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Money and Emotions

Money and Emotions

Money and Emotions: Why has money become such an emotional topic? We used to live in a society that didn’t even have money. Admittedly, it’s been a while since those days. Even so, did the advent of money create the emotional state it causes? Or did the emotional state exist previously?

I’d hedge a bet that it existed before. But as we’ve become a richer and richer country, it has become worse. Money causes angst.

  • Is there enough?
  • How do we get more?
  • Who’s spending it so fast?

These and a myriad of other questions float through our minds constantly. 

Money and Emotions
Money and Emotions

At the root, money is not the cause so much as our desires for things money can buy.  I don’t just mean material things. I mean status and prestige, acceptance and belonging, and other perceived values.

Sometimes it goes back to the old “keeping up with the Joneses” desire that has been fostered by the media.  It’s overhype and pressure that is created to have everything everyone else supposedly has.  The reality is that most Americans that “have it all” (as it appears to their neighbors) rarely do.

More often than not, the façade is hiding something else.  Frequently it is fear or inadequacy that is being expressed through material possessions.  Insecure people, in insecure marriages, will turn to shopping to cover up the real issues that should be addressed.

Let’s face it: happiness cannot be bought.

If there are issues in your relationship that you are trying to cover up, acquiring more stuff will not resolve them.  Unfortunately, this goes on far too often.

Money and Emotions
Money and Emotions

There is another scenario, which may overlap with the previous one.  The hidden truth is that the possessions we parade around to create a sense of superiority are bought on a mountain of debt.

More and more, Americans are living in constant debt instead of saving enough to make purchases out right.  Credit is so easy to get that we think nothing of taking out another credit card to buy the latest toy.

Somehow, we’ve come to believe that we should have whatever we want.  We no longer must delay gratification, so we don’t.  Unfortunately, that leads to accumulation of debt that is beyond our control.

Many of the emotions that we believe money creates are caused by our own insecurities. We are insecure about needing to be someone we aren’t in order to be accepted.  The irony, of course, is if everyone is doing this, then who are we really trying to keep up with?

Essentially, it is a show that everyone is participating in to try and be accepted by everyone else. Talk about pressure. 

The pressure alone will cause a range of emotions and strife in any relationship.  We should learn to let go of the need to have “things”.  What is most important in life is actually the relationships we have with other people.

If we shift our focus to addressing any issues in our relationships head on, and not try to buy our way out of them, we can start to heal.  Whether that is in our primary relationships, or in our perceived rivalry with the Joneses.  Maybe we should all take a step back and stop trying so hard.  If we learn to accept where we are in life and who we are, money won’t become such a source of distress.

Sherry Lutz Herrington is the owner of Sherrington Financial Fitness, a business consulting and accounting firm specializing in strategic business planning and solid financial accounting for businesses. She is also the author of Strong Women Thriving (, a blog which focuses on empowering women to be financially savvy, particularly after experiencing financial abuse. Sherry is currently writing a new book that both shares her personal story and addresses financial abuse. She can be reached at Join our FB group!

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