I chose to do my book review on Brad and Ted Klontz’s “Mind Over Money: Overcoming the Money Disorders That Threaten Our Financial Health” because I have observed, and participated in, bad financial decisions that have greatly impacted my family for decades. I’ve taken many personal steps to attempt to break the cycle of destruction that ended my parents’ marriage, and to raise my children in a debt free environment. Unfortunately, it has not been an easy task. I have read many financial self help books and attended seminars on the subject. This book caught my attention when it said that simply learning how to budget and pay off debt isn’t enough, that one has to first understand our psychological relationship to money, and then move beyond the financial constraints we put on upon ourselves. For years I had struggled with debt and money management. I had always assumed it was my lack of education that held me from moving forward. Reading this book has been a welcome eye-opener.
Part One: The Big Lie
Chapter 1: Information Is Not Enough
The authors, Brad and Ted Klontz, show that money is identified as a major source of stress in our lives. “In a modern, industrialized society, money is one of the only things that touches on and impacts each and every one of our needs”. Money is not only essential to get our basic needs met, it is also very closely linked to emotional needs such as success, love, acceptance, security, atten¬tion, and the two are often inseparable.
Using imagery of a tilted table with three legs, the authors have us visualize a situation in which one leg is shorter than the other two causing the table to tilt. We can affect a quick fix by putting something under the shorter leg. When we experience emotions such as anxiety, fear, and shame with money, it can cause us to feel off-balance so we compensate by grasping for things that help us feel like we’ve regained balanced, even if it’s temporary, such as shopping, working, eating, substance abuse, even sex. As the stress increases, the table tilts more and unless the underlying the negative behaviors are changed, those behaviors are repeated. These behaviors are motivated by emotions, so simply teaching money management skills will not restore balance. “Time heals all wounds”, includes modest changes to bad habits.
When I was in my early 20’s, I made many poor financial decisions after I had discovered my girl-friend was pregnant. In an effort to be the image of a grown-up that I thought I should be, I purchased a home with an adjustable rate mortgage, bought furnishings for the home with credit cards, and then bought two new cars, while earning only minimum wage working for RadioShack. After one year, the payments due per month on the house doubled. By this time, my son had been born, my girl-friend was now my wife, and she was pregnant again. The only thing I could come up with was to put everything on credit cards. While I felt I was taking care of things, I was only...