Gretchen Rubin

The Happiness Project

Which of These 4 Stories Do You Tell Yourself About Money?

People have four basic “money scripts."

Posted Feb 13, 2015

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?

Also ...

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Tags: list, money, self-knowledge, spending tips


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