Are you a saver or a spender? Do you like to create spending plans (budgets), or do you find it tedious and frustrating? Are you comfortable talking about money to family, friends, etc., or do you avoid it altogether?
All of these types of tendencies make up what is called money scripts. Today we’re looking at what they are, their impact on your behavior, and how acknowledging your money script can improve your relationship with money.
- Most of us fall into a category (or multiple categories) of money scripts.
- You and your partner may have different scripts, which can mean you view finances differently.
- Being aware of your money scripts can help you identify where you can make better financial decisions.
What Are Money Scripts?
Money scripts are unwritten rules that dictate your financial behavior. They represent your ideas, thoughts, and beliefs about your finances.
In 2011, Brad Klontz and his team studied the phenomenon of money scripts. Through their research, they uncovered that people tend to fall into one of four money script categories:
- Money Avoidance
- Money Worship
- Money Status
- Money Vigilance
Let’s dive into the nuances of each.
People in this category tend to find money a source of anxiety or stress. In addition, they may envy those they think have more money.
Klontz found an interesting moral connection familiar to the individuals in this category. They think money is “bad” but also believe it will solve their problems.
In addition, this script includes people that feel undeserving of money, feel guilty about desiring money, and ultimately avoid thinking about money altogether.
How do you fix this? Start by reacquainting yourself with money! Set intentional goals, and give yourself and others grace regarding their financial decisions.
This script includes those that believe money is the end-all-be-all. Money is the key to life, love, and happiness. Which most of us know isn’t true.
People within this script are constantly chasing what they view as “enough” money. They get caught up in what’s called a scarcity mindset. This is harmful because it can limit your thinking “small” regarding your finances. A scarcity mindset makes you believe that you don’t have enough money, you’ll never have enough money, and that there’s very little you can do about it.
Other common characteristics of people that fall into this script are seeking fulfillment in buying more tangible items, overspending and making risky financial decisions, and becoming a “workaholic” to fund their habits.
How do you fix this? Remember that money is a tool to help reach your goals, not the goal itself.
People in this category tend to tie their self-worth to their net worth. This is a highly challenging script to get caught up in because it can bring familial or societal pressure to live extravagantly.
Common tendencies of those in this script are gambling, lying about money, and overspending. All of which can lead to overspending, unhappiness, and anxiety.
How do you fix this? Bring intention back to your spending - make it purposeful and meaningful. Examples could be donating to charitable causes, cutting back on extraneous costs, etc.
Those with this mindset tend to approach money from a logical perspective. People in this category view money as a reward for hard work and thus make thoughtful financial choices.
Common beliefs of those in this script are that money should be saved and avoid buying things with credit.
While this script isn’t perfect by any means, its core values should be considered goals to strive for.
Where Do I Fit?
Where do you fit in personally? Take another look at each of the scripts and see where you fit. But it’s important to know that you may overlap in several categories, too.
Regardless of your category, remember that this exercise isn’t supposed to make you feel wrong about money but instead bring attention to how you view, discuss, and use it. Why is this important? The first step to creating healthier financial habits is to know your current ones.
Considerations for Couples
Couples can have different love languages, and you may also have different money scripts. Just like discussing and being aware of whether your partner appreciates when you do tasks without them asking or simply words of affirmation, it’s essential to be aware of your financial scripts.
Finances are one of the most common things that couples butt heads on. Knowing your and your partner's script can help you understand where they’re coming from when making financial decisions and how you can incorporate their tendencies into your financial plan. That way, you’re both comfortable with how money is viewed and utilized in your financial plan.
Creating a financial plan aligned with your values and goals can be difficult. This is why AVID Planning created our Purpose-Driven Money System. It’s a guide that helps you identify how to make your money work for YOU.
If you need help creating a financial plan or want to create better financial habits, our team is here to help. Please contact us today.