What Money Scripts Reveal About Your Finances

By | March 23, 2021

Sometimes, no matter how hard you try, your relationship with money refuses to improve. The answer could lie in your money scripts. Not sure what they are? Read on.

What Do Money Scripts Reveal About Your Finances

Every New Year brings with it the promise of boundless possibilities to turn our lives around. In the run-up to the New Year, we all may have made an effort to spend some quiet time by ourselves, pausing and reflecting on the year gone by and filing notes about what aspects of our lives we may want to improve in the coming year.

But barring may be a few who always stick to the plan no matter what, somewhere along the way, we all get caught up in the regular humdrum of life-chasing deadlines, meeting work targets and taking care of our family, and we forget completely about our resolutions. But, sometimes, in spite of our efforts, and not the lack of discipline and commitment, our money goals may not ever materialise. And this could be because of reasons that may not be so clear and visible. We’re talking about your psychology, particularly the type of money scripts you may be subconsciously subscribing to.

What Are Money Scripts?

‘Money scripts’ is a term coined by Dr Bradley Klontz, a financial psychologist and associate research professor at Kansas State University, who described money scripts as “unconscious, trans-generational belief about money that was developed in childhood, which drives money behaviours in adulthood”. These unconscious beliefs take shape in your childhood and remain nestled deep within your consciousness. And as you grow older, these determine your behaviours and decisions around money all your life.

Additional Reading: 5 Common Financial Crises And How To Deal With Them

How Do Money Scripts Impact You?

Dr Klontz and his team of financial psychologists identified four money scripts that impact us to varying degrees:

Money Script

Mental Indicators


Money avoidance Thinks money is bad, and rich people are greedy or corrupt. Feels unworthy of having money. Trouble sticking to a budget overspends and is a compulsive buyer. Avoids looking at bank statements.
Money worship Thinks money equals happiness but doesn’t believe he’ll have enough money to be truly happy. Compulsive spender and revolves Credit Card debt. Workaholism at the expense of family relationships.
Money status Thinks self-worth is tied to net-worth. Believes living the right way will result in having their financial needs met. Pretends to be richer than in reality. Lies about money to spouse or loved ones and prone to gambling addiction.
Money vigilance Believes in saving money, and disagrees with financial handouts. Anxious and secretive about financial status. Alert and watchful over finances and avoids buying on credit. Excessive wariness or anxiety over money.

If out of these four, any of the money scripts elicited the strongest response from you, chances are that money script is the one affecting you the most and biasing your behaviour towards money.

Additional Reading: 15 Days To Fiscal Fitness

How Do You Minimise The Impact Of Money Scripts?

Money scripts may have the potential to impact your behaviour towards money, but the degree of its impact depends really on you. Finding out which money script is negatively impacting your attitude towards money is the first step you can take towards curbing the influence of money scripts. That said, since it’s buried deep in our unconscious, the influence of money scripts works in tacit ways and you may not be able to immediately recognise it. That’s why it’s crucial that you closely monitor your behaviour and thoughts regarding money, and check your actions whenever you can.

An interesting thing to note about money scripts is that they may not only lead you to overspend and rack up a huge debt, rather if you have the money script of ‘money avoidance’, for instance, you might refrain from investing your money in either Fixed Deposits or Mutual Funds to increase your wealth, and keep accumulating your earnings in a Savings Account. This isn’t money-wise either since with low-interest rates on Savings Accounts, your wealth is unlikely to grow over the years. If you’re having trouble sticking to your financial resolutions, now may be a good time to find out if your money script is holding you back from acing your financial resolutions.

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