What are Your Money Scripts?

Money scripts are beliefs around money that we typically inherit from the culture we are brought up in. We learn them from our parents, who learned from their parents. You might be living a money script that somebody wrote a long time ago and has been carried down through generations. Or possibly you created a version of your own money script in reaction to your parents’ relationship with money. Either way, these money scripts can have a significant influence on your relationship with money. They can affect the way you spend in the present and plan for the future.

In the studies done by Brad Klontz, a financial psychologist and author of many money mindset books, he identified four basic categories of money scripts. They are: Money Avoidance, Money Worship, Money Status, and Money Vigilance.

Money Avoidance is prevalent in people that are raised in low income and economically disadvantaged areas. Commonly these people think money is corruptive and that rich people are greedy. This leads to taking pride in living with less money. This script helps people feel better about their situation. Unfortunately, it is a common script, and it leads to poor financial behavior perpetuating the poverty cycle.

Money Worship is where money is considered paramount. It is a belief that money will solve all problems or lead to satisfaction, happiness, and fulfillment. While money can solve some problems, it does not create fulfillment and meaning in life. Common things with money worshippers are overspending and thinking that having material things will make us feel better.

Money Status is when people think that their net worth is the measure of their self-worth. This is the space where social status matters and wealth is flaunted. It can be the “keeping up with the Jones’” mindset. People with this money script are more likely to have credit card or other debt and detrimental financial habits.  

Money Vigilance refers to a cautious or prudent approach towards money and financial matters. It often involves being highly attentive to finances and being future and planning oriented. Those who exhibit money vigilance might be more conscious about saving, budget carefully, and be careful about debt or investments. They are frugal and are more likely to have higher net worths and higher incomes.  

These four are the money scripts identified by Klontz. There may be other scripts and stories that we have formed due to our life experiences that can coincide with or be a combination of these. Are your scripts obstacles to your ability to achieve financial success? Though you might not have had a choice in the money beliefs you acquired growing up, you have the power to reshape your financial mindset now. Understanding your prevalent money script, or scripts, is the initial step toward making wiser financial decisions.

Linda Grizely is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ professional and the owner of Visions Financial Planning, a business designed to nurture strength and resilience and to empower people to visualize and achieve a future that’s secure and filled with promise. She’d love to hear your story and explore the possibilities for collaboration. Please feel welcome to arrange a time to talk for a free 30-minute introductory meeting.