I’m trying to get to the root of money behaviors. This topic is becoming an annoying bug buzzing around the inside of my head. Because I spend so much time reading and researching money issues, it’s outside of my faculties to conceive that others don’t make responsible money decisions. I am constantly reading that more than 50% of pre-retirement workers have little or nothing saved for retirement, and I can’t wrap my mind around it.
Money scripts, just like any other psychological scripts, are clearly the driver, but it’s also about education, or the willingness to learn. Most adults are struggling to manage their finances, and many concede that they don’t know the basics. For young adults, there’s no formal education for personal finance, and high school graduates have no idea what to do regarding self-support. College graduates are burdened with student loans without any idea how they’re going to manage the payments. Many don’t know how to anticipate real-life expenses and get quickly overwhelmed. They get blindsided by the multitude of costs, using credit cards to pay for necessities, and enter the danger zone of perpetual debt.
By not knowing the first step, or knowing how to manage all the pieces that make up a comprehensive, effective financial playbook, individuals retreat into ignorance. That’s never good. Those that choose not to address their financial issues too often find that eventually their money issues are running them, not the other way around. Credit that’s not managed properly, spending money that one does not have, letting emotions control money decisions. These are just a few. Some money issues are so extreme that they upend a person’s life, leaving the individual with lifelong debt or substantial losses of savings.
In conjunction with education, the money script of the individual deserves acknowledgement. If you’ve read any of my previous material, I’m a huge fan of Dr. Brad Klontz, the psychologist responsible for coining the phrase. All the education in the world will get thrown to the wind if the person possesses a destructive money script. The money script will collide with the education, and will win in the end. That’s because the money script is generated from subconscious beliefs. The person may not even realize they’re displaying certain behaviors. The human brain works that way, it’s part of survival. We learn things that work for us and there’s always a payoff for doing what we do.
I intend to be a teacher of the elements that result in a sound financial setting. Once the elements are part of everyday awareness, it becomes easier to process the combination working together. Starting out may not be easy, but a strong goal with small rewards along the way will result in an increase in quality of life and overall contentment. By chipping away at understanding one aspect at a time, it all comes together. The sum is truly greater than the parts and financial harmony can materialize.
Money decisions are controlled by money beliefs. The financial mindset, or money script, is responsible for what goes right or wrong in a person’s money life. Because money scripts propel actions, they deserve acknowledgment and recognition. Money scripts are based on unconscious beliefs and can be tough to uncover; it requires deep thinking and self-reflection to jiggle these views from the brain tunnels where they’re nestled. Some are good, some are bad. Everyone thinks they are right in their own head, therefore, recognizing false beliefs and irrational judgments calls for a mature attitude adjustment.
Ideally, money behavior must fit the environment of the individual. When the actions don’t fit the scenario, chaos ensues. For example, someone needs to save up to move into their own apartment because their parents are selling their home and they must make arrangements for their own residence. Instead of saving, they continue to spend irrationally. That individual’s actions are not in accord with their needs. They continue to blow all their money instead of saving to cover a basic need (shelter). Similarly, someone that wants a new home or a new car fails to save, despite their frustration.
Because their money scripts are so deeply embedded, they will continue to trigger detrimental behavior even if the results are disastrous. Unfortunately, the victim of their own behavior doesn’t see their role in the movie. Others are blamed for the circumstances without a clue as to how to apply alternatives or initiate another possibility. The key is to find a script that fits the stage of the person living it.