Money Scripts and Predicting Your Financial Future

money scripts

Money Scripts and Predicting Your Financial Future

Money scripts are the thoughts, beliefs, and attitudes that we hold about money. They’re typically developed in childhood and are often reinforced by your life experiences. Dr. Bradley Klontz, a financial psychologist/associate research professor/Certified Financial Planner (CFP®) coined the term, then completed additional research to uncover why these scripts are so important.

Klontz discovered that money scripts drive financial behaviors throughout our lives. When they’re developed in response to an emotionally charged or traumatic financial flashpoint, they become resistant to change…even when they’re self-destructive. It’s common knowledge that psychological traits may interfere with the financial planning process. But he discovered that money script patterns can predict disordered behaviors such as financial infidelity, compulsive buying, financial dependence, pathological gambling, etc.

There are four money script profiles:

  • Money avoidance: “Money is bad, rich people are greedy & they don’t deserve money.”
  • Money worship: “Only money can bring power and happiness. More money will solve all of my problems, yet I will never have enough.”
  • Money status: “Give me the newest and best things. My success is measured by the amount of money I earn.”
  • Money vigilance: “I embrace frugality. I always want enough saved for an emergency but prefer not to discuss how much money I have or make.”


The first three money script profiles have a negative impact on financial health. These belief patterns are associated with lower levels of net worth, lower income, and higher amounts of revolving credit. In contrast, the money vigilant are alert, watchful and concerned about their financial welfare. As a result, they have a higher net worth, are less likely to spend compulsively, or less likely to ignore their finances.

For many people, developing an awareness of their automatic thoughts about money and their origin can be a profoundly freeing experience. For example, recognizing that your belief that “rich people are greedy” was passed down through generations and has now had a negative impact on your financial legacy. Only after we recognize these negative scripts can we choose to shift our thinking and eliminate the limiting beliefs we innately hold.

To read more about the four money script profiles, their corresponding destructive financial behaviors, and how the scripts often overlap, check out How Clients’ Money Scripts Predict Their Financial Behaviors.

MainStreet Team
MainStreet Team

MainStreet Financial Planning, Inc., an independent fee-only financial planning firm was founded in Maryland in 2002 by Jim Ludwick, CFP® who passionately believed that financial planning advice should be accessible to people from all walks of life without product sales and investment management services. In 2006 Anna Sergunina, CFP® joined the team and together they grew MainStreet Financial to a nationally recognized company, with a team of 6 staff members and 5 offices across the country.

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