I have a Masters degree in psychological studies. Therefore, it’s no surprise that I’m very interested in the psychology of money. The way we approach finances should be logical but many of us respond emotionally to money instead. Better understanding your own money psychology can help you better work with your finances. Here are 5 ways to better understand your relationship with money.
1. Journal About Money
We all have complicated feelings about money. Uncover yours by keeping a journal about your experiences with money. Some things to explore in your journal include:
- How was money treated in my family as I was growing up?
- What messages did I receive about money from my family, my culture, and my education?
- In what ways do I struggle with money?
- What emotions do I feel when spending, saving, or investing?
- How has money affected my relationships with others?
You might also keep a daily log of your spending habits. Then try to associate your spending with your moods. See if there’s a relationship between the two.
2. Take a Personality Quiz
Learning more about your personality tendencies can help you learn more about all aspects of yourself. Take quizzes and tests like the Myers-Briggs, the Enneagram, or The Four Tendencies. Apply what you learn about yourself to your relationship with money. The more self-knowledge that you have, the better you’ll be able to see patterns in your life. The more you see the patterns, the more choice you’ll have to chance.
3. Practice Mindfulness
All too often we keep our minds very busy. As a result, we react instead of acting from a conscious place. Instead, we need quiet time. We need to learn to sit still in the present moment. It’s helpful to learn how to simply watch our thoughts as they arise, without reacting to them. The more you practice mindfulness, the more you can make conscious choices in all areas of your life, including your finances.
4. Educate Yourself About Money Psychology
Read books and articles about human psychology around money. Listen to podcasts in which people talk about their emotional reactions to money. The more that you learn about how others handle this tricky topic, the more you’ll get a sense of how money and your own psychological makeup interact. Some reading to get you started:
- The Psychology of Money by Morgan Housel on Collaborative Fund
- Understanding the Psychology of Money and What It’s Costing You by Dave Ramsay
- What Your Relationship with Money Reveals About You by Seth G. Gillihan, Ph.D. on Psychology Today
5. Make an Appointment with a Therapist
You might not think about speaking with a therapist about money. However, since it’s a deeply rooted issue, it’s one that therapists often discuss with their clients. In fact, you can find therapists that specialize in helping you work through money challenges in your life. In particular, if money impacts your relationships with others then you might want to use therapy as a tool to make a chance. Couples’ therapy often involves discussing the impact of money on our lives.
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Kathryn Vercillo is a professional writer with more than a decade of experience writing about healthy living and personal finance. She lives in San Francisco, where she has learned to maximize frugal living tips in order to thrive as a freelancer in one of the nation’s most expensive cities. When she’s not writing, she’s exploring the city on foot with her rescue dog. Learn more about her at www.kathrynvercillo.com. Kathryn also writes about saving money with coupons over at GroceryCouponGuide.com .