spoiler alert: Only one of the four money scripts is
particularly conducive to getting wealthy.
Tom Murphy, a certified financial planner and CEO of
Murphy and Sylvest, said the good news is, like
anything, once you recognize that you look at money a
certain way, you can take steps to change.
why you are doing what you’re doing is strongly
correlated with changing it," he said. "Lots
of times, once people understand their money
personality, how they deal with money, they can actually
go in and change their behavior."
said that money beliefs shaped by childhood trauma are,
of course, much harder to overcome.
parents who are conscious about the way they talk about
money to their children — even in tough times — can
help teach fundamental lessons about saving.
how you teach the right lesson: When the child wants
something, you tell them that’s fine, but they have to
use their own money, and in two weeks, when it’s
broken … then they don’t have it anymore,"
Murphy said. "Give the child the opportunity to
make a bad decision."
gave similar advice about investing: If you manage small
amounts of money as a kid, you have a better sense for
how it works when you’re an adult.
either like it or they don’t — that’s a hugely
valuable lesson to learn," Murphy said. "And
lots of people don’t learn that until their 20s or
which money personality do you have? Here’s how the
four break down:
avoidance: Money avoiders believe money is morally
corrupting — that rich people are greedy and therefore
they, themselves, don’t try to amass wealth when they
worship: Money worshippers believe that money will solve
all their problems, and that their happiness and power
is tied exclusively to having enough money.
status: Those who follow the money-as-status script
believe that their self-worth is equal only to their
money. They tend to believe that it’s important to buy
new things as a marker of status, rather than because
they really need them.
vigilance: People who are money-vigilant emphasize
frugality and saving — and they’re also a little bit
secretive about how much money they have.
can probably guess which one tends to produce the most
wealth over time: No. 4, or money vigilance.
Murphy said lots of people hold a mix of these beliefs
— and can exhibit combinations of unhealthy behaviors,
like compulsive gambling or giving too much of your
money away to charity. Even hoarding money and being
unwilling to spend any can be emotionally detrimental.
above all else, Murphy said, what’s most important is
at least paying attention to — and thinking through
— one’s financial decisions.