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Make smart choices about your money, time and productivity

Apr 30, 2018

#127: Most people know what they “should” do — save for the future. Spend less than they earn.

Why do so few people follow through?

The answer may have less to do with tactics, and more to do with a person’s deep-seated beliefs, fears and anxieties around money.

Your income, debt, and spending habits aren't merely a function of your actions. They're a reflection of your deep-seated inner psychology around money.

Dr. Brad Klontz, a clinical psychologist and financial planner, joins me on today's show to discuss four "money scripts" that may be harming us. These scripts include:

Money avoidance -- We believe money corrupts or that staying poor is noble, so we self-sabotage our success. Yet at the same time, we also desperately (at the conscious level) want more money in our lives, and feel trapped between these conflicting ideas.

Money worship -- We believe money will solve our problems. And even though we know that the research says that, after a tipping point, it won't, we don't internalize that idea.

Money status -- We believe our net worth is our self-worth, and we overly identify with our investment and bank balances. We may display conspicuous consumption or place a high priority on making the "right" friends.

Money vigilance -- We watch our money carefully, but we may also feel anxious about running out. We may also downplay the amount of money that we have, if we're outperforming our friends, because we feel guilt and imposter syndrome.

In addition to these four "money scripts," we also grapple with innate cognitive biases around how we manage money.

Let’s take a look at loss avoidance, for example, which is a common cognitive bias. Humans are hardwired to fear losing money, far more than we fear missing opportunities for growth. As a result, we might hold onto an investment for longer than we should. Or we might become preoccupied with penny-pinching, at the expense of earning more.

In this episode, Dr. Klontz and I discuss shame, guilt, and how to implement behavioral changes. We talk about how to contextualize our beliefs based on our family history, and how to recognize whether or not our beliefs are limiting or dysfunctional.

Dr. Klontz shares his story about graduating with $100,000 in student loan debt, and feeling anxious about whether or not he could repay this loan. He decided to sell his car, poured the proceeds into tech stocks, and watched this investment disappear. That’s when he started questioning why someone like himself, someone of relative intelligence, would do something so ill-thought-out. And this sparked his lifelong passion in financial psychology.

How can you develop a healthy relationship with money? Find out in today's episode.

For more information, visit the show notes at