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08.25.2015 Sharon Spano, Ph.D.

Are You a Victim to Money Madness?

Are your “money habits” jeopardizing your overall well-being?

When it comes to money, madness can equate to thinking and behaving in ways that are foolish or destructive.

The good news is that you can change your habits when you change your mind. Let’s begin by diving deeper into what money madness actually looks like.

Money Madness Stems from Scarcity Thinking

It’s easy to feel like we’re a victim to our circumstances. Truth is, if you’re experiencing some level of money madness, you’re really a prisoner to your own thoughts.

Scarcity thinking is the devil in the darkness, and that demon has little to do with how much money you actually have in your pocket.

This is how it plays out.

You may operate from a mindset that there’s never enough. Sometimes we even fall into the trap of believing ourselves unworthy of what is available. As a result, we manifest behaviors associated with fear, uncertainty, paralysis, and an unwillingness to contribute.

We may also self-sabotage or blame others for what we don’t have. In an effort to survive, we might resort to manipulation to get what we want or need.

If you’ve ever walked down this street of money madness, you know it’s a dark and scary place. And, it’s a difficult cycle to break, but it can be done.

One of my primary reasons for creating The Money Meter is to help people do just that. You need to know what hole you’re in before you can dig your way out.

Let’s start, then, with a brief overview of what our early results are showing for those people who score in a high or moderately high scarcity perspective on money.

Remember, there’s no right or wrong here. This is just information intended to help you move past habits or beliefs that may be holding you hostage.

You deserve an abundant life, so let’s get on with it.

The Red Zone: High Money Scarcity

People who score in the Red Zone on The Money Meter inventory seem to live in a “never enough money” conversation, and that conversation is typically very loud. In fact, it may run their entire life.

It really doesn’t matter how much money they make, there is never enough. Sometimes people in this category have experienced some level of poverty in their early childhood years, and because of those early experiences, they live in fear that their financial resources will suddenly disappear.

The Red Zone crowd may also believe that they cannot do anything to change their financial situation. A sense of helplessness overrides any creative power to create more money.

Again, it’s important to remember that high scarcity doesn’t necessarily equate to how much money is in your bank account. People of wealth, for example, may have unhealthy, competitive behaviors around money that produce greed or narcissistic generosity.

Inappropriate Money Talk

One indicator of money madness is what I like to call Inappropriate Money Talk. People who score in the Red Zone may tend to either avoid conversations about money all together or they talk about it all the time.

If you suspect you’re in the Red Zone category, learn to pay attention to your conversations about money. If you’re experiencing emotions of guilt, shame, anxiety, frustration, or even anger when you think or talk about money, there’s work to be done.

Begin by examining your early childhood experiences with respect to money. What were the messages you received from your loved ones? What behaviors were associated with those messages? What are your money habits today as a result of those messages and behaviors?

Examine the truth about how you slipped into money madness, and you can reinvent your worldview and your outcomes.

The Orange Zone: Moderate Money Scarcity

This category is even trickier because people who score in this zone seem to confuse responsibility with scarcity.

Responsible money habits can override money madness but only if you understand the heart and soul of stewardship. Otherwise, responsibility is just another form of scarcity. It’s the thief cloaked in self-righteous behavior, but he still has a heart of fear.

The Orange Zone crowd has a belief that they do have some control over what they earn and spend. Even so, the yoke of responsibility can be a heaven burden to bear.

For example, the “responsible” money-minded person may be so busy saving for the future, they miss the joy of now only to find themselves frustrated and overwhelmed by daily monetary demands.

The Flow of Money

One of the things I admire about my husband is that he understands the flow of money. Over the years, he’s taught me that money comes and goes. Sometimes you have more, sometimes you have less.

You may adapt your living style to what you have, but a heart of gratitude and generosity never waivers when you live in abundance.

People in the Orange Zone have difficulty with this concept because, for them, money requires effort. Once they’ve put forth the effort, they have a greater tendency to want to hold on to what they acquire. They may even become prisoners to their belongings.

Understanding the flow of money means that we never get too attached to what we have. We’re good stewards of our resources. We’re responsible when it comes to how we care for what we acquire and have, but we’re not in bondage to those belongings.

Budget Beware

Budgets and profits-and-loss statements are useful tools for those in the Orange Zone. They can offer up a sense of where you are financially so that you can appropriately plan for your needs now and in the future.

However, beware of budget bondage.

People in the Orange Zone crowd may have difficulty doing anything that doesn’t fall “into the budget.” If you’re being held hostage by your own financial tools such that you don’t experience gratitude or generosity, you may be living in a “responsible” Orange Zone that’s increasingly burdensome.

Your budget, like your calendar, should hold plenty of white space. White space allows you to adapt and adjust to life’s circumstances. Being prepared doesn’t have to equate to fear and rigidity. Being prepared from an abundant perspective should give you confidence and freedom to choose how to best use your financial resources.

Stay tuned as I explore the relationship between time and money further. If you haven’t already taken the The Money Meter, I invite you to join in the conversation.

Published by Sharon Spano, Ph.D. August 25, 2015