The messy emotions behind your money decisions

I'm an emotional eater. I eat when I'm stressed, bored, happy or sad. Somehow I still think that food will fix whatever issue I'm faced with but I know this is temporary. Eating this way has always played havoc with my weight and my health.

The  messy emotions behind your money decisions.

This is how some of you spend your money. You are emotional spenders! And the effects can be just as destructive. But instead of showing up in your pants or dress size, it shows up in your bank balances.

A friend who is a financial planner told me that approximately 35% of her time with clients is spent on non-financial issues. She tells me it’s not financial literacy that’s lacking in most women because women know how to handle money. We all know we need to spend less than we make, invest more money, have an emergency fund and pay off our debt. But we struggle to implement all of these seemingly easy steps to secure our financial future. The reason for failure with money is some unregulated emotion or belief that is running our decisions. 

Money has power. Or rather money can have power over us if we allow it to. Instead of seeing money as a tool, many of us see it as a means of gaining respect, or appreciation or status. This is why it easily controls us.

Unlike traditional financial planners which is based on rationality, not emotions, messy emotions are behind our money decisions. Our beliefs influence the way we behave and, in turn, what we accomplish or do not achieve with money. That's how scammers get a hold of our money. They know how to appeal to our emotions mislead us.

What makes most of us so crazy when it comes to money? We like to believe our choices, and actions are guided by reason.

As we mature we get so good at interpreting and anticipating events and people we develop habits in the ways we think. And, like all habits, we do what psychologists call automatic thinking “self-talk" in milliseconds.

That's why when it comes to money, we can so easily deviate from logic and reason. We already have automatic thinking self-talk ingrained in us. This clarifies why we keep sabotaging our financial efforts that keep us poor.

You can’t fix any of your money problems without dealing with your moneys. So let’s explore those money emotions.

Fear is the big bad wolf of money emotions, and it comes in different guises. Being in debt or knowing your finances are spiraling out of control are both common causes of deeply fearful money emotions – the kind that make you break out in a cold sweat at two-o’clock in the morning! When faced with money problems women feel powerless to the point of being unable to face opening their bank or credit card statements, let alone deal with the problem.
Even when you are financially solvent, fear can strike. Maybe you are terrified of making the wrong investment decision, like buying or refinancing a lavish home with a high mortgage or sticking with a safe, familiar investment product. Consequently, you let someone else make the decision for you.
Fearing your finances keeps you in the dark. Get your fears on the table with someone you trust so that you can plan for a happier, wholesome future!

Anger / Revenge:
We all get angry but it becomes unhealthy if you turn to money to resolve your feelings. Buying things can make you feel powerful. Women who have been hurt or betrayed seem to believe without any doubt that if the other party suffers, then they will feel better--their emotional pain will lessen.
Have you ever had a fight with your partner and your first instinct is to wreck the credit card? I know lots of women who defy their partners by spending money to rebalance the power.
When it comes to money conversations, never have passionate discussions about money. When you feel anger welling, stop yourself. Go for a walk, take a few breaths, clean the house, anything. And never go shopping in an angry state. 


Have you ever felt anxious about money? I have. The idea of not having enough money — and especially the idea of being unable to do something about it — can be terrifying. Anxiety is a lie that anticipates the worst, so you may feel you will never have enough money or will never get out of debt. 
While money troubles can cause anxiety, it turns out anxiety can cause money troubles. Our relationship with money can be a source of great stress and anxiety when not managed properly—especially when what encourages our stress and anxiety arises from real or imaginary fear. According to Psychology Today, Money disorders are persistent patterns of self-destructive and self-limiting financial behaviours. When dealing with anxiety, health professionals recommend writing down triggers for anxious feelings, along with resulting thoughts.

Spending to fill a void or to achieve certain feelings can seriously wreck havoc on your purse and cause you to buy things that you don’t even need. Instead of facing reality and doing something to improve whatever unsatisfactory situation you find yourself in, you turn to your drug of choice, shopping, to give you that little pick-me-up that you are craving for. And people who have this struggle don't even realise they are shopping to fill a void. They just think they like shopping.
If you are buying something to provide you with outside validation of your worth  it’s not a good idea. Your self-esteem and worth come from the core of your being, not from a pair of expensive shoes or dress. 

Do you see yourself in any of these?

Spending money under all of these emotional influences can only make the underlying problem worse depending on how carried away you get.

Whatever your dealing with the first step as they say is to figure out what emotions may trigger your financial decisions so you can stop that spending binge before it starts. You can use your emotional reactions to start a dialogue around your financial values. What do you want money to do for you?

So the next time you have to make any kind of financial decision, step back from it for a moment and locate your feelings?  Are you feeling fear? Or perhaps anger? Or perhaps a feeling of disgust that can come with a lack of money?

You will be surprised at what you see when you acknowledge the emotional side of money. And whatever emotion it is will be an important one for you.

Which emotion do you struggle with?