Our values and beliefs color every aspect of our lives. The ways we view and use money reflect those attitudes more than many of us imaging.
Exploring and understanding our attitudes and values about money is an exercise worthy of our time. Awareness of our financial values is information we can utilize to improve our financial habits by implementing tips and ideas that are in sync with the things that really matter to us.
According to Brad Klontz, an associate professor at Kansas State University, there are four basic attitudes or “money scripts” that most people fall into: money avoidance, money worship, money status and money vigilance.
Those who avoid money may believe they don’t deserve it or fear they won’t know how to handle it. They have low incomes and net worth and tend to be younger, which may reflect their inexperience and a lack of tools and knowledge.
Those who fall into the money worship and money status camps believe more money will solve all their problems, or that the status that comes with wealth will magically make all their problems and concerns disappear. Unfortunately, that means they can easily wind up in debt, which doesn’t really solve their problems in the long run.
Those in the money vigilance group do not like to talk about their money and are highly unlikely to spend foolishly." On the downside, excessive wariness about spending can keep these people from enjoying the benefits of what money can buy.
How to Identify Your Financial Values
So how do we become more “money mindful”. Many of us spend a lifetime thinking about financial goals, hopes, and dreams. Learning how your mindset and values impact your finances can help you create a more fulfilling relationship with your money. We’ve identified five broad categories and key questions for determining your financial values.
- Achievement & Success. To what degree do you see money as a symbol of success or a measure of freedom? Are you driven by the need to achieve results?
- Order & Security. How important is it to your mental well-being to have order in your financial life? Do you need to feel in control? How much satisfaction do you gain with a sense of security or making progress?
- Relationships & Money. Do you define yourself through the responsibilities you feel toward those around you (family, friends and even strangers)?
- Self-focus & Awareness. Do you need financial independence to feel at peace? Do you intuitively feel that you must take care of yourself as a prerequisite for other decisions?
- Stress & Anxiety. How much do you worry about your financial life? Is your interaction with money plagued by frustration?
Our relationship with money is something most of us will wrestle with our entire lives. So, understanding our values and attitudes can lead to valuable insights into how to create a financial mindset that allows you to comfortable deal with even daunting financial decisions.