An interesting study just came out from the Wharton School of Business that finds “tightwads” and “spendthrifts” tend to attract one another, even though they both consciously felt they’d be more comfortable with mates of similar spending habits. So much for the limited power of the conscious mind! The subconscious, which is where all behavior comes from, is much more powerful. This can be really great news, if you know how to work it.
As a gross generality, we tend to model the behavior of our same-gender parent, and consequently attract traits in a mate of our opposite-gender parent. Many tightwads really do want to loosen up and be a bit freer in their spending, and many spendthrifts really do want to rein in their spending. So both these polar opposites are actually seeking balance. There is a positive intent behind all human behavior, no matter how distorted/crazy/stupid/”evil” it may present. For psychological health, we “crawl behind” that negative, unhealthy behavior, harness the deep-seated need, and find a healthy way to get it met. Thus, tightwads are simply trying to feel secure and be prepared for the future. Overspenders many times are hedonistic, living for the moment, and feel denied if they can’t have what they want when they want it. Both dynamics have their place and can be tempered with balance.
Healthy couples will acknowledge the habits they picked up from their primary caregivers, and chart a course together to achieve a more central plot on the continuum for fiscal responsibility, so that both partners feel safe and comfortable. Money can be a coping mechanism, a valiant attempt to feel soothed or powerful or in control. Create ways together to meet your needs without hoarding or splurging out of control. Find ways for the spender to feel valued with a reasonable treat here and there, and find ways the saver can create security for others by “sharing the wealth” in being a practical consumer. The gap between overspenders and oversavers can be bridged through vigilance and a commitment to harmonious money management. Remember, you can’t help how you were “trained” to deal with money, but you certainly can effect positive change in this department.
I work with my patients who have “money disorders” toward creating a mission for their life’s work…..focusing on the calling, the purpose, the spiritual essence of their work, and trusting that enough money will follow. Many people work conversely, because most people focus on money vs. the spirit of money. Big difference, for in actuality, money does not exist. It is a complete social construct. We all know what “dirty money” is. Focus on making “clean money,” no matter how little or how much. For we actualize whatever we focus on, and whatever we focus on will expand. Focus on an authentic, purposeful, integrity-filled, spirituality of money. Focusing on the quality of your energy that created that amount that will, ironically, attract more.
Best of Wealth!
Dr. Nancy Irwin
Dr. Nancy B. Irwin is a Los Angeles-based psychotherapist/therapeutic hypnotist, and author of nonfiction YOU-TURN: CHANGING DIRECTION IN MIDLIFE, a collection of over 40 stories of people over 40 who made successful life transitions.