Having read Dr. Klonz’s article (Do You Have a Money Disorder?) you are probably in a state of shock and bewilderment, wondering which of the “money disorders” he described you may have succumbed to- and why. How could it be?
However, the better response would be to take a step back and do some mental stock-taking.
Yes, money and financial matters generally can create a real cognitive dissonance between what people say, what they do, and what they actually believe, or think they know.
As John Maynard Keynes (a “rock star” economist, before rock stars existed!) said:
“The love of money as a possession — as distinguished from the love of money as a means to the enjoyments and realities of life — will be recognized for what it is, a somewhat disgusting morbidity, one of those semi-criminal, semi-pathological propensities which one hands over with a shudder to the specialists in mental disease”
And there lies the nub of the issue.
Money does not care whether you exist or not. It is neither good nor bad; it is simply a means or a tool which one can use, or regard, wisely or not.
In other words, it is your attitude to money that matters as much as how much or little you have.
Of course, those who are truly financially stretched and unable to afford a decent standard of living for themselves and their children have every right to feel angry, stressed and aggrieved- and there are still too many families on this expensive Island in that situation. However, beyond a certain level, money ceases to become a literal necessity, and appears to mutate into something to be desired, coveted and hoarded.
There are also, as DR. Klonz points out, a number of behavioural pathologies that either prevent an individual from having a healthy relationship with money, or cause behaviours that are harmful to them and/or others. As he also points out, these are symptoms of factors of which the individual may not consciously be aware, or which they deliberately block. Clearly, that is unhealthy.
So, what are the steps to addressing a money disorder?
1: Acknowledge it exists. Stop pretending to yourself and others that “it just ain’t so”. Some behaviours are clearly addictive and well as destructive
2: Ask for help. Oddly, given how much distress money issues cause, there seem to be very few professionals experienced in addressing the pathological and addictive aspects. Gamblers Anonymous exists and does fine work; but financial planners, bankers and the like are not really trained and equipped to help individuals develop a healthy relationship with money. Talking to someone whom you trust, who you know has your best interests at heart, and has demonstrable experience with money, investing and finance should help
3: Think about what would represent to you a healthy and sustainable outcome. Wishing to be a millionaire, or win the lottery, or receive a large legacy is idle nonsense. Look within (if necessary with the help of a trusted friend) and examine your needs, wants and desires. Only then, can you start deciding how to move forward.
We would be interested in readers’ comments (we suggest anonymously) on their own experiences; and will try to address or refer any specific questions.
We shall also write further articles on the fraught topic of “money and its discontents”.
Click here to learn more about money disorders and the affect it they have on health.