Rethinking The Love of Money

Oct 13, 2022

Time for Reflection

I invite you to take a few minutes and reflect on your reaction to the title of this blog post. 

 

What do you notice coming up for you?

Anger

Dismissing

Curiosity

Racing Heart

Relief

Something else

 

     What lessons have you learned about loving money? Take five minutes and do a brain dump reflecting on the lessons you learned about loving money. 

 

Who taught you these lessons?

How old were you during each of these lessons?

What have these lessons meant for your relationship with money?

How often were these lessons taught?

Were the lessons taught directly and explicitly or indirectly and implied?

 

Is The Love of Money Really The Root of All Evil?

     It’s a Tuesday afternoon at a financial planning conference, and I am enjoying a presentation on Financial Therapy by two of my dear friends, Dr. Megan McCoy and Daniel Kopp. One session attendee raises their hand and says I have seen clients struggle with thinking that money is the root of evil. They share that this is tied back to an often misquoted biblical scripture and that it actually says the love of money is the root of all evil. 

 

      The fuller sentence in the biblical scripture is from 1 Timothy 6:10 and says, “For the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil. By craving it, some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many sorrows.” 

 

      My chest tightened as this topic was addressed. It brought me back to my time in evangelical Christianity with biblical inerrancy and infallibility.  Which for me personally made it challenging to consider and challenge the meaning of often cited biblical passages and specifically ones related to money. 

 

      Yet it is the often-cited partial religious truths about money that get cited and that we internalize. Then we take on as unquestionable truths. Leaving us feeling conflicted about what to do with money in our life. This is especially true for those who learned not to question authority.

 

    I have enjoyed meeting adults that even in their childhood, learned or took it upon themselves to challenge authority. This is a psychological ability I continue to refine more for myself with an anxious attachment style that steers me away from challenging authority for fear of losing relationships. 

 

     This spirit of questioning can help us actively reflect on what is actually true about us as humans and people who use money. 

 

Pulling Back For A Bigger Perspective

     What I now know as a financial therapist is that each religious tradition has its own overt and direct messages about the role of money in life, as well as more implied and hidden messages about money. 

 

     Throughout our lives, many of us receive dire messages about the pursuit of wealth, fame, and status, which are all part of the emotional ecosystem of money. These messages are not restricted to religious/spiritual teachings; they come from our family members, friends, culture, and media. 

 

     Perhaps it’s time for us to slow down and reflect on what it might mean to “love money” from a place of balance, perspective, and, yes, love. A healthy definition of love of money can help free us to care for ourselves, our families, and our community. When we move from a fear-based approach to money to a healthy love-based approach to money, we reduce elements of anxiety, fear, shame, jealousy, and guilt.

 

    The field of attachment psychology has only begun to explore how people with the four different attachment styles  interact with money and their intimate relationships. From what I know and have read about attachment theory it seems reasonable that each of the four attachment styles would hold different attitudes about the role of money and experience different emotional reactions to their own financial decision making and their partners. 

 

Yoga Shifts My Financial Anxiety

     The following morning, I attended a yoga session at the financial planning conference. You may be thinking yoga sessions at a financial planning conference; what in the world? When you know about the XYPlanning Network of Financial Planners, it makes sense. 

 

     So there I am in morning yoga and my mind turns to the love of money comments from the day before, and out of nowhere, my brain and mind say, what if you could love money without evil as an outcome? I was startled. In the cascade of my mind and body, a number of questions and sensations emerge. 

 

How could I possibly love money? 

That would be wrong. 

Loving money would feel freeing.

What would other people think?

 

I sit with this and just try to let the different thoughts and feelings come up. 

 

      As a mental health professional, I have learned to observe what my mind, brain, and body serve up to me and become curious about it. If there is judgment, I notice that. If there is compassion, I notice that. I just observe. 

 

     By the end of the yoga practice, I have not tried to hold on to the question of loving money. I have just noticed. After finishing the yoga session, I realized there might be ways to love money that honor my individuality and desires and, simultaneously, recognize that I am not bad for loving money. I feel a more powerful sense of expansiveness, openness, and curiosity. Ways of being that I enjoy. What’s noticeably missing is fear, anxiety, and shame. Deep breath. 

 

You and Your Partners Journey of Loving Money

     I invite you to talk with your intimate partner about the love of money. Use the prompts at the beginning of this blog post to start the conversation. 

 

     From my perspective, one of the most important things a couple can do for their financial life together is to reflect on their own belief systems, especially about money. Beneath our money fights and money differences are often complex and dynamic belief systems about money that guide our thoughts, feelings, and actions with each other and money. 

 

     As couples actively reflect on their belief systems, they foster more profound levels of financial intimacy. 

 

     If you haven’t had a chance to check out the Healthy Love & Money Podcast, click the link and listen. My wife’s favorite episode is with my friend, fellow financial planner, and financial therapist Shaun Maslyk.



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