According to behavioural psychology, we all have subconscious money scripts or inner dialogues that shape the way we use, think and feel about money. As such, if we can identify these money scripts and change the way we react to opportunities arising from our environment, this will allow us to prosper. Money scripts propel our financial decision making, ultimately, determining whether or not we will become prosperous.
What are Money Scripts?
Behavioural scripts derive from behaviourism or behavioural psychology and are “a sequence of expected behaviours for a given situation”. Your money scripts are comprised of your beliefs, values and emotions relating to money. These behavioural scripts influence how you react to events, people, the environment and, essentially, life unfolding around you. In childhood, we model our money scripts on the way we observe our parents handling their finances.
What Kinds of Money Scripts Are There?
Your financial behaviour is sculpted by both your subconscious and conscious money scripts. Though, whether or not money scripts will have a positive or negative impact on your finances will depend on the context. Money scripts are based on your personal belief system surrounding money, which means they can’t be distinguished as purely good or bad. Below you will find a list of some of the more universal money scripts.
- Money contempt:
“Money is bad”
“Rich people are greedy”
- Money obsession:
“Money buys happiness”
“There’s no such thing as too much money”
- Money power:
“Money gives me social status”
“Money makes me powerful”
- Money caution:
“Saving is vital”
“Spending is bad”
Context is Everything
For instance, the money script, “Spending is bad” may help you to make a good financial decision in a context where, say, you have to resist the urge to splurge. Then again, in another context, this same money script could lead to a poor financial decision, if it prevents you from taking advantage of a lucrative investment.
Conscious, Purposeful Behaviour
Being aware of your money scripts means you can accept or reject them, giving you conscious control over your financial decisions. Understanding how money scripts influence your emotions and behaviour, when confronted with specific situations, allows you to respond in more purposeful, appropriate ways. In this manner, you will be able to consciously work towards your financial goals by making better decisions, instead of involuntarily reacting to money related events with emotional pain or avoidance.
Reflecting on your money scripts will change the way you interpret the world and how you behave, so you can tap into those wealth-creating resources you never knew you had.