How your Childhood Affects your Money Problems According to a Financial Psychologist


Developing spending and saving habits vary per person and whether we like it or not, how we were raised has a tremendous effect on our decision making as adults. There are times when our childhood upbringing make positive results, but there are also times when the results are detrimental to our wellbeing, particularly to our financial health.

According to a financial psychologist, author, and cofounder of financial-consulting firm Your Mental Wealth, Brad Klontz, a person's core attitude towards money is not entirely because it is innate in a person or it's his own decision.

"The No. 1 lie we tell ourselves about money is that our financial problems are the result of us being crazy, lazy, or stupid," Klontz told Business Insider. "It's actually totally predictable based on where you grew up and what you were taught."

According to Klontz, two of the major problems with Americans when it comes to financial wellbeing are their tendency to spend too much and save very little.

"It's really not that complicated. Save money, don't spend more than you make. I have yet to find somebody who doesn't know that," Klontz said. "But I do believe that the majority of our financial problems are the result of our psychology."

Through his research, what Klontz was able to uncover was that the underlying reasons for these money problems are not because of a person's own behaviors or capabilities but it's all about the attitude or belief about money based on their own parents' beliefs. According to his research, the top money scripts or beliefs that people have mistakenly led to follow are:

Money worship: "More money will make you happier, there will never be enough money, or money will solve all of your problems."

Money avoidance: "Rich people are greedy, money corrupts, good people shouldn't care about money, or it's not OK to have more than you need."

After conducting studies involving thousands of people, Klontz concluded that that "these beliefs are associated with [corresponding] financial outcomes, like lower income, lower net worth, bad financial behaviors". And that as soon as a person recognizes their own money scripts, these beliefs can be corrected and people can change their attitude and behaviors towards money.

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