It's never about the money.
So what is it then? In my personal experiences as a financial therapy client, private school graduate, personal assistant to high-net-worth individuals, yoga instructor, secondary school educator, and professional money coach, I can safely say that financial problems run much deeper than account balances.
Here are the signposts for four types of money disorders:
- Mass accumulation of stuff (i.e. clothes, electronics, jewelry, real estate, collectibles, investment accounts) that never satisfies or feels like enough
- Doing the same thing with money over and over again expecting different results
- Not opening, removing the tags from, wearing, consuming or using purchases
- Inability to stop using credit cards
- Failure to pay bills or taxes in full and on time
- Making financial choices with negative consequences on relationships and emotional wellbeing
- Repetitive self-defeating behaviors with money
- Earning less than needed or wanted
- Waiting for someone or something to save you
- Feeling powerless, hopeless and spiritually depleted over money
- Spending money to "look good" and fulfill wants (entertaining) rather than needs (sustaining)
- Using money to change your mood
- Unmanageable clutter
Perhaps you identify with these behaviors or feelings on a regular basis. Maybe it's only happened once or a few times. It is possible that one of the other “big four” has a grip on you: food, sex, alcohol or drugs. Most people with even a hint of a money disorder suffer from habitual fear and scarcity thinking about money. Regardless, it is important to be aware of what drives your unique relationship to money. In the process of money coaching, we take a holistic approach to financial planning, which includes examining why you do what you do.