From The Daniel Island News
Was your attitude about money formed when you were a child?
By Steve Ferber
May 29, 2013 - 9:22:31 AM
Maggie Baker thinks so, and Baker is something of an expert when it comes to our relationship with money. Baker, a psychologist and author of the book “Crazy About Money,” explains: “We all have a relationship to money just as we have a relationship to food.”
What’s your relationship? If you were sitting down with Baker, she would probably ask you: “What does money mean to you? Does it rule you, or do you rule it? How much of it do you want and what current habits help you achieve that?”
Enter the world of financial therapy, an up and coming field that now boasts hundreds of “financial therapists,” or financial psychologists. There’s even a Financial Therapy Association, formed three years ago to help individuals and families cope with economic challenges (on their web site, FTA posts a list of recent financial therapy articles, among them: “What’s Mine is Mine: 10 couples on how they arrange their finances,” “7 Financial Issues Couples May Stumble Over” and “4 Money Attitudes that will Lead to Financial Failure.”
Americans aren’t feeling particularly confident about their finances these days, with 76% of Americans naming money as their No. 1 source of stress, according to an American Psychological Foundation study. And a separate study by TD Ameritrade and LearnVest, reported in the Omaha World-Herald, found the following:
• 43% of couples don't have a budget. The average couple discusses money less than two times a month and fights over money five times a year;
• 40% of respondents said they do not completely trust their partner to manage their combined finances; and
• 20% said they sometimes hide their spending from their significant other.
What’s your attitude toward money? An article at freefrombroke.com lists these four “money attitudes” that they say will lead to financial failure: “1. I’ll start saving when I make more money;” 2. “Consumer debt is OK because it’s normal;” 3. “I have plenty of time to get my finances in order;” and 4. “Stuff = money.” On this last point, the article adds: “While it’s sometimes pleasant to have nice things, don’t make the mistake of thinking that it’s the same as having actual financial resources available to you.”
Financial psychologists Brad and Ted Klontz, a father-son team who co-authored "Mind Over Money,” describe the 12 most common “money disorders” and explain how to identify them and ultimately overcome them (disorders include: financial dependence, underspending, financial infidelity, money avoidance, financial rejection, compulsive shopping and financial enabling).
In a piece by Michelle Crouch, for creditcards.com, Brad Klontz pointed out: "People feel more shame around money than they do around sexual problems . . .. People are ashamed they have too much money or ashamed because they have too little. They think their problems with money are because they're lazy or stupid, so they don't look for help. They stick their heads in the sand."
Interestingly, Klontz explains, many people experience a “financial flash point” in their life, that is, according to Crouch: “An experience early in life that leaves a lasting impression about how money works.” Crouch goes on: “One of Klontz's clients, for example, had a grandmother who gave $20,000 at the last minute to save the client's family home from foreclosure.
The lesson she took from the experience? No matter how bad her financial troubles got, she believed someone would be there to rescue her.” Crouch quotes Klontz again: "The craziest money behaviors make a lot more sense when you figure out what someone's financial flash points are.”
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