Money can bring out your most fearful self or your largest heart. Which one you surrender to changes everything. How do you do this? By finding effective ways to surrender fear, stinginess, and other resistances to abundance so that money can flow more freely into your life.
To identify your style of relating to money, below are five money types, including quizzes from my book, The Ecstasy of Surrender. Though you may contain aspects of more than one type, pick the one you most resonate with. Evaluate your financial habits with kindness. The goal is to develop a successful approach to money and get pleasure from what you spend on.
Type 1. The Worrier Worriers can be thrifty, astute problem solvers, and will avoid errors because of their diligence with finances. The downside is that worry increases stress hormones, decreases immunity, and impairs health and sleep. It’s important for them to focus on surrendering worry so they don’t sabotage abundance with their panicked relationship to finances.
Quiz: Am I A Worrier? Ask yourself: Do I worry about money every day? Do I make financial problems larger, not smaller? Do I have difficulty falling asleep because I’m worried about money? Do I worry about money even during comfortable times? Do I find I can’t stop worrying, even though I try? When one financial worry is solved do I immediately go onto another? If you answered yes to all 6 questions then worry plays a very large role in your financial life. Four or five yeses indicate a large role. Two or three yeses a moderate role. One yes indicates a low level. Zero indicates that this is not your primary money type. Use this format to calculate your score in the other four money types in this blog.
The art of surrendering worry is to stay focused in the present moment, rather than making up worst case scenarios to freak yourself out, and take action where you can, such as slowly paying off a debt. What’s hard for worriers to accept is that despite their valiant efforts to be financially secure, they can’t control everything.
Type 2. The Procrastinator This money type notoriously avoids dealing with finances with denial. They live from paycheck to paycheck. For the short term, the feel-good benefit of denial is that stress is reduced as thoughts of financial pressure disappear. But reality will catch up with them when bills mount and creditors start calling. Then panic and guilt about not fulfilling responsibilities set in.
Quiz: Am I A Procrastinator? Ask yourself: Do I put off financial decisions? Are my bills piling up? Do I have difficulty making decisions about money? Do I keep ignoring my credit card debt? Do I glaze over when paying bills? Are my taxes or other bills always past due so I accrue penalty charges? As a psychiatrist, I know how much diligence it takes to surrender denial. This is something procrastinators have to want to do. Then, gradually, they can train themselves to address money at a comfortable pace. The secret to letting go of procrastination is finding the sweet spot between accepting financial responsibility and taking time out from stress to unwind.
Type 3. The Addictive Spender Addictive spenders prefer the thrill of spending to the security of saving money. They spend on impulse whether they can afford it or not. Spending becomes a drug, a way to self-medicate low self-esteem, hurt, and disappointments by futilely trying to fill an emotional hole with material things–a temporary fix at best.
Quiz. Am I An Addictive Spender? Ask yourself: Do I have difficulty controlling my spending? Do I get a thrill from spending money or gambling? Do I over-spend to escape worry, anger, or loneliness? Am I a compulsive shopper, unable to pass up “bargains” I can’t afford? Are my debts affecting my serenity and reputation? Do I have a bad credit record? Addictive spending is primarily an emotional and spiritual issue, not a financial one. Treatments include counseling, twelve step programs such as Gamblers or Debtors Anonymous, along with being taught money management skills. Healing comes from learning to address and let go of painful emotions without trying to numb them with spending.
Type 4. The Saver/Miser/Hoarder These types are practical, good at planning for the future and saving for a rainy day. Nevertheless, there’s a difference between being financially responsible and obsessive. Savers who go overboard can become penny pinchers and greedy misers. It’s hard for them to enjoy their money, take vacations, or spend on themselves and others.
Quiz. Am I A Saver? Ask yourself: Am I diligent at saving money but don’t hoard? Do I prefer conservative investments to risk taking? Can I enjoy spending money on things I can afford? Do I try not to spend more than I make? Am I against greed? Do I give to charitable causes? When savers turn into misers or hoarders, it may suggest obsessive compulsive disorder which makes them clutch onto money and things to ward off anxiety, the opposite of surrender. They can’t surrender control and be generous because they fear scarcity. To avoid becoming a mean, miserly Scrooge spread abundance by anonymously leaving small amounts of money for people to find. Experience the happiness of this as you let stinginess go. Be a self-appointed money gnome who spreads abundance in the world.
Type 5. The Intuitive Spender At their best, intuitive spenders are finely tuned instruments, balancing logic with gut instincts in money management, hiring, and investments. However, intuitive spenders get into trouble when they simply go on impulse and disregard logic. Also they can misread a financial situation if they can’t distinguish intuition from wishful thinking or fear.
Quiz: Am I An Intuitive Spender? Ask yourself: Do I check in with my gut about finances? Do I look beyond logic for answers? If a decision feels right do I act on it or if it doesn’t can I let it go? Do I trust my gut when it says “beware” of an investment? Will I take a reasonable financial risk based on intuition? Do I consult my intuition about how to creatively make money and where to invest or donate? Smart intuitive spenders also have good common sense. Intuitive spenders can be brilliant money managers if they’re clear about what messages they’re surrendering to. The key is to let go of overthinking or fear, and trust authentic intuitions.
(Adapted from The Ecstasy of Surrender: 12 Surprising Ways Letting Go Can Empower Your Life Harmony Books, 2014 by Judith Orloff MD)