Private historical past helps form how one views cash | Enterprise

Each of us has a unique relationship with money. Like many of our personalities, our early experiences and the people who shaped them influenced our view of finance. And the happy financial experiences you had early on may have given you a solid foundation or made you less aware of money management.

“Mind Over Money” by the son-father team Brad Klontz and Ted Klontz examines how our personal history shapes our relationship with money. Using real life examples (with changed names), they explain how our life stories lay the groundwork for monetary disruptions and provide some tools to address financial dysfunction.

As a little girl, for example, Leslie diligently deposited part of her pocket money into a savings account. Taking great pride in her accomplishments, she took her passbook with her every time she made a deposit and enjoyed watching the balance grow every time she went to the bank. One day when she was making a deposit there was no money in her account and she was informed that her father had withdrawn the money. She asked her father why he had taken her money and his answer was to laugh and say it was his money. As an adult, Leslie tended to spend every bit of money that got in her way. She had no retirement plan and nothing in an emergency fund. Her story had taught her that once she got it, she had to spend money. Otherwise someone could come by and claim the money back.

You may find this finding illogical, but any type of dysfunction lacks logic. What about workaholism? As the Klontz authors point out, workaholics generally work inordinate hours to make money, believing that it will make them and their loved ones happier, better people, and status. Logically, we know that more money isn’t the source of happiness – and it certainly doesn’t make someone naturally better. Yet we often see people extolling the virtues of their work.

There are many money disorders that can appear subtle or even invisible. There is money avoidance, money worship, and relational money disorders. In relationships, there is sometimes infidelity about money – and hides financial problems and their consequences. People sometimes use money to control another person in a relationship. This happens with parents and adult children, spouses and business partners. Empowering people with money is also dysfunctional, and the financial consequences can be devastating for the enabler and the person being empowered. Ultimately, financial dysfunction is emotionally damaging and can be financially destructive.

This book was published right after the Great Recession, and many of the examples and feelings described for that period will sound familiar to us today. In addition to insights into money management, there are additional resources that can help all of us develop healthy relationships with something that is part of our daily lives.