Psychological researchers have identified four main types of money scripts we have inside us:1

  1. People with money avoidance scripts have negative associations with money; they may avoid looking at financial statements or struggle with budgeting. If money is stressful, you might be a money avoider.
  2. People with money vigilance scripts are often frugal and hard-working, and have a strong financial position. But they may experience anxiety that prevents them enjoying their money. If you feel anxious about spending, you might be a money vigilant.
  3. & 4. People following money worship or money status scripts tend to see money as a solution to life’s problems and tie their net worth to their self worth. They can struggle with overspending and have a drive to “keep up with the Joneses,” even when it hurts their long-term goals. If you feel that your desired lifestyle is just out of reach, you might have internalized one of these scripts.

Identifying the internalized beliefs guiding your unconscious behavior is the first step toward taking back control and putting your scripts to work for you (not against you).