Paul Sullivan wrote an interesting New York Times piece, Stressed by Money? Get on the Couch, about people going through “financial therapy” to get a better grip on their emotions and behavior around money.
Certainly, from what I’ve seen, the relationships among money, happiness, and habits are extraordinarily complex.
Sullivan cites financial psychologist Brad Klontz for the notion that people have four basic “money scripts,” that is, stories that we tell ourselves about money. Which describes you?
–money avoidance: people who try to distance themselves from money, and in doing so, often undermine their financial well-being (here’s a story about money avoidance that I’ve never forgotten,)
–money worship: people who believe that if they had more money, it would solve all their problems
–money status: people who tie their money to their self of well-being, “net worth = self worth.”
–money vigilance: people who are cautious about spending and pay debts promptly; they’re the ones who may refuse to spend for no rational reason.
The article notes that these “scripts” often run through our heads outside our conscious awareness of them.
How about you? What script fits you best? Mine is money vigilance. Perhaps that’s partly why I’m an under-buyer.
Do you think there are any “scripts” that weren’t listed?
Gretchen Rubin is the author of the #1 New York Times Bestseller The Happiness Project—an account of the year she spent test-driving the wisdom of the ages, current scientific studies, and lessons from popular culture about how to be happier—and the recently released Happier at Home. On her popular blog, The Happiness Project, she reports on her daily adventures in the pursuit of happiness. For more doses of happiness and other happenings, follow Gretchen on Facebook and Twitter.
I’ve posted my U.S. book tour, and I hope to see many of you along the way. Tour cities include Los Angeles, San Diego, Plano, Denver, San Francisco, Princeton, Wellesley, Madison, Philadelphia, and Washington, D.C. And of course New York City. Please come! Tell your friends! Soon to come: tour events in Canada, the U.K., and Australia.