Money psychology is one of the most fascinating aspects of personal finance for me. So often, our money decisions aren’t made from places of logic. Instead, we make those decisions from the heart. Our emotions can confuse our finances. I’m always working on this myself, so I was intrigued to see a New York Times article that delves into the topic about, providing four key money questions to ask ourselves.
About the Money Psychology Book
The four questions come from Jennifer Risher’s new book, “We Need to Talk: A Memoir About Wealth.” The book explores the relationship between money and status/ power. It seems like an important book for the 21st century.
4 Key Questions
The author of the NY Times article has identified four key money psychology questions addressed in the book. Examining them can help us each better understand our own relationship with money.
1. If other people don’t have money, why is it okay for you to have plenty?
What a huge question right? It addresses the core issues of the book. But at a personal level, I think it’s a way for us to address our own underlying thought processes about what it means to have (or not have) money. Those subconscious thoughts can affect the way that we treat our money. For example, digging into this question, you might come to see that you feel badly if you have too much money and that you self-sabotage your finances as a result.
2. What does it mean to live well?
The answer isn’t the same for everyone. If you don’t know the truth of what it means for you then you can end up wasting a lot of money “keeping up with the Joneses.” This is really a means of addressing your values and figuring out what role money plays in allowing you to live by those values. Living well might mean living frugally.
3. What do you want money to do?
What your money’s “job” in your life? Personally, I like being able to create and live by my own schedule. Earning a certain amount of money allows that for me. The way I choose to earn that money (through freelance work) further allows it. You might want money to provide security, to allow you to travel, or to let you help others.
4. How does money connect you to other people?
I have to confess that this question floored me a little bit. I’ve been the solo head of a household for over twenty years. Therefore, I tend to think of my money as “mine.” I have to earn it. I have to spend it. I don’t really think about how it connects me to others. But what an amazing question.
One of the key things addressed in this section of the book is how a failure to talk about money can disconnect us from others. For example, if a friend invites you to expensive dinners, and that’s not how you want to spend your money, but you are afraid to discuss that directly, then you might just avoid the friend. On another level, if your amount of wealth insulates you into a certain class of neighborhood then you might not have the opportunity to connect with people who differ from you.
What are some of the money psychology questions that have helped you better understand your relationship with finances?
- Financial Psychology: Do You Have a Money Disorder?
- Would You Rather Have More Time or Money?
- #LearnOnTikTok: Financial Advice on Social Media