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  • Wendell Brock

What Is the Emotional State of Money?

Money has a strong connection to our emotions. There are many aspects of money, including how we use money, that cause us to experience different emotions.

How do you feel when you’ve saved money on a purchase? How does it feel when you spend your hard earned money on something you’ve eagerly been waiting for? On the other hand, how does it feel when you have to borrow money to pay for something you need? How do you feel when you look at your bank account, knowing your finances are tight?

If money were not emotional, simply having more would make people happy, secure, and there would be no negativity associated with having more or less money. We see movies (as well as real life stories), about miserable rich people.

Researchers have identified that the most common emotions associated with money are:

embarrassment, fear, depression, guilt, shame, anger, panic, hate, jealousy, and anxiety.

Why are so many of the emotions we associate with money negative?

One factor might be that our perception of money is linked to our childhood. How did our parents or caretakers handle money? How did they feel about it, manage it, etc? If their relationship with money was negative, unknowingly that could very well bleed over into your own perception.

Too often, people find their finances in a self-destructive cycle. They tend to have money problems, which then causes them to think negatively about money. And thinking negatively about money tends to cause more money problems. If we allow our negative emotions to override our critical thinking, it will negatively influence the decisions we make with our money. This could lead to a negative money cycle.

Can we break these negative cycles, and feelings by changing our perception of money? Absolutely! People who think positively about money and believe it is something they can control tend to be more successful with their money. Experiencing success with money leads them to feel more positive about money, and thus creates a positive money cycle.

Money really isn’t the problem, it's all in how we approach it and how we feel about it. Money can also make us feel happy, excited, satisfied, and mostly, secure. Money should enhance our lives, not ruin them.

We need to be careful with money. It's far better for us to control our money, than allowing it to control us. We can learn to control it through practicing self discipline in the way we manage our resources. By being aware of the role our emotions play in our finances we can have more control over our money.

“I can calculate the motion of heavenly bodies, but not the madness of people.”

~Sir Isaac Newton; The Maxims of Wall Street, p.89

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