Money is a necessity. We can’t live in our modern world without earning it, spending it, saving it, or giving it. What may feel like a natural part of our everyday life is quite the opposite. We have no instinctive tendencies around money like we do with food, water, and doing the nasty. Therefore, our money mindset is shaped by our experiences and education (or lack thereof) around it.
For example, my source of income from the ages of 8-12 was my dad’s change jar. I can distinctly recall grabbing change and walking to the nearby McDonald’s to order myself a vanilla ice cream cone. I was barely tall enough to look over the white counter, but I could certainly put the money up there in exchange for some soft serve swirls. This memory may not have stuck with some people, but it always has for me. I’ll get to why this is important later.
I nerd out on things incorporating self reflection and how it relates to money habits. I recently came across an assessment created by individuals with a Doctor of Psychology, Doctor of Philosophy, and CERTIFIED PLANNER(™) designation. This study was produced in the Journal of Financial Therapy in 2011. Have I convinced you yet that this wasn’t something created in 2 hours by an Instagram influencer? This is the real deal.
The study, known as the Money Beliefs and Financial Behaviors: Development of the Klontz Money Script Inventory, identified four distinct money patterns: money focus, money avoidance, money vigilance, and money status. The Klontz Money Script Inventory (KMSI) assessment will provide you with your unique money pattern. KSMI is for people who want a “quick yet somewhat valid and reliable analysis of thought patterns that might interfere with therapy, coaching, and/or the financial planning process.” We’ve provided a link at the bottom for you to find out your own Money Script.
Money avoiders simply don’t like money. They have this perception that they don’t deserve the money they have. Avoiders see money as something negative and can trigger feelings of fear, anxiety, and disgust. Specifically, a money avoider may be overly concerned about abusing a credit card, over drafting their checking account or spending money on something they truly need. Money avoiders tend to give money away effortlessly to have as little as possible. The creators of the study state that money behaviors like financial denial, financial rejection, underspending, and excessive risk aversion may be linked to money avoiders.
This is the most common money script for Americans (surprise, surprise...). Money focus people believe money can and will make things better. They also have the mindset that the more money they make, the fewer problems they’ll have. The creators of this study estimate that those with a money focus script may experience compulsive hoarding, unreasonable risk-taking, pathological gambling, workaholism, overspending, or compulsive buying disorder.
As a money status individual, you see a direct link to self-worth and net-worth. This mindset locks individuals into a never ending competition to those they surround themselves with. There tends to be a desire to always have more than their peers, family, and friends. These individuals tend to believe money status is a clear distinction between socioeconomic classes.
This group is associated with the secrecy or shame of money. This group ranks highest in the ‘yes, money is a taboo topic to discuss’ category. They tend to withhold information about their financial situation, including from their partner. However, this group also tends to be very alert and watchful of their finances. Having a rainy day fund is not a suggestion, it’s a must. This group assumes danger and worse times are ahead. That may lead to excessive savings, frugality, and anxiety.
To my surprise, my highest-rated money script was money focus. I was convinced I would have a money vigilance script with my budgeting and analytical mindset (it was my 2nd money script). I took some time to think this through, and things started to connect. For example, I have found myself ‘hoarding’ my dollars throughout the years. Dan… if you’re reading this, I know you're thinking to yourself ‘she still does that.’ What I realized during my ice cream-gettin’ days was that money equals access (or sugar...the highest commodity for any 8 year old). Money has never been intimidating or fearful. It’s been something I really connect with and admire...aka...focus on. My money vigilance shines through with my frugality and knowledge of our financial situation. It makes sense to me to see both of those as my top two, but I was surprised to see the placement of each.
What’s your money script? Click on the form below to find out! When you get your results, think about why the results are the way they are. Remember, you were born with no preconceived ideas around money. Experiences and education shaped whatever result you obtained. Does it surprise you as it did me? Or is it spot on with your prediction. Share your results on our Instagram or Facebook page! We’d love to hear what you think.
Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only and is not a recommendation of Fyooz Financial Planning, Natalie Slagle CFP®, or Daniel Slagle CFP®. Past performance may not be indicative of future results and may have been impacted by events and economic conditions that will not prevail in the future. Therefore, it should not be assumed that future performance of any specific security, investment product or investment strategy referenced in the article, either directly or indirectly, will be profitable or equal to the corresponding indicated performance level(s). No portion of the article shall be construed as a solicitation to buy or sell any specific security or investment product or to engage in any particular investment or financial planning strategy. Any reference to a market index is included for illustrative purposes only, as it is not possible to directly invest in an index. Indices are unmanaged, hypothetical vehicles that serve as market indicators and do not account for the deduction of management fees or transaction costs generally associated with investable products, which otherwise have the effect of reducing the performance of an actual investment portfolio.