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Money Scripts and Childhood

money scripts come from lessons learned in childhood
❝Every money message we hold on to contains a fatal flaw; it impressions us in an incomplete world.❞ -George Kinder

Anthony is walking home from school. It's cold out, and he's got a long walk ahead of him. Many of his peers get rides from their parents, but Anthony is raised by a single mother, and she's at work. He gets home to his apartment to find a pink piece of paper taped to their door. They're being evicted again. This is the third time that he can remember being evicted. He starts to cry as he instinctively starts to pack his room. A short while later, he hears a knock on the door, and a man in a business suit asks to speak to his mom. Anthony knows who this man is; this is the man who is kicking them out. Upon telling the man that his mom works well into the evening, he watches the man drive away in a convertible. Later that night, his mom tells him that men like that only care about money.

Wendy finds herself making dinner again for her and her two brothers. Her parents are never home. Her mom gets home first, and her dad doesn't get home until late into the evening. It's hard for Wendy to take on this pseudo parenting role, but she understands. Her parents have to make money; they've told her a thousand times. She doesn't even know that other families spend dinner around a table talking about their day. This is just how it is for her. It's exciting when her mom can be home for dinner. It would be even better if both parents could be home for dinner, but she can't even remember the last time that happened. As nice as it is to have her mom home, Wendy feels a little nervous. Mom can't make money if she's here having dinner with us. She wonders if they have enough money.

Samantha is excited to tell her dad about the great day she had at school. She just finished up a science project the night before and presented it today. She did a great job, and everybody congratulated her. Her dad's car pulls up the driveway, but before she can tell him her good news, he runs to the trunk of his car to pull out more Christmas decorations. Her dad spent all of last weekend putting up Christmas decorations. Since then, two of their neighbors have put up even more outlandish decorations. Samantha's dad won't be outdone. For years Samantha's dad has been the talk of the neighborhood with his Christmas displays. He doesn't like knowing that not one but two of his neighbors are trying to one-up him. Samantha has seen this before. Indeed, her family has updated their kitchen, added on to her house, and get new cars anytime someone in the neighborhood does the same.

Victor is afraid to go to school. It's the first day back after Christmas break, and all of his friends like to talk about the presents they got. His friends often get extravagant gifts, including video game systems, new bikes, and electronics. Victor is embarrassed because his family doesn't give out fancy gifts. He has learned throughout his life that his family makes more money than a lot of families do. That makes it hard to reconcile how much money they make and the types of gifts he receives. He starts to wonder if his parents even love him. They never spend money. They talk about how people who spend their money are wasting their money; their family is smarter than that.

Anthony, Wendy, Samantha, and Victor, are going to grow up thinking very specific things about how money works, what it should be used for, and how they ought to use it. Their minds are like sponges, and they are trying to figure out how to make sense of what has happened to them.

As a result, their Money Scripts were born.


Money Scripts are subconscious beliefs we have about money that drive all our financial behaviors. Money Scripts underlie everything we do or don't do concerning our finances. It's mostly our early experiences that shape and write these Money Scripts for us.

money scripts are the foundation of our behaviors and they are developed in childhood