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How do people (really) feel about money?

How do people feel about money?

Our attitude towards money does not come out of nowhere. Rather, it is learned.

Have you ever wondered how you came to your current view of things?

How did you arrive at the values ​​that shape how you deal with money today?

In this article, we get to the bottom of it…

The influence of parents

There is no doubt that our parents influence us with their behavior and worldview without us being aware of it.

The psychologist Katharina Ohana writes in her book “Gallow: ICH” :

“We integrate our parents into our developing personality – and then later we are surprised that we have become so like them. […]

Never again will we be emotionally as open and dependent as in our childhood, never again will we learn so quickly and so much.

And never again has anyone influenced us as much as our parents and their rules, their love, their right and wrong.”

Our first environment, i.e. the family, has a significant influence on what we consider valuable and what goals we consider worth striving for.

Ultimately, chance decides on this imprint: Because you can’t (unfortunately) choose your family.

So your current attitude towards money is determined in large part by how your parents dealt with money and how they felt about it.

If you remember…

Did the family talk freely about financial matters or was money more of a taboo subject?

Was there always enough money or was shortage an issue (present for the grandmother)?

How important was consumption? What about saving (i.e. renunciation of consumption)?

Who made the money in the family? Who managed it? Who determined what it was spent on?

Was debt an issue?

How important is real estate in general and your own home in particular?

Have you talked about stocks and the stock market? If yes, more positive or negative?

Take the time to think about these questions in peace…

On what points do you agree with your parents today? Where do you take a completely different position?

Incidentally, it’s not about distancing oneself hell-bent on the financial values ​​of one’s parents.

Perhaps her handling of money was open, relaxed, and simply exemplary.

It’s all about becoming aware of the values ​​you have more or less unconsciously adopted from your parents’ home.

Without ever questioning whether they suit you and your life plan.

The role of your friends

Alongside parents, friends play an important role in our relationship with money.

We are social beings and what our (closer) environment thinks is therefore of great importance to us.

But who today talks openly with their friends about financial issues?

Isn’t money still a big taboo subject – even among good friends?

Yes and no.

On the one hand, we often know little about our friends when it comes to bare figures such as monthly income or total assets.

Instead, we indirectly draw conclusions about these two variables through their purchasing decisions.

Housing, holiday destinations, clothing, and cars provide indications of the financial level in our environment.

Roughly speaking, when choosing our friends:

People of the same kind stick together

The likelihood that we are on a similar financial level to those closest to us is therefore high.

The likelihood that we will make similar purchasing and investment decisions is also relatively high.

You can use these questions to check how big the influence of your circle of friends is on your attitude towards money and whether it is worth changing something about it:

Do I admire certain friends for material things?

Or do I rather envy them for it?

How important are status symbols to my friends?

How important are status symbols to me?

Do I worry about not being able to keep up with my friends financially?

Do I share the opinion of my friends on how best to invest your money?

“In choosing our friends, we must put effort into examining their dispositions of character, in order to win the most unspoiled ones possible.”
– Seneca

The public opinion

In addition to family and friends, we are also influenced by the current zeitgeist.

To make sure we “belong,” that we are an integral part of this society, we compare our values ​​with what we understand to be public opinion.

In today’s information society, this public opinion is formed by the (mainstream) media and unfortunately all too often adopted uncritically by us, the consumers.

The image of money portrayed in the media influences our values

But you don’t even have to have seen one of the many glossy home stories of any “celebrity” to come to the following conclusion:

“Public opinion is the worst of all opinions. One can be sure that every notion shared by the general public, every outdated idea is an idiocy because it has managed to appeal to the masses”
-Nicolas Chamfort

You don’t necessarily have to see it as negatively as the French writer Nicolas Chamfort.

But one should at least be aware of the influence of public opinion on one’s own system of values ​​and then try to effectively limit this influence.

Ask yourself:

How much do I let myself be dragged down by (negative) reports in the media?

Do I recognize the agenda behind alarmist news? Cui bono (who benefits?)

How do I feel when I consume news and gossip (fear, envy, greed, etc.)?

Find out who you are

So your attitude towards money is shaped to a large extent by parents, friends and public opinion.


How you value money and how you use it is ultimately up to you.

So there’s no harm in learning a little more about yourself.

I can recommend two proven psychological test methods for this:

1. The Reiss profile

This was developed by the psychologist Steven Reiss (1947-2016).

Reiss believed that our values ​​are the driving force behind the psyche and not some unconscious psychodynamic:

“People should stop blaming their parents or the unconscious parts of their souls for their troubles; they should stop seeing themselves as victims of their upbringing.

Instead, they should look at how their unfulfilled desires, unexpressed values, and conflicting values ​​get them into trouble.”
– Steven Reiss

Steven Reiss named 16 basic psychological needs (motives in life), which he held responsible as the driving force behind the human psyche.

He said:

“In general, positive emotions are signals that a basic need has been temporarily satisfied, while negative emotions indicate that a basic need is unmet or needs to be met.”

Everyone is known to be different, which according to Reiss is due to the different characteristics of the 16 basic needs.

The individual constellation causes such different personality traits.

The intensity with which a person feels each of the 16 basic needs is called the Reiss Motivation Profile.

You can create your individual personality profile with the book “Das Reiss Profile: Die 16 Lebensmotive. Which values ​​and needs our behavior is based on (your success)”.

In the appendix of the book, you will find a worksheet that you can use to do a quick self-assessment on your own.

The second psychological test procedure that I can highly recommend is the…

2. Big Five Test

The psychologist Dr. Lars Satow’s test is one of the best-known personality tests in the German-speaking world.

On the psychological counseling and information portal Psychomeda you will find a free online version of the test, which will give you valuable information about your personality profile.

Participation takes about 20 minutes, after which you will receive a detailed evaluation (also by e-mail if you wish) – all free and anonymous.

Stocks and neuroticism

If you want to invest in stocks or have already invested, pay particular attention to your result in the personality dimension of Neuroticism.

The neuroticism dimension was introduced by psychologist Hans Jürgen Eysenck, who observed that people differed on a continuum from “calm/stable” to “anxious/unstable”.

Unsurprisingly, a low score on the neuroticism dimension should make investing in stocks easier.

Because it takes certain emotional stability to be able to withstand the price fluctuations of the stock market.

But that is only one aspect of the Big 5 test.

I’m sure you will draw even more exciting conclusions from the test result…

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