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April 22, 2021

What's the worst thing that's ever happened to you financially?

Whether it's a childhood of poverty or want, a message about money subconsciously internalized from a parent, or a nest egg lost to an economic downturn later in life, everyone has experienced a financial flashpoint in their lives.

These flashpoints are painful, distressing, and/or dramatic life events that are so emotionally powerful that they leave an imprint that can last a lifetime, often creating problems with money, says financial psychologist Brad Klontz, author of Mind Over Money: Overcoming the Money Disorders that Threaten Our Financial Health.

Such money disorders typically manifest themselves in one of three ways: repeating destructive financial patterns learned from our early socialization; doing the polar opposite, often in an exaggerated and equally dysfunctional way, or forever bouncing between the two extremes.

And, for many, a lack of money isn't necessarily the biggest issue.

Plenty of people struggling with money issues aren't poor, for instance. Instead, they deal with problem areas like overspending, serial borrowing, financial infidelity, workaholism, hoarding, and general sense of guilt and shame around around their financial status.

Recognizing the key events in our lives is the first step in stripping them of their power, and overcoming our money disorders, Klontz maintains. Only then we can learn to spot them when they are creeping into our minds, and revise them into healthier, more productive behaviours, he says.

What's the worst thing that's ever happened to you financially? Or the best for that matter? What effect have they had on your attitidues towards money?

By Gordon Powers, MSN Money



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Gordon PowersGordon Powers

A long-time fund company executive, Gordon Powers now heads up the Affinity Group, a financial services consulting firm. Gordon was a personal finance columnist for the Globe & Mail for many years, has taught retirement planning...

Jason BucklandJason Buckland

The modern-day MC Hammer of money, Jason can often be seen spending cash that isn’t his with the efficiency of a Wilt Chamberlain first date. After cutting his teeth as a reporter for the Toronto Sun, he joined the MSN Money team with...