Why do people behave irrationally with money?
Think About The Kinds Of Behaviors Driven By Money:
• People lie and cheat over money – We all know about Bernie Madoff.
• People steal and kill over money – Evidence the huge number of financial crimes and murders.
• People marry or divorce over money – Think, Ana Nicole Smith, the ex-playboy model who married a billionaire who was 63 years older!
• People worry endlessly about money – The American Psychological Association reported that money is the number 1 stressor for Americans.
• People even kill themselves over money – Read the following blog and view the CNN interview with Dr. Gottfurcht.
Adolf Merckle blog with the CNN interview with Dr. Gottfurcht
We tell people: “It is important to realize that money by itself does not cause these hurtful experiences. Money is neutral; it’s just little coins, pieces of paper or plastic cards. The true cause—the source of our money issues—is what money represents in our minds.”
The important questions then become:
Why does money hurt so many people?
Why does money produce so much irrational behavior?
We believe the major answer to both questions is that money is an emotionally charged issue. Our reactions primarily come from childhood experiences. When a child or adolescent is repeatedly mistreated regarding money (whether verbally, psychologically or physically), he or she has a strong tendency either to recreate the experience of being mistreated by money or to rebel by mistreating others with money.
We invite you to reflect upon and send us your comments about how you have developed any irrational or hurtful behavior with money and what you have done to help overcome this behavior.
Wishing all of you a healthy, peaceful and prosperous new year.
James W. Gottfurcht, Ph.D.