They’re the sign of a true money denier: someone who is terrified of opening statements … and who deals with her money by pretending it doesn’t exist. Rather than face reality, she’d rather stick her head in the sand.
Money Denial is one of the twelve classic money behaviors. Of the three general categories these behaviors fall under (pushing money away, pulling it towards you, and using it to mess up relationships), this is in the first category. A woman’s denial of money affects every financial decision she makes. In most cases, dredges up memories of painful incidents or negative emotions, often from as far back as her childhood.
Where Does This Money Denial Come From?
Using denial as the modus operandi for dealing with finances can result from a woman receiving mixed messages about money from her parents. Each parent may have treated it differently. In that case, that could have been the topic of heated arguments between her parents, turning it into something to be feared.
Her parents may have had an unstable relationship with money themselves, see-sawing between exorbitant spending and moments of financial panic when the bills arrived. How’s a kid to understand that? Rather than try to figure it out, it’s easier to tune it out.
She may have shown some interest in money at one point as a child, but was told that it was none of her business. In her childish perception, it became something nasty or evil, definitely taboo.
If by chance her parents actually had a healthy relationship with money, they still may never have given her any real training in how to handle finances before she left home. As a result, she was at a loss in the real world. Or she might have been shamed during some incident regarding money. In any case, one way to lower anxiety levels is to decide that money isn’t important and to disregard it completely.
What Role Does Prince Charming Play?
Many deniers had fathers who withheld emotions or mothers who promoted the Prince Charming rescue myth—or perhaps both. Financial and emotional needs will have gotten confused and they’re still waiting for the rescue that represents both money and love.
This denier’s greatest fear is that, if she takes care of herself financially, a potential rescuer will think she’s fulfilled both financially and emotionally … and she’ll never find her prince. So denial becomes a form of self-sabotage.
She could have a good income, have dreams of success, and work very hard to fulfill those dreams—but there’s rarely any money left at the end of the month. Regardless of the reason for such denial, she’ll likely be one to go on spending binges or rack up huge credit card bills. Especially if she’s one who has fallen for the Prince Charming tale, she’s sure someone will eventually come and save her. And if she were to plan for retirement, that would be the ultimate admission that she might actually end up alone. Surely she can find a rescuer before then …
Telltale Signs of a Money Denier
The most telling trait of a money ostrich is that her financial story is always told in the present tense: the future is nonexistent. She may be working and earning a good living, but she’s never been able to create a lifetime financial plan. She uses her money myopia to neutralize any fears brought on whenever she’s forced to think of her financial future.
A denier may take an occasional brash action out of necessity, but it’s unlikely she will have thought the transaction through. And in her blindness, she will not have considered all the financial consequences. Then when things go wrong, she gets angry and feels cheated. And once again she has confirmation that money is bad … and is best left ignored.
If she’s part of a couple, silence reigns when it comes to discussing money issues with her mate. In fact, silence reigns in virtually every area of her life that touches on money. For example, she’ll complain about how much she earns, yet would never enter into the discussion required to ask for a raise. In the job interviewing process, when it comes time to negotiate her salary, again she’s mute. In short, she’ll either accept what’s offered or simply not accept the position.
Where Money Denial Leads
Needless to say, none of these behaviors are conducive to accumulating savings, much less accumulating wealth. The need to avoid thinking about money is that great.
The more financial trouble a denier gets into, the more she’ll hide from reality and the better she’ll get at rationalizing her behavior. The shame of it is that she’ll tend to end up with more late fees and higher interest rates on credit cards, thereby compounding her financial problems. She’ll fall deeper and deeper into debt and—unless the brakes are somehow put on this cycle—the story rarely ends well.
Note: This is the first of a series of twelve articles, identifying each of the classic money behaviors that trip women up and keep them from controlling their money … and their life. If parts of this behavior feel familiar, be sure to stay connected with me on Facebook so you’ll know as soon as my book “Money after Menopause” comes out!