Contents xi Acknowledgments Introduction 1 Chapter 1: When It Comes to Money, We’ve All Got Issues 7 Note 9 Chapter 2: Money Messages 11 We Don’t Talk about Money 11 We Talk about Money Constantly 13 From Freud to Frodo: The Stories We Tell Each Other 15 The Stories We Tell Ourselves 19 Stories Can Help or Hurt 24 Heuristics and Biases Shape Our Stories 26 Identifying Core Beliefs 27 Challenging Core Beliefs 28 Using Science to Our Advantage 32 Notes 32 Chapter 3: Poverty, Privilege, and Prejudice: A Crash Course in the Science of Money Psychology 33 Money and Social Psychology: How Poverty, Privilege, and Comparisons Affect Our Minds and Behavior 35 vii.
Acknowledgments T to the following individuals, without whose contributions and hank you support this book would not have been written: First, to the incredible professors who have inspired and challenged me, and taught me to diligently question my assumptions: Jim Grubman, George Criner, Mario Teisl, Shannon McCoy, Caroline Noblet, Bill Halteman, and Linda Silka. Your scholarship and support have made this work possible.
Introduction T of books for those who love money. Enter any here is no shortage bookstore and you will find guides to help you think rich, attract money, or beat Wall Street. These may appeal to people who aspire to great wealth and luxury and those who associate money with opportu- nity, happiness, and freedom. But where is the book for the rest of us? Where is the book for the people who have come to equate money with stress, inequality, barriers, or greed? Where is the book that acknowledges the darker side of the financial world? That book is here.
1 When It Comes to Money, We’ve All Got Issues We know we have problems with money. As individuals we know it, and as a country we know it. Private and public foundations spend millions of dollars every year trying to teach people how to budget, save, invest, and get out of debt. There’s just one problem: It doesn’t seem to be working.
13 We Talk abouT Money ConsTanTly world than many think. If wealthy parents were truly better at teaching money management to their children, I doubt very much that this pattern would have persisted. The truth is most people simply don’t talk about money.
15 FroM Freud To Frodo: The sTories We Tell eaCh oTher From Freud to Frodo: The Stories We Tell Each Other Sigmund Freud believed that the human psyche draws a parallel between money and feces. He was Freud, after all; some things are to be expected. While Freud’s interpretation may strike some as odd, the idea that we have some cultural or subconscious metaphors for money is not the least bit strange. Ask an economist, and they will tell you that money is a “store of value,” or a “medium of exchange,” but economists are probably the only ones who will take such a sterile tone. Far from these emotionless descriptions, most cultural interpretations of money tend to describe it as falling into either the category of the sacred or the pro- fane. Nearly every money message we encounter has within it some tone of good or evil, and taking stock of which messages we have come to believe, and the moral tenor they imply, can bring us a long way toward understanding why we behave the way we do with our own money. Realizing the moral undertone of the messages we have internalized can also help explain why so many of us have a love–hate relationship with money, or have come to consider it a “necessary evil.” Money messages surround us in our cultural stories, proverbs, fables, and pithy words of wisdom. These stories tend to fall into three broad categories. First, there are the words of wisdom that we hear again and again in the form of proverbs or common sayings. I think of these stories as messages about money disguised as advice about life.