Right, enough about taxes. I’ll keep you posted on how long it takes for me to file them and what it costs me in the end (time, money, headaches, paper cuts, etc.)
The subject for today is EMB — emotional money baggage. The concept never occurred to me until one day about twelve years ago I was at a friend’s skimming her bookcase while she made us some coffee. It was chock full of new age and self-help. I reached for an outrageously colourful book filled with doodles and drawings and prose printed in handwriting. I can’t remember the book but I remember the “menu” inside the front page – there were sections on unleashing creativity, on building your own community, on accepting your body, on facing your fears and then to my surprise there was a section about making friends with money. The topic seemed out of sync with the rest of the book. But then it didn’t. At some level I’d long understood that for me money was riddled with murky emotions and pretzel-logic.
I just hadn’t understood that we all have EMB. I’m not the only one who is driven to behave financially in ways I don’t understand.
Counsellor Corinne Sweet examines our relationship across 9 archetypal patterns: planners, hoarders, spenders, worriers, gamblers, gold-diggers, doormats, ostriches & eco-warriors. (For a simple online test visit Olivia Mellon’s website.)
In case you can’t guess I proved to be an ostrich with streaks of the spender (tied to the fact that I’d prefer not to stop and think) and the worrier (when taxes call or disaster strikes thanks to all that avoidance and spending.)
Now stop and consider this: what type are financial advisors likely to be? Hoarders! (Or ‘amassers’ by Mellon’s typology.) Isn’t it ironic that spenders are most likely to hire hoarders to help them out of money messes. What works for a hoarder is never going to work for a spender. Mellon is one of the few experts out there combining psychology with financial expertise to train advisors to understand that their clients are not like them; we are driven by a very different set of needs and habits.
People pretend that money is about numbers, and that like math there’s a right way and wrong way to do things; but money is about values. And mixed up in all those values we’re often blind to our EMB. As psychologist Jeremy Dean explains “the link between intelligence and money is a bit of mystery. People with a high IQ tend to be more patient in financial matters. That might make you think they would be more wealthy, but there’s barely any relationship…” between IQ and wealth. Go figure.