Have you ever stopped to take inventory of how you arrived at your current financial state of affairs? I don’t mean simply thinking about how you ended up in your career, what your net worth is or how much money you make. I’m referring to your early lessons about money that you picked up either through observation or activities during childhood and adolescence.

It starts early in life

These life experiences are often passed on from our parents or extended family and may represent overall cultural events. Money beliefs can be extremely stubborn and are difficult to change since they can become a part of our ongoing “money script” or life story that follows our financial behaviors. No matter where you are on the journey to reach your financial life goals, it’s always helpful to be aware of your past experiences with money whether they were positive or negative.

Four types of money beliefs

Money beliefs play a major role in guiding your current and future financial behaviors. These beliefs help explain key differences between savers, spenders, and people who try to avoid money matters completely.  According to research performed by Dr. Brad Klontz and Dr. Sonya Britt, professors at Kansas State University, three out of four primary money beliefs (money avoidancemoney status, and money worship) are linked to destructive financial behaviors. The other money belief, money vigilance, was not linked to problematic financial behaviors.

Which are you?

Generally speaking money avoiders tend to view money as negative, think the wealthy are greedy, and that they don’t deserve money.

Money worshipers believe that having more money will solve all of their problems, money leads to power and life satisfaction, and money is a scarce resource and there will never be enough of it.

People with money status belief systems tend to define their self-worth by net worth and place a great deal of emphasis on buying the hottest new items with leading brand names and quality.

Money vigilance is typically associated with themes of frugality and people with these money beliefs tend to focus on importance of saving, use discretion when discussing financial matters and express anxiety about saving for emergencies.

Are your beliefs a support or roadblock?

Are your money beliefs helping support your financial behaviors or are they creating roadblocks for your financial life plan? If you are having trouble following a budget, eliminating debt, or saving, your money scripts may be holding you back. You can take this quiz, which is the Klontz Money Script Inventory (KMSI) if you want to complete your own self-assessment to examine your own money beliefs.

It’s never too late to rewrite your script

The good news is that you have the opportunity to rewrite these money scripts. By learning what your belief system is, you can begin to examine how that may translate into your financial situation, then take mindful, deliberate steps to change.