Obsessed with money disorder

Do you have the symptoms of these money disorders?

In his book, Mind over Money, financial psychologist Brad Klontz lists 12 ‘money disorders’ under three categories. While these are not considered medical conditions, neither are these simple behavioural traits. The disorders are severe enough to disrupt normal lives. Find out how you can find a remedy for each, tells ET Wealth.
A. Financial Avoidance Disorders
The four types of avoidance disorders involve a distancing from money, be it in the form of risk aversion or extreme frugality.
1. Financial Denial
SYMPTOMS: You refuse to pay utility or credit card bills, don’t invest and let money idle in the bank, delay filing tax returns, and just don’t monitor your portfolio. Denial and not dealing with money is also a way of coping with financial anxiety and insecurity.
REMEDY: Fix dates and set reminders on phone for all your financial chores. If it stems from anxiety, see a psychologist.
2. Financial Rejection
SYMPTOMS: You willingly give away money at the slightest pretext. So even though you may earn well, you are left with little at the end of the month and it is affecting your cash flow and goals. You have low self-esteem and wealth accumulation makes you feel guilty.
REMEDY: Give the salary to your spouse, who can invest, or automate investments and payments, so that the salary leaves your account before it comes to you.
3. Excessive Risk
SYMPTOMS: You are heavily invested in debt and have no equity exposure because you are unable to take risk. This could impact your portfolio in the long term as you will not be able to save enough for your financial goals.
REMEDY: Learn about asset allocation, and invest in equity as per your goals, age and risk appetite.
4. Underspending
SYMPTOMS: You find spending so abhorrent that even though you have money, your living conditions are abysmal because you don’t even want to buy the basics for yourself or your family.
REMEDY: Let your spouse handle the finances. Meet a financial adviser or a psychologist.
B. Financial Worshipping Disorders
As opposed to Avoiders, the Worshippers are extremely fond of wealth. They can’t have enough of it and believe that its acquisition will solve all their problems.
1. Compulsive Hoarding
SYMPTOMS: You can’t seem to stop collecting things, or even money, and refuse to get rid of your possessions. The obsession reaches a level where normal living in the house is affected due to hoarding.
REMEDY: Automate investments so that most of your salary is invested as soon as it reaches your account. Cut up your credit cards.
2. Workaholism
SYMPTOMS: You work very hard and without a break because you want to amass as much wealth as possible. This probably stems from financial insecurity, so the more money you earn, the better you feel.
REMEDY: Set your goals and the exact amount you will need for these. Once you collect the money you need, you can relax.
3. Pathological Gambling
SYMPTOMS: The excessive love for money forces you to take high and unnecessary risks. Besides giving you a high, it makes you believe that someday you will get lucky and get a lot of money. This takes the form of excessive trading, gambling, betting or buying lottery.
REMEDY: Upskill yourself in a way that you earn a large amount of money without having to resort to unnecessary risk.
4. Overspending or Compulsive Buying
SYMPTOMS: You want to spend and buy things constantly because the act of purchasing makes you happy. You suffer from high anxiety and retail therapy provides momentary relief. However, soon after you buy, you crave the fi x again and the process never ends.
REMEDY: Talk to a psychologist and seek a cure for your anxiety. Once the cause disappears, the compulsions will too.
C. Relational Money Disorders
As the name suggests, these ailments involve financial problems in relationships. Your money obsessions are linked to or originate from other people in your life, be it family or friends.
1. Financial Infidelity
SYMPTOMS: You are lying to your partner about money or hiding financial transactions, be it saving, spending or investing. You are also trying to secure your finances at the expense of the spouse’s.
REMEDY: Communication and working as a team are the key. Talk to a counseller.
2. Financial Incest
SYMPTOMS: You are burdening your kids with money problems to reduce your own stress. You may be blaming the spouse for money problems, making the kid guilty about his expenses, or sharing work stress with kid.
REMEDY: Sort out your relationship or money problems through counselling.
3. Financial Enabling
SYMPTOMS: You are helping others, be it family or friends, with their money problems to an extent that it is affecting your own finances. For instance, you are helping adult kids only to risk your own retirement.
REMEDY: First secure your own finances by investing right. Learn to say ‘no’.
4. Financial Dependence
SYMPTOMS: You seek support and are dependent on others for your financial sustenance. You simply refuse to take responsibility for your financial upkeep, or for monitoring your financial situation.
REMEDY: Get a job! Seek the help of a psychologist.

By Jackie Cameron

We are constantly told to budget wisely, save instead of spend and work on an investment strategy. Many of us don’t do this – even though we are warned we are heading for dire straits if we don’t.

Organisations like the Association for Savings & Investment South Africa pour huge amounts of money into consumer education, yet we don’t reform our bad money ways en masse. There’s a whole body of international research devoted to trying to understand our financial behaviour, but we mostly seem to ignore the scientists.

Why aren’t we responding to all these warnings and a constant bombardment of personal finance information? Or paying heed to our financial planners’ suggestions?

I came across an interesting pop psychology-type book this week that theorises that money disorders may be behind our inability to follow prudent advice. In Mind over Money, authors Brad and Ted Klontz have compiled a list of disorders to cover all the reasons we don’t build wealth or develop a savings plan.

In the introduction, the father-son team say: “We believe that scolding you about the risks of not having an emergency fund, or the benefits of budgeting, or how much you should be saving is like trying to treat a brain tumour with aspirin: It addresses the symptom while ignoring the disease.”

Financial advice, they argue, is not enough to change destructive financial behaviours. You have to understand what you are doing wrong.

The authors are psychotherapists with many years of experience working as counsellors. They founded a business called Your Mental Wealth. Their video testimonials reveal that they went the route of financial psychology after exploring their own money problems and realising there was a real need to offer help.

A single, isolated or rare financial mistake does not qualify as a money disorder, say the authors.

There are some obvious problems, like gambling, in their list of disorders. There are other patterns of behaviour that you might not think of as a disorder, but are getting in the way of you growing assets and improving your financial circumstances.

“Money disorders are persistent, predictable, often rigid patterns of self-destructive financial behaviours that cause significant stress, anxiety, emotional distress, and impairment in major areas of one’s life.” So, if you feel like this about money, the chances are you have more than a passing problem to acknowledge and work through.

Here’s a snapshot of the main types of dysfunctional financial patterns the Klontz team reckon they have identified. Can you spot yourself?

Money avoidance disorders

  • Denial. This is a classic defence mechanism, they say, designed to reduce our anxiety and shame over our troubles. “Financial denial is when we minimise our money problems or try our best to avoid thinking about them altogether rather than face financial reality.” In other words: you have your head in the sand and there’s a problem building up ahead of you.
  • Extreme underspending. This can keep you just as poor as overspending. You can have plenty of savings but you refuse to use and enjoy what you have because you have a compulsive need to be self-sacrificing, say father and son. So, you’re tight with your cash – and it makes you unhappy.
  • Excessive risk aversion. This is “an irrational unwillingness to take any risks with one’s money”. If you keep your savings in an interest-bearing account and shy away from investing in growth assets, like shares and property, this could easily be you. You need to take on some investment risk to build your wealth.

Money-worshipping disorders

  • Excessive risk-taking. “Here we are defining excessive as putting one’s financial well-being at unnecessary risk in the pursuit of large, but unlikely gains – like taking your rent money or your child’s college fund to the race track, or the (stock) broker’s office.” Doesn’t sound very sensible, but it happens.
  • Pathological gambling. This is the addictive variety, on the same level as alcohol and drug addiction. This is when you gamble to make yourself feel better or escape from problems and need to gamble with more and more money to “keep it exciting”.
  • Workaholism. This is when you are so involved with your work that you have little time for your family, leisure and even sleep. You get into a state of anxiety, depression and can suffer health problems. They’re obviously not talking about people who are working long hours to make ends meet.
  • Overspending. You will see lots of people with a compulsive buying disorder in your local shopping mall. “If overspenders are often worried about money, compulsive shoppers are constantly consumed by their money worries. Ironically, one of their only escapes is the act of shopping itself and so they obsess about it, experience irresistible impulses to do it, and lose control of their spending,” say Klontz & Klontz.

Relational money disorders

  • Financial infidelity. This is when you “deliberately and surreptitiously” keep a secret about your spending or finances from your partner. This can lead to the end of your relationship, warn the authors. Bear in mind, too, if your partner is hiding money facts from you, this could be because you are being unkind to them in the financial department. “Many times, financial cheaters feel the need to lie about or hide perfectly reasonable expenditures because they are married to a financial bully – someone who uses money to control and intimidate his or her partner.”
  • Financial enabling. Find it impossible to say “no” to requests from your children or grandchildren for money? You have a problem and the person you are enabling is becoming more dependent. “The classic example is parents financially taking care of their adult children who should be able to support themselves, often to the detriment of both parents and children.” Financial enablers “use money in an attempt to assuage guilt over past wrongs or slights, to feel close to others, and to continue feeling important and useful,” say Klontz senior and junior.
  • Prince Charming Syndrome. Are you waiting for a knight in shining armour, the government, the lottery or a benevolent universe to provide for your financial needs and dreams? You’re probably suffering from this one, then. “Many people choose to remain financially dependent on others because it protects them from having to take on their own financial education, preparedness and planning,” write the authors.

Some of the Klontz team’s theories sound a bit woo-woo. But there are some themes in there that I recognise in people around me. Do you?

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A 35-year-old woman in Los Angeles said that after inheriting almost $500,000 five years ago, she was often panicked and struggled with insomnia. She was ashamed, she said, to have so much money, which allowed her to start a production company and made her feel as if she was buying a career, not earning one. She spent three quarters of her inheritance, realizing later that she was trying to get rid of it because she thought she was undeserving.

“I was feeling shame that people around me think I’m successful and I haven’t earned it,” said the woman, who asked that her name not be used so her family would not know she was speaking about her financial problems. “Everybody wants a windfall, and I’ve experienced that in my life. What I have to say about that is: you pay. I didn’t pay in money, but I paid in lots of years of my life.”

She said she sees a financial planner who has also trained as a therapist — but the services are only for financial planning.

Financial planners, including Rick Kahler, who has teamed up with Ted Klontz to provide financial advising and therapy to clients, say the combination of both specialties is highly effective. “I’ve never seen clients make progress faster than when they are working with me and a psychologist, preferably in the same meeting,” he said.

But many financial planners interviewed said they saw no need to have a therapist on their team. In their meetings with clients, they said, they often heard about problems with spending, families and marriages, and as years-long professional relationships developed, they became adept at offering informal life advice. “I do believe that you can refer clients to other professionals when there’s the need,” said Morris Armstrong, a financial planner in Danbury, Connecticut “But I don’t necessarily think that everybody needs to have the Dr. Phil of financial planning.”

Among marital therapists, money is recognized as a source of stress between couples and in families; it is among the leading triggers of divorce. “People express other problems by arguing about money,” said Jonathan Rich, a psychologist in Irvine, California, who specializes in couples and money. “Issues of control and anger over other things in a relationship come out as money. And right now with the economy, there is so much money stress, more arguing and more tension over money.”

Another source of stress intertwined with money arises when adult children live with their parents, which is more common than in previous generations. “Boomer parents, the last thing they ever wanted to do was to live with their mother and father,” said Jeanne Fleming, a sociologist and columnist for Money magazine. “But when their kids want to come home, they often have two very conflicting reactions. They feel on the one hand really unsettled and they view their kids as a little spiritless. But on the other hand they are pleased that their kids view them as acceptable people to live with and tolerable housemates.”

Penny-Pinching May Signal Mental Illness

Being careful about how you spend your money can earn you a reputation for being frugal, but when the penny-pinching goes too far and money is essentially hoarded, that can be a symptom of obsessive compulsive personality disorder.

The disorder affects about 1 in 100 adults, according to the International OCD Foundation. Frugality is a symptom of obsessive compulsive personality disorder (OCPD) when a person “adopts a miserly spending style toward both self and others,” notes the American Psychiatric Association. “Money is viewed as something to be hoarded for future catastrophes.”

OCPD, however, is not the same as OCD — obsessive compulsive disorder. However, because the term “OCD” is casually used in situations where people are detail-oriented, it’s often confused with OCPD. In fact, they’re separate disorders.

“OCD is an illness where people have intrusive thoughts, thoughts that don’t make sense, that are silly to them, but thoughts they can’t get rid of and cause marked anxiety,” says Robert Hudak, MD, a psychiatrist with the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center in Pennsylvania. “People with OCPD are people who are very preoccupied with details, making lists, workaholic, very frugal. People with OCPD do not have intrusive thoughts, so they don’t worry about their symptoms. To them, they wonder, why is everyone else not as organized and as neat as I am?”

RELATED: When It’s Not Just OCD

When it comes to money, someone with OCD might have difficulty touching it to spend it because of intrusive thoughts about contamination. But Dr. Hudak says that someone with OCPD-related frugality wouldn’t be able to spend it because of concerns about being wasteful or being broke in the future. People with OCPD might be so frugal that they’d go to a food pantry or skimp on essentials, even if they had enough money for all they need.

Are You Too Frugal?

There’s a difference between being frugal and being overly so.

For instance, “budgeting so that you have enough money left over for an emergency or saving for a goal is healthy,” Hudak says.

During a recession or economic hard times, when tight budgeting is widely admired, it can be tough to know if you’re overdoing it. The most important sign that you’re going too far, he says, is when your frugality negatively affects relationships or the quality of your life because you can’t spend time or money on fun or relaxation.

However, problematic frugality goes beyond money, says Fugen Neziroglu, PhD, director of the Bio Behavioral Institute in New York City and an expert on obsessive compulsive disorders.

“There is a pervasive miserliness,” she says. “These people have a hard time being generous with affection or with time.” The person might also fear getting rid of certain things because of beliefs about wastefulness.

Further, people who have OCPD are unlikely to see their frugality as a problem. If they come into treatment, it’s usually because someone close to them has insisted on it or because they want help from a professional to achieve their perfectionist goals, according to Hudak.

“What’s key there for the therapist is to help them to recognize that they have to accept imperfections,” he says. “That’s done through cognitive behavioral therapy.”

How to Treat OCPD

The good news is that obsessive compulsive personality disorder is treatable. It can, though, take a year or more to get it under control, Neziroglu says, depending on how severe the symptoms are.

“Basically you are asking them to change some aspect of their personality,” she says.

Treatment options include:

  • Motivational interviewing. This is a discussion process that helps identify compelling reasons, like a key relationship, to make a change.
  • Cognitive behavioral therapy. This type of therapy focuses on identifying negative thoughts and behaviors and replacing them with other options.
  • Anxiety hierarchy. For someone who is excessively frugal, an anxiety hierarchy might outline steps toward change. For example, a person might find buying a needed stapler less anxiety-inducing than a more expensive (but still needed) appliance, and so would work up from there.
  • Medication. Prescription medications might help people with OCPD if they also have depression, Hudak says.

One goal of therapy could be to help a frugal person understand his or her effect on other people. But because people with OCPD might not believe they need therapy, Hudak says he also advises family members to seek therapy for themselves to learn how to cope with the relative’s frugal ways.

Do You Have a Money Disorder?

I must express my dismay and frustration with the way our Country handles this mental illness, and yes it is a mental illness/dysfunction. In fact I often think that our Country purposely encourages this “taste beyond our means” mental dysfunction so that big business (name brands) and commerce can thrive.
My husband was raised in a household with 4 siblings and very selfish and mentally ill parents. Even though my husband’s father always kept a full time steady job at the city utilities, they were always barely scraping by because my husband’s father was irresponsible with money, smoked cigarettes, gambled, and always had to have the best name brand of everything while his mother shopped at the Salvation Army, simply because she didn’t make nearly as much money at her part time job. My husband’s father used money as a tool to control his kids and to make himself feel better. When I first met my husband he told me that his parents “had money” when they did not. In fact they lived in a tiny run down block house in a lower class neighborhood. I often find in our cupboards empty boxes of food that my husband ate up but he put the empty box back into the cupboard, clearly showing me that he was often scolded as a child for eating the last of something. He also eats as fast as he can and stuffs as much food into his mouth as possible, as if there isn’t going to be enough. Clearly my husband was hungry as a child and with 4 other hungry siblings in the house he grew accustomed to grabbing and taking as much as he could for himself, and he behaves like that to this day about everything.
Currently my husband has a low credit score (it just went up to 600), he has filed bankruptcy twice in his life, he cannot sit still until his entire paycheck is gone and he is penniless, he cannot save even one cent, and he MUST HAVE HE BEST NAME BRAND OF EVERYTHING THAT HE BUYS FOR HIMSELF, even though his electric bill is always on the verge of disconnect and his house is in need of repairs that he claims he cannot afford. My husband’s parents have instilled some very disturbing behavior in my husband and it is sad to see someone totally and completely controlled and manipulated by his parents on a daily basis.
These are harmful mental behaviors/patterns that were taught to him, just like child abuse/neglect causes mental illness/dysfunction. His entire way of thinking about money is selfish and dysfunctional and right now he is insisting on buying a Volvo car rather than a less expensive brand. Even our local mechanic told me that Volvo is the worst for releasing their software and it is difficult to find expensive parts for them. Even so, my husband refuses to look at any other brand of car except for the brands that the rich people drive, like Lexus, BMW, Volvo, SAAB, Audi, Acura, Mercedes, etc. My husband uses every ridiculous excuse in the book as to why he feels that he must drive a German made car rather than a cheaper brand. I have noticed that my husband has many serious mental dysfunctions that all stem from ideals that his parents pounded into his head. Most of us ignore it when someone exhibits these types of money mental dysfunctions about money but it is not doing any of us any good by ignoring it and denying that it is a mental illness/dysfunction. The people who are poor but insist on buying the best name brand of everything need psychiatric help and will continue to burden society because of that mental illness.
I have tried everything to get him to understand that his way of thinking and feeling about money is destructive for our marriage because I am suppressed and mistreated while he arrogantly and stubbornly insists that there is nothing wrong with him while he wastes, overspends, and cannot save money. He refuses to acknowledge that he needs to change or that there is anything wrong with him, and society reinforces that. I have tried desperately to seek out counseling and therapy and have always reached a brick wall. I cannot find any resources that will help my husband with his mental illness. There are many resources that offer help for bankruptcy, refinance, budgeting, etc. but they all simply show us how to manage our money but they never provide any help or advice for the mental dysfunction that causes poor money management in the first place. It’s ridiculous and I cannot help but to wonder if our Country is actually preying on people with money mental health issues. I think of all the organizations and businesses thriving by preying on those with low credit scores. In fact just last week I read about businesses such as Capitol One and Wells Fargo who are taking advantage of the recession by offering high interest/fees car loans to those with terrible credit scores, even fudging information on the applications so that the buyer can qualify! I learned that right now there is a billion dollar industry focused on giving credit to those who actually shouldn’t be given credit, therefore fueling our economy by further harming the mentally ill and the poor. What can we do?

You might have reached a net worth of $2 million but think you’d feel safer with $5 million. Or, you earn $100k per year and think you’d stop losing sleep if you earned double that.

A hallmark of perfectionism-related anxiety is if you continually shift the goal posts on what would give you peace of mind. While this might seem like a “nice problem to have,” any issue that causes distress is worth trying to address, and this pattern of anxiety shares commonalities with other anxiety-related issues. For instance, it’s typical for someone with an eating disorder who reaches their goal of, say, 115 pounds to not feel better about themselves, and reflexively revise their goal weight down further.

Unwarranted money anxiety is essentially the same. You feel more anxious than the hard numbers would suggest you need to be, and it consumes your thinking, gets in the way of your relationships, or holds you back from doing activities that reflect your values.

What can you do? Clinical techniques used to treat anxiety offer some clues about what could help. If you’re more anxious about money than you need to be, here are some things to try:

Vividly imagine and articulate how you’d cope if your worst money fear came to pass. Anxiety therapy used to focus on convincing people that their fears were unlikely; today, it focuses more on acknowledging that negative events are part of life, and helping people recognize that they can cope better than they give themselves credit for. Maybe your biggest fear is that a recession will wipe out half your retirement savings just as you’re ready to use them. Envision that that has happened. What do you do that day? The next day? Articulate how you’d cope—both practically and emotionally—if your deepest fear came true. The idea behind this is to enhance your perception of your capacity to cope with extreme distress. For example, someone with health anxiety might ask how they’d cope if they developed cancer if that’s their most prominent fear. Try articulating how you’d recover if your worst money fear happened. Be very detailed, and say it out loud to yourself.

If you hoard money due to anxiety, consider spending some in ways that reflect your values. Hoarding is a relatively common but not universal response to anxiety. If your anxiety-response tends to be to hoard your cash, experiment with whether spending or donating some money helps you relax. If you tend to be controlling about money, consider the relationship impacts of perpetually saving for a rainy day. If your partner has been saying they want to update the kitchen for 10 years and you’ve been shutting that down, is being that controlling consistent with your values? On a personal level, assess whether your money anxiety is causing you to miss out on any life experiences you’d like to have and that are realistically within your budget. When you think about the reasons having money is important to you, what answers do you come up with? For instance, if it’s so you can travel freely to spend time with friends and family, are you actually doing that?

Make sure you’re handling the big stuff. Being a worrywart is not necessarily correlated with being more prepared. In fact, when people are anxious they often avoid dealing with anything major related to the source of their anxiety. Anxious people often happily shuffle their cents but avoid looking after their dollars. Doing important money-related tasks, like making a will, involve confronting your money anxiety. Dealing these tasks will generally spike your anxiety temporarily, but reduce it over the long-term. The flip-side is the anxious person who over-monitors, e.g., checks their investments daily. A parallel is people with health anxiety, who might fall into one of two camps: those who are too scared to get a symptom investigated (avoidant) and those who are at their doctor every week (over-checkers).

Try to strike a balance where you take sensible precautions but without overdoing it, especially since over-monitoring can impair decision making. Create good processes that help you take a balanced approach, such as picking a day every year to work your way through a financial review checklist.

Recognize that you can cope socially when other people have more than you. Money anxiety sometimes has social aspects. You might worry that you’re not going to being able to keep up with your friends. There will always be people who have more than you do, but having some limits on your spending isn’t generally a major threat to your well-being, or to your most important relationships. Likewise, being an excellent parent doesn’t require spending unlimited amounts on your child. Recognize that if you need or want to say “That’s out of our budget” or “That doesn’t fit our spending priorities right now” it might feel awkward, but feeling awkward is something you can cope with.

Money anxiety might always be simmering in the back of your mind, but if you can make peace with it, you’ll be able to move on with your life and your goals.

Alice Boyes, Ph.D. is a writer and was formerly a clinical psychologist in her native New Zealand. She is the author of The Healthy Mind Toolkit and The Anxiety Toolkit.

Many Americans have a complicated relationship with money, and in many cases, these relationships are not healthy. It is normal for a person to make poor money decisions every now and then, but when these mistakes tend to be persistent, predictable, and result in self-destructive financial behaviors, then they are no long normal money mistakes but money disorders.

Money disorders can be described as certain self-destructive or self-limiting financial behaviors that are recurrent and predictable, and often result in conditions such as emotional distress, anxiety, and even impairment of certain areas of a person’s life such as marriage.

People suffering from money disorders often don’t realize that they are in that state or that they need help. And for those who know their state, they typically find it hard to change their behaviors. Some try to shift their behaviors but are unable to make the changes long-lasting. The end result is that most of these people feel ashamed of their behaviors and hide them from others, hence making it difficult for them to get help as needed.

Here are some of the behaviors that indicate signs and symptoms of money disorders. If you find that you yourself exhibit these behaviors, do not be afraid to seek help.

Financial Denial

If you are living in financial denial, then you have one of the most typical money disorders. When in financial denial, you find yourself trying as much as possible to forget all your money problems by not thinking about them rather than facing them head on. You simply burry your head in the sand as financial problems pile up above.

Financial Rejection

With financial rejection, you find yourself experiencing a feeling of guilt whenever you owe some money to someone or some entity. People with a low self-esteem are more likely to suffer from this disorder and it can lead to certain psychological problems.

Extreme Under-Spending

Extreme under-spending is as dangerous as over-spending. If you find yourself always looking forward to pile up your savings while at the same time denying yourself some liberty to use and enjoy your earnings, that’s a sign of a money disorder. Being too tight with your cash will most likely make you unhappy and anxious of what happens in case your savings decrease or go below a certain threshold.

Excessive Risk-Taking

If you find yourself always putting your financial well-being at risk in pursuit of large, non-guaranteed or unlikely gains, you may be suffering from a serious money disorder that can throw you into debt and bankruptcy. People suffering from this disorder often find themselves attracted to offers that promise quick riches but hardly ever come true.

Avoiding Taking Financial Risks Completely

The fear of taking any investment risks to build your wealth is also a sign of a money disorder. If you find yourself just piling up savings in an interest bearing account and often run away from investment options such as property and shares (growth investments), then you may be in this category.

Overworking Yourself for More Money

Individuals suffering from this money disorder often work excessively long hours to earn more money but fail to dedicate adequate time to spend with their families, for leisure time, or even rest. They often end up getting into a state of loneliness, anxiety, depression, and other psychological conditions. This definitely does not apply to individuals working extra hours to make their ends meet, but those who do it intentionally for extra financial gains.

Compulsive Expenditure

If you are that person who feels an urge to spend your money in order to have a ‘good feeling’ , then you fall into this category. This disorder gives you some irresistible impulses to spend your money shopping, traveling, or doing other things that make you lose control over your spending.

Addictive Gambling

When you find yourself wanting to gamble more and more of your money to make yourself feel better or to try and escape from your problems, you have a serious money disorder that needs urgent help.

Financial Infidelity

You may notice that sometimes you deliberately lie and keep secrets about your financial issues or expenditures from your partner. You may find yourself lying about the cost of certain big cost items, lying about your expenditure because you went over an agreed-upon budget, or even taking a loan behind your partner’s back. This problem is always catastrophic and often results in mistrust between partners, and may even lead to divorce.

Building Extra Hopes on Financial Luck

If you are that person who pegs all his future’s dreams on the hopes of winning the lottery, you may be having a money disorder. This disorder is a serious threat to your financial future because you build your hopes on luck, and that luck most likely will never hit you.

These are among the top behaviors that indicate signs of money disorder. If you can relate with any of the above behaviors, it’s imperative that you find long-lasting ways on how to change them. Remember, it is always advisable that you don’t shy off from seeking professional help.

This content is developed from sources believed to be providing accurate information, and provided by Twenty Over Ten. It may not be used for the purpose of avoiding any federal tax penalties. Please consult legal or tax professionals for specific information regarding your individual situation. The opinions expressed and material provided are for general information, and should not be considered a solicitation for the purchase or sale of any security.

In his book, Mind over Money, financial psychologist Brad Klontz lists 12 ‘money disorders’ under three categories. While these are not considered medical conditions, neither are these simple behavioural traits. The disorders are severe enough to disrupt normal lives. Find out how you can find a remedy for each, tells ET Wealth.
A. Financial Avoidance Disorders
The four types of avoidance disorders involve a distancing from money, be it in the form of risk aversion or extreme frugality.
1. Financial Denial
SYMPTOMS: You refuse to pay utility or credit card bills, don’t invest and let money idle in the bank, delay filing tax returns, and just don’t monitor your portfolio. Denial and not dealing with money is also a way of coping with financial anxiety and insecurity.
REMEDY: Fix dates and set reminders on phone for all your financial chores. If it stems from anxiety, see a psychologist.
2. Financial Rejection
SYMPTOMS: You willingly give away money at the slightest pretext. So even though you may earn well, you are left with little at the end of the month and it is affecting your cash flow and goals. You have low self-esteem and wealth accumulation makes you feel guilty.
REMEDY: Give the salary to your spouse, who can invest, or automate investments and payments, so that the salary leaves your account before it comes to you.
3. Excessive Risk
SYMPTOMS: You are heavily invested in debt and have no equity exposure because you are unable to take risk. This could impact your portfolio in the long term as you will not be able to save enough for your financial goals.
REMEDY: Learn about asset allocation, and invest in equity as per your goals, age and risk appetite.
4. Underspending
SYMPTOMS: You find spending so abhorrent that even though you have money, your living conditions are abysmal because you don’t even want to buy the basics for yourself or your family.
REMEDY: Let your spouse handle the finances. Meet a financial adviser or a psychologist.
B. Financial Worshipping Disorders
As opposed to Avoiders, the Worshippers are extremely fond of wealth. They can’t have enough of it and believe that its acquisition will solve all their problems.
1. Compulsive Hoarding
SYMPTOMS: You can’t seem to stop collecting things, or even money, and refuse to get rid of your possessions. The obsession reaches a level where normal living in the house is affected due to hoarding.
REMEDY: Automate investments so that most of your salary is invested as soon as it reaches your account. Cut up your credit cards.
2. Workaholism
SYMPTOMS: You work very hard and without a break because you want to amass as much wealth as possible. This probably stems from financial insecurity, so the more money you earn, the better you feel.
REMEDY: Set your goals and the exact amount you will need for these. Once you collect the money you need, you can relax.
3. Pathological Gambling
SYMPTOMS: The excessive love for money forces you to take high and unnecessary risks. Besides giving you a high, it makes you believe that someday you will get lucky and get a lot of money. This takes the form of excessive trading, gambling, betting or buying lottery.
REMEDY: Upskill yourself in a way that you earn a large amount of money without having to resort to unnecessary risk.
4. Overspending or Compulsive Buying
SYMPTOMS: You want to spend and buy things constantly because the act of purchasing makes you happy. You suffer from high anxiety and retail therapy provides momentary relief. However, soon after you buy, you crave the fi x again and the process never ends.
REMEDY: Talk to a psychologist and seek a cure for your anxiety. Once the cause disappears, the compulsions will too.
C. Relational Money Disorders
As the name suggests, these ailments involve financial problems in relationships. Your money obsessions are linked to or originate from other people in your life, be it family or friends.
1. Financial Infidelity
SYMPTOMS: You are lying to your partner about money or hiding financial transactions, be it saving, spending or investing. You are also trying to secure your finances at the expense of the spouse’s.
REMEDY: Communication and working as a team are the key. Talk to a counseller.
2. Financial Incest
SYMPTOMS: You are burdening your kids with money problems to reduce your own stress. You may be blaming the spouse for money problems, making the kid guilty about his expenses, or sharing work stress with kid.
REMEDY: Sort out your relationship or money problems through counselling.
3. Financial Enabling
SYMPTOMS: You are helping others, be it family or friends, with their money problems to an extent that it is affecting your own finances. For instance, you are helping adult kids only to risk your own retirement.
REMEDY: First secure your own finances by investing right. Learn to say ‘no’.
4. Financial Dependence
SYMPTOMS: You seek support and are dependent on others for your financial sustenance. You simply refuse to take responsibility for your financial upkeep, or for monitoring your financial situation.
REMEDY: Get a job! Seek the help of a psychologist.

We’ve all heard stories about people who can’t control their spending. They dig themselves into debt, splurge on fancy cars, clothes and vacations and generally behave like irresponsible children when it comes to money.

But we don’t hear nearly as much about people with the opposite problem: They have more money than they’ll ever need, but can’t bring themselves to spend it.

Saving is usually portrayed as a virtue. Put away so many dollars every year, the experts say, and eventually you’ll be home-free financially. But for some people, saving becomes an obsession. Long after they have achieved financial freedom and can afford whatever indulgences they desire, they continue to squirrel away cash.

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It’s not just a matter of self-denial. In extreme cases, compulsive saving can lead to marital discord and friction with other family members and friends who don’t share the person’s fanatical frugality.

The problem is more common than you might think. Jason Heath, a fee-only financial planner with Objective Financial Partners in Markham, Ont., says about one-quarter of his clients have difficulty spending money, even though they can easily afford to loosen their purse strings.

“In some cases, it’s not just hard, it’s almost painful for them to spend money,” he says. “It can create real problems with marriages. I see situations where one spouse wants a vacation, but the other spouse can’t get their head around it even though they can easily afford it.”

Fear of spending can hit people at different stages of life, from young professional couples who are working long hours and earning big salaries to retirees who are terrified that they’ll run out of cash and be forced to dine on dented cans of tuna and beans.

Some people will continue driving an old beater that’s barely roadworthy, for example, when they could easily upgrade to a new model with all the modern safety equipment.

Fears about spending often arise when people are transitioning to retirement, he says. After watching their assets grow over many decades of diligent saving and investing, people can be filled with anxiety at the thought of depleting their capital. It’s not like they can flip a switch and go from savings mode to spending mode, he says. Some people will even set minimum targets for their capital: For example, they’ll forgo a trip to Florida in order to keep their assets above $1-million or some other arbitrary figure.

“You see people who are irrationally focused on preserving capital for no other reason than it makes them feel good to not take a step backward,” he says.

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Attitudes about spending are often shaped by personal experiences. People who lived through the Depression, for example, may see frugality and saving – quite rightly – as a form of security and pass those lessons on to their own children and grandchildren. But when healthy saving progresses into something more akin to hoarding, the reasons aren’t always clear.

“I find there are two different camps of people: ones that really worry about money and ones that don’t. And I have no idea where it comes from,” says Derek Moran of Smarter Financial Planning in Kelowna, B.C. For the worriers, money has tremendous emotional value. The more they have, the safer they feel. “It’s a nice warm blanket,” he says.

For some people, spending money simply isn’t a source of pleasure, anyway; they prefer hiking or biking instead of going to the mall. For others, accumulating capital is like a game where the score is measured in the value of one’s assets. These people derive a lot of enjoyment from watching their assets grow, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing, Mr. Moran says. “These savers are just doing what is natural and fun to them.”

When saving isn’t fun but a symptom of irrational fears, however, telling the saver to stop worrying and enjoy their money usually isn’t enough. They need to be convinced with numbers, Mr. Heath says. He starts by building a detailed financial plan – using conservative assumptions about investment returns – that shows every dollar of income people can expect for the rest of their lives from their savings, company pensions and government programs.

If he can demonstrate that they will still have plenty of capital even after 30 years of retirement – with occasional trips, nice dinners and other luxuries thrown in – they’re often able to loosen up, he says. He does a similar exercise with young professionals who are burning out in their careers; when they see the math, they often realize that they can cut back on their hours, switch to a less-stressful job and spend more freely without jeopardizing their retirement.

But for some people, even conservative financial projections don’t do the trick.

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“In some cases, it doesn’t matter what math or logic you show them,” he says. “Money can be very emotional and they are going to be set in their ways.”

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