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Are You A Compulsive Buyer?


As we head into Black Friday and the holiday season, how do we navigate the irresistible impulses to buy? Because consumption fuels our economy, compulsive buying is condoned by our society. Do you get tingly sensations in your brain from the release of endorphin and dopamine at the idea of shopping? Are you a shopper who heads to the mall or shopping websites when you feel down, and then experience shame, guilt and regret after making those purchases?

According to the American Psychological Association, 73% of Americans identify money as the number one stressor in their lives, more than work, health and (hard to believe) children. This comes as no surprise to financial advisors. For some, money issues and behaviors stem from the result of damaging and disabling beliefs or money scripts. What limiting unconscious money scripts are you telling yourself? These money scripts are often formed in childhood, from unfinished business related to your families, your experience in your own life, or the experiences of generations before you. We internalize these messages and they become part of our world view. Beliefs developed for survival and protection in an unpredictable world. When you are faced with financial issues, decisions, or stressors, your behavior comes forward from the context of these established beliefs.

Here are some of the most common money scripts:

There Will Never Be Enough. When we believe there will never be enough, we set ourselves up to experience anxiety, insecurity and fear. It puts us on a treadmill often sacrificing marriage, children and health in the need to accumulate more.

Money is Bad or The Rich Got that Way By Taking Advantage of Others.This script is likely to sabotage any potential financial progress. It would be easy with this belief to defend not having to work to achieve anything.

More Money Will Make Things Better.  We believe more will bring us happiness, security, freedom or whatever you seek. However, when you meet your arbitrary target, the payoff never quite materializes. Faster, quicker, and harder never quite arrive after an entire life time of striving.

It’s Not Nice to Talk about Money.  Books, magazines, TV and radio shows spew programs about earning and managing money. Why then is it taboo or "inappropriate" to talk about our relationship with money? It is easier to share sexual secrets than money secrets.

It is possible to re-write your script. Once you recognize and are aware of your money scripts, the emotion often will begin to diminish, as you incorporate new knowledge around the behavior.

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Comment   |  5 years, 11 months ago from Denver, CO