How do people manage their money when nobody’s looking? What is behind the financial choices—good and bad—that we make?
Many of those choices are shaped by our “money scripts,” the unconscious beliefs we all hold about money. Most of these beliefs are partial truths, which we tend to follow blindly even though we aren’t consciously aware of them. Like a script for a play, these beliefs are often “written” by someone else and we end up memorizing them for delivery in the financial “play” of our life. The problems start when the play—our financial situation—changes, but our lines, or beliefs, don’t.
Money scripts deeply influence what we do around money. They are especially significant in keeping us stuck in self-destructive cycles of financial behavior—such as overspending, hoarding, accumulating burdensome debt, being overly fearful about the future, or failing to plan for the future at all.
One important aspect of the integrated financial planning work I do is to help clients identify and understand their money scripts. Once we learn about these hidden beliefs, we can look at the aspects of them which are not true and begin to “rescript” them. This is an important step toward making healthier, more balanced money choices.
Now, for the first time, a survey has been designed to help identify more clearly which money beliefs are tied to specific money behaviors. My colleague and co-author, Dr. Brad Klontz, has developed the survey, which will be distributed online to several thousand people.
The survey is an opportunity to participate in research that should help financial planners, financial coaches, and financial therapists work more effectively with their clients. It’s also a chance for you to learn more about your own money beliefs and how those beliefs affect the way you handle your money.
If you’d like to be part of this research, you can access the survey by just clicking here.
Completing the survey will take about 20 minutes. Some of the questions relate to demographic information such as age, level of education, family income, and the like. Obviously, this information is an important part of the survey. But it will be analyzed only as group data. No responses will be identified individually, and no identifying information will be collected or kept.
Any survey participants who wish to do so can register to win one of ten $25 gift certificates. This is a way of thanking people for taking the time to complete the survey. Those who register will be asked to provide an email address or other contact information. We promise that information will not be saved, shared, or used for any purpose except notifying winners of the gift certificates. Participants are not going to get emails trying to sell them insurance, financial services, vacation cruises, dubious discount drugs, or anything else.
The results of the survey will be included in a new book on money scripts that is due out at the end of this year. Dr. Brad Klontz, Dr. Ted Klontz, and I are currently working on this book, which will be published by Health Communications, Inc. I’ll also publish a summary of the survey results in a future column and on the KFG website.
If you’re interested in taking part in the survey, please do so soon. The closing date is June 15. We’ll greatly appreciate your helping us accumulate this important data. We also believe you’ll learn some interesting things about yourself that will help you build a more balanced relationship with money.