Today’s topic is the first of four categories of money scripts: Money Avoidance. In episode eight of The Financial Therapy Podcast, you can download the Klontz Money Script Inventory (KMSI-R) to help identify some of your money scripts. This assessment will also help you understand which of four categories that your dominant money scripts may fall into. The categories are Money Avoidance, Money Worship, Money Status, and Money Vigilance.
The first nine items in the KMSI-R relate to Money Avoidance. A few of these questions are:
- “I do not deserve a lot of money when others have less than me.”
- “People get rich by taking advantage of others.”
- “I don’t deserve money.”
- “It’s hard to be rich and be a good person.”
The more strongly you believe these to be true, the more likely it is that many of your money scripts may fall into the Money Avoidance category.
Money Avoidance Scripts are based on beliefs that money is bad, money is anxiety provoking, and rich people are greedy. Generally speaking, a person in this category just has a negative view of money and feels anxious about it. No wonder they want to avoid it.
Research shows that Money Avoidance is correlated with lower levels of education, income and net worth, youth, and being single. This category can predict a range of self-defeating money behaviors, including compulsive buying, hoarding, financial enabling, financial denial, and workaholism.
The occupation that scores highest in Money Avoidance is mental health professionals. It is interesting that the work done by people in this field is incredibly valuable and important, and it’s among the lowest paid professions.
If your money scripts put you into the Money Avoidance category, what can you do? First, I suggest getting curious about your beliefs around money and where they came from. Keep in mind, also, that you probably have various inner parts that don’t fit into Money Avoidance. You have those parts that think money is bad and anxiety-provoking. Then you likely have other parts that may wish that things were easier financially, or that you did like money, or that you would be more engaged with your money.
Where did those beliefs and burdens around Money Avoidance come from? Chances are they began in childhood. There are countless reasons someone can take in intentional or unconscious messages from caregivers that “money is bad.” Especially if children internalize shame and fear because of incidents around money, the result can be a belief that money is something to stay away from.
Money Avoidance typically results in a lot of financial stress that can have a strong negative impact on your financial health. It can really hold a person back from developing good money habits, earning a sufficient income, and building net worth.
One thing that can help change avoidant behavior is to begin to create small habits around checking your money. Look at your credit card statements and bank balances regularly, say once a month. Maybe set a reminder on your phone; maybe schedule a monthly financial checkup meeting with your spouse. Consider making a spending plan. This can help build awareness and over time can increase your comfort level in talking about money. Let me emphasize that this is something to approach gently. You don’t want to strong-arm or shame yourself into becoming more engaged with your money. It’s really important to begin to look at the positives that this can do and the freedom that this can bring for you and your loved ones.
Check out The Financial Therapy Podcast by Rick Kahler concerning this topic.