The biggest money mystery – why do I do what I do? (Part one)

Posted on: August 13, 2014

By Melanie Buffel, BA Psych, MBA candidate

woman with question markJill is a single woman in her early 40’s. She enjoys her job and has interesting hobbies. She has good friends and family who often remind her how fabulous she is. Her cat seems to think so too, at least when he’s hungry.

Jill makes $75,000 a year, significantly more than the average Canadian income of $48,250. Yet she feels trapped by her money, always chasing her debt and never managing to put anything away in savings. How do other people manage she wonders?

I’m not giving any secrets away if I tell you it is relatively easy to create a spending and savings plan for Jill. We can add up all the numbers and create a balanced plan that provides a good lifestyle today as well as put money away for a dream vacation, some renovations on her condo and toward her retirement. We can easily make the numbers add up on paper. But then the real work begins.

Why does Jill feel so anxious and confused when she thinks about her money? Why does she avoid opening her credit card bills? Why does she agree to go on vacation with friends when she has no savings and is labouring under her debt?

Money is about so much more than your salary, your bank balance, which mutual funds to invest in and how to get a good deal on your mortgage. Money complexity lies not only in the math, it lies in your relationship with money and how you express that through your behaviour. Money is about security, freedom, power, shame, guilt, self-esteem, and so often our money decisions are fear based and keep us trapped in a scarcity mindset, unable to fully enjoy our present and consistently anxious for our future.

In her book Money Magic, Deborah Price offers a way to build our awareness of what fuels our money behaviours and transform our relationship to money so we can release the fears and live from a deep sense of abundance. She defines eight money archetypes, how they manifest in our lives and outlines practical methods to release the hold they have on our behaviour.

Here are the first four types. Do you recognize yourself?

The Innocent: You choose to avoid your money, living in denial of the effects it has on your life. You are easily overwhelmed by financial information and often look to others to make your financial decisions for you.

The Victim: You are prone to living in the past and blaming your circumstances on external factors. The victim has not fully processed the pain of their past and allows it to continue to define their present and affect their future.

The Warrior: You appear quite successful and confident in money matters and may be a focused, decisive money manager. You search out advice but ultimately you make your own choices. You have a hard time learning the lessons others have to offer you and are intent to win at all costs.

The Martyr: You are busy caring for the needs of others often at the expense of your own. You rescue your friends and family from their money troubles. You give gifts you may not be able to afford. You often feel let down when others do not do the same for you. You may be a perfectionist and have high expectations of yourself and others. You are holding onto a wound and are unconsciously attached to your own suffering. If you heal this wound you can become a gifted healer for others.

The types do not define who we are, but instead offer us a window into where we are operating from in relation to our money. Building awareness of what underlies our actions is the first step to creating powerful changes in our money and our lives.

If you didn’t see yourself in those four archetypes, watch for a description of the remaining four in September.

Melanie Buffel Bio box copy



Category(s): Money Coaching, Relationship to money
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