Psychology of Money: 19

Turns out it’s not so easy to slink into a 12 person meeting in a small, airless room where most of the other people know each other. On my lunch break today I dashed over to my first Debtor’s Anonymous (DA) meeting.  While I was ready to ‘fess up regarding my financial crimes, I didn’t really believe Debt to be one of them, so I wasn’t sure if I’d be welcome in the group. Anyone reading this who has ever been to a 12-step AA inspired program, won’t be surprised to find out that 1) Everybody is welcome!! and 2) If you THINK you have a problem, you definitely have a problem.

For innocents, this video gives you an idea of what happens at AA and AA type of meetings.


Turns out Debtor’s Anonymous (DA) is for anyone who has issues under-earning, avoiding financial realities, chronically spending or raking up debt after debt. And obviously all of these types of bad behaviours go hand in hand. Indeed there was even one person there who confessed to be very affluent without any debt – except for a spiritual/emotional kind of self-debt. No, I didn’t know what it meant either. Most of the room was definitely talking about cash issues.

Now, the question is this – while most of us accept that alcohol or nicotine or narcotics are physically addictive, do we believe that spending is?

According to psychotherapist Sue Gerhardt in her book, The Selfish Society, the answer is YES.

“In the West, we are trapped in these cycles of endless striving and dissatisfaction, trying to keep up with ever more elaborate displays of consumption … this drive to accumulate … appears to have addictive qualities: it is a powerful appetite which has no inbuilt mechanisms to alert us when we have had enough.”

Our author goes on to talk about the dopamine in our brain whenever we experience that immediate high of a reward and just how fantastic capitalism is at exploiting this human weakness for more and more pleasure.



Filed under Money

2 responses to “Psychology of Money: 19

  1. Evy

    I recently went on holiday to Cuba. It was the first time I have ever visited a communist country. I was suprised that instead of finding a people suppressed under communist dictatorship, bizzarly, in some ways they are actually free. This is waht I get by this; in Cuba there are no adverts anywhere. Its strange and you only notice how many adverts we are constantly bombarded with, once you have been to a country where there aren’t any.

    The thing is that commercialism harnesses our insecurities and makes us believe that we are not quite good enough. We are not quite trendy enough unless we have an iphone, not quite attractive enough unless we buy the latest make-up, not sexy enough without the latest or perfume, etc etc. Don’t get me wrong, I love shopping as much as the next person 🙂 but are we always in control of our spending? And are we thinking enough about the real reasons we are buying things?

    I met a guy in Cuba; David the doctor. David could not understand the concept of paying a huge amount of money to wear clothes with someone else’s name on it. My Roberto Cavali sunglasses were clearly wasted on him…

  2. nathaliehourihan

    Evy – I’m with David, I’ve never been a brand girl. I do love quality but I don’t like brands being plastered on my gear. Re – do we always know why we’re buying/are we in control. I’m sure people who work in marketing & advertising get sick of hearing this – but it really is the source of so much insecurity and needless waste! Marketing as a science was invented to solve the problem of over production after each great war earlier last century – by the time of the 2nd world war Freud’s nephew Eric Bernays had rocked up and introduced psychology to advertising ….

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