's Weekly Newsletter



What Does Money Mean to You?

Sara Glaz

We all like to believe we make financial decisions rationally, but more often than not, it’s our emotions controlling our wallets, not our bank accounts. A look at common money scripts, how they are written, and what we can do to alter them.

Wednesday, January 01, 2014

Standing at the store checkout with your cart, the rack of sweets and knickknacks — impulse buys — catches your eye. Do you grab whatever little Srulie would like, without so much as a glance at the price? Or do you keep your focus straight ahead — if it’s not on your list, it stays out of the cart? Maybe you consider the chocolates and spend the next five minutes anxiously deliberating whether or not you should buy them?

When it comes to financial decisions, our fiscal knowledge often takes a backseat to the meanings we attach to money. These meanings, which can be either beneficial or detrimental, usually develop in childhood. According to father-and-son psychologists and financial behavior gurus Drs. Ted and Brad Klontz, the way we understand money is our “money script”: a set of beliefs that guide how we relate to money and think about it as adults. Let’s take a look at how these mindsets originate and affect us later in adulthood.

 

Money Avoidance: Just Don’t Think About It

Tzivia’s father Chaim worked on commission in real estate. Every few months, Chaim would receive a windfall paycheck from a sale. Both he and his wife Hadassah had trouble with self-control and would spend the money within a few weeks — on new suits, seforim, restaurants, all sorts of luxuries. Tzivia and her brothers appreciated the new things, but the money ran out all too quickly.

Chaim and Hadassah would then spend the next few weeks — sometimes months — panicking about the negative bank balances, impending tuition payments, and the growing debt. After the next paycheck arrived, they would resolve to take control, even meet with a financial counselor, but never end up going. The situation would repeat itself, over and over again. While Chaim and Hadassah were eventually able to marry off their children, Tzivia was left with an unwelcome present — financial denial.

 

To read the rest of this story, please buy this issue of Mishpacha or sign up for a weekly subscription

Share this page with a friend. Fill in the information below, and we'll email your friend a link to this page on your behalf.

Your name
Your email address
You friend's name
Your friend's email address
Please type the characters you see in the image into the box provided.
CAPTCHA
Message


 
Top-Down Theory
Shoshana Friedman Our true currency, the accomplishments we value most
Strive for What Binds Us
Yonoson Rosenblum The chareidi community represents something of an oasis
Embracing Victimhood
Eytan Kobre Combating the allure of victimhood
The Kids Are Going to Camp, the Parents Are Going Broke
Miriam Klein Adelman Mindy has to feel good; it doesn’t matter that I feel ba...
Work/Life Solutions with Carlos Wigle
Moe Mernick “Rejection is Hashem’s protection” 
How to Create a Simple 900-Page Novel
Rabbi Emanuel Feldman All of us can reset the titles of our own lives
Stand There or Do Something
Baruch S. Fertel, MD, MPA, FACEP It’s called collaborative care, and it works miracles
I'm Here — Are You Ready?
Riki Goldstein Upbeat and catchy, but still makes listeners think
Back in Time
Riki Goldstein "I wish I could recapture that excitement"
Mixed Messages
Riki Goldstein The unsung craftsmen who give albums their special touch
Go in Peace
Faigy Peritzman Inner peace makes us vessels for blessing
All Work and No Play
Sarah Chana Radcliffe A life only about doing your duties loses all its color
Dying to Believe
With Rav Moshe Wolfson, written by Baila Vorhand Emunah peshutah is the force behind Jewish continuity