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1: Behind Your Values

Americans' Beliefs About Money

dollar bill

The social rules about money in American culture can be confusing. On one hand, Americans are told to be responsible with money. If you break this rule, or if you even appear to be irresponsible with money, you might feel stress, fear and a deep feeling of shame as a result.

Feeling stupid, careless or ignorant about money can harm individuals, and also can be passed on from parents to their kids, creating a cycle of unhealthy money habits within a family.

On the other hand, there also is a lot of pressure to buy things. Just think of all the advertisements you see in a typical day urging you to spend money.

This pressure to buy more stuff is not just about fashions and trends. Falling behind can have real consequences. Technology is changing so fast that if you can’t afford to upgrade to a new phone or a new computer in a certain amount of time, you can get left behind. The pressure to keep up and consume new products is a necessity if you want to participate in today’s world.

It is possible to balance these two American social pressures — financial responsibility and consumer consumption — but it helps to understand the hidden drivers behind your decisions. Gaining control of your financial life starts with better understanding yourself.

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