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What Money Means to You

Rate each of the following statements:

Strongly disagree = 1
Disagree = 2
Uncertain = 3
Agree = 4
Strongly agree = 5

1. It is important to me to maintain a lifestyle similar to or better than that of my peers.

2. In making a major purchase, an important consideration is what others will think of my choice.

3. Since money equals power, I am willing to work hard for money in order to have more power.

4. I really enjoy shopping and having nice things.

5. Saving money for a rainy day is an important principle to live by.

6. If I had a moderate amount of money to invest, I would be more likely to put it into multiple resources that are relatively safe than into one fairly risky source that has the potential to make a lot of money.

7. Being “flat broke” is one of the worst things that could happen to me.

8. Saving for retirement is an important financial goal for me.

9. If I suddenly came into a windfall of $1,000 for something I have always wanted to do or have.

10. Since “You can’t take it with you,” you might as well spend it.

11. Money can’t buy happiness, but it sure helps.

12. Few things in life give me greater pleasure than making a great buy.

13. I like/would like having my own business because I can/could control my own financial destiny.

14. I like being able to make decisions about how to spend the money I earn.

15. It bothers me to be dependent on someone else for money.

16. I feel uncomfortable if someone offers to “pick up the tab” because I feel indebted to them.

Now, add your scores for the four questions in each category. The higher your score, the stronger you identify with that approach.

Category

Questions

Your Score

Your Partner’s Score

Money as Status 1-4___________________
Money as Security 5-8___________________
Money as Enjoyment 9-12___________________
Money as a Control over Life 13-16___________________

Interpretation of Scores

4 - 8 = low
9 - 12 = Moderate
13 - 16 = High
17 - 20 = Very high

Understanding what it means:

Money as status. People who identify with money as a status symbol are interested in money as power—as a means of keeping ahead of one’s peers.

Money as security. People who use money as a means of security spend conservatively and focus on saving.

Money as enjoyment. People who view money as a means to enjoyment get satisfaction from buying things for themselves and others.

Money as control. People who see money as a source of control, use it to maintain control of their lives, and to remain independent from their partner or other family members.

Now, compare your scores with each other. The closer your scores in each category are, the easier it will be to meet mutual financial goals and needs. The further apart they are, the more negotiating and compromising you’ll have to do.

Reprinted by permission of Warner Books, Inc. of New York, New York, U.S.A. From The First Year of Marriage by Miriam Arond and Samuel L. Pauker, M.D., Copyright by Miriam Arond and Samuel Pauker. Quoted in Together Forever, Aid Association for Lutherans, Appleton, WI, 1997, pp. 46-57