Numerous individuals may be familiar with the concept of attachment styles discussed by psychologists and sociologists in the context of our closest relationships, such as “anxious attachment” or “avoidant attachment.”
Interestingly, similar patterns emerge in our relationship with money, as noted by Brad Klontz, a psychologist and certified financial planner based in Boulder, Colorado.
Klontz, who serves as the managing principal of YMW Advisors,emphasizes that understanding our underlying beliefs can shed light on most of our financial behaviors. In his research, he refers to these underlying beliefs as “money scripts.”
According to Klontz, his research identifies four main money scripts: “money avoidance,” “money worship,” “money status,” and “money vigilance.”
Money avoiders tend to hold negative views about wealth, often seeing having less money as morally virtuous. Consequently, they may unknowingly undermine their financial success and savings due to this belief.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, money worshippers prioritize wealth as the solution to all their problems and the source of happiness. This elevated view of money can lead to excessive spending, as they overestimate the satisfaction and meaning derived from material purchases.
Money status seekers tend to equate their net worth with their self-worth. Those who grew up in financially challenged households are more likely to use money to seek status, resulting in overspending and higher credit card debt.
The fourth category, money vigilance, typically consists of individuals with substantial wealth who still experience heightened financial anxiety. Such individuals may hoard money and struggle to enjoy life due to their money-related concerns.
Klontz suggests that individuals dissatisfied with their financial situation should reflect on their past and the beliefs they may have acquired during childhood. Understanding the origins of these beliefs can be enlightening and transformative.
He advises conducting interviews with family members and delving into one’s family history to uncover the origins of money-related beliefs.
For instance, if one’s parents or grandparents experienced poverty, there might be a lingering fear of never having enough money.
Evaluating the validity of these inherited beliefs can help individuals improve their relationship with money, as awareness alone can initiate positive changes.