As human beings, we’re born storytellers — and we’re not just talking about the yarns we weave over coffee or a campfire. We tell ourselves stories as often as we tell stories to others, and the narratives we choose to believe can have a huge impact on our futures. And that’s why we’re here today to talk about money scripts. (Don’t worry: no stage time is required!)
What Are Money Scripts, and Why Should You Care?
Even if you’re not an actress, you live your life by scripts: unconscious belief systems that dictate how you act in, react to, and navigate the world around you.
Your behaviors are shaped by your identity: the stories you tell yourself about who you are.
For example, maybe you strongly identify as a mother… which means you sign up to chaperone each and every class field trip, even when it requires shuffling things around at work (or ignoring your child’s pleas to maybe sit a few out!).
Or maybe your strongest point of identity is your prized status as a southern woman… which is why you’ve learned to whip up the very best cornbread or peach pie on the block.
But even the best baker or most gung-ho PTA parent plays other important roles in her life. Maybe you’re a wife, a sister, or a busy professional. A working mom juggling life as best you can. Maybe you’re a lover of animals, or traveling the world, or watching old movies.
In short, any script can only tell you so much about who you are — and money scripts are no different. Learning about which money script you’re following can help you break free of its limited scope.
Knowing Your Money Script Can Lead to Financial Freedom
Money scripts are the beliefs and behaviors we’ve built around money, dating all the way back to childhood. They’re often completely subconscious and may have been passed down for generations, affecting how you and your family act around money all without your intention or knowledge.
Because our money scripts impact how we behave with money throughout our lives, learning which one we subscribe to can help us get a clearer picture of how we want to navigate toward our financial goals moving forward. In other words, if you see your money script for the limited half-truth it is, you’ll be better able to overcome it — and enjoy a more holistic sense of monetary health.
Here are the four most common money scripts we see in our clients. Which one sounds most like you?
We’ve all heard that money can’t buy happiness. But Willa, the money worshipper, isn’t quite sure she’s on board. It seems pretty clear to her that more money can bring at least some sense of contentment and accomplishment, and for that reason, she’s always working as hard as possible to acquire as much of it as she can.
But somehow, it’s never enough; no matter how many arbitrary monetary goals she meets or how many expensive things she buys, Willa still feels a sense of emptiness. And what’s worse, that penchant for fancy things may mean she’s hiding a staggering amount of revolving credit card debt.
On the other end of the spectrum, you have Vicki, who’s money vigilant. Rather than spending her earnings on experiences or objects, she’s apt to stash every last penny she earns — sometimes to the point of hiding those savings from her partner.
As important as it is to take your financial future seriously, Vicki does get the sense that she may be overdoing it from time to time. She finds herself tossing and turning at night wondering how she’s going to meet her retirement goals or fretting over the $15 she spent on a restaurant dinner… which is the opposite of how financial security is supposed to feel.
Most of us have, at some point or another, found ourselves repeating that oft-stated phrase: “money is the root of all evil.”
Well, Amanda, who’s money avoidant, actually believes it — not just sometimes, but always. She’s convinced that most wealthy people she meets are greedy or corrupt, and takes a certain pride in living on less. But her money avoidance also means she may pass up financial opportunities that could lead to an easier life: a classic case of self-sabotage.
Finally, say hello to Sally, who follows a money status script. To her, the equation is simple: net worth = self worth. That means it’s absolutely essential that she make as much as possible… and convince everyone around her that she has, too. Which is all fun and games until she takes on another wild shopping spree or decides to take her paycheck to the casino, all without ever saying anything about her expenditures to her husband.
Let’s Review Your Money Script
If these money scripts sound limited and oversimplified to you, that’s because they are! Money scripts can only provide a sliver of information about how to behave around money, and without other influences, that information is almost always short-sighted.
Determining which money script you identify with is just one step on the road toward a well-rounded, healthy relationship with your money… and we’re here to help you take that step and all the ones thereafter! To set up a one-on-one meeting and see how Mosaic Wealth Strategies can help you find financial peace of mind, reach out to us today.
After all, your life is way more complex and beautiful than a single script can handle — and that’s exactly the way it should be.