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Book Review: Give this to your favorite spendthrift, hoarder, or money-hound

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  • Written by  Lisa Bruessler Rabinsky
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  • Comments:   DISQUS_COMMENTS
Crazy About Money: How Emotions Confuse Our Choices And What To Do About It, by Maggie Baker, PhD, Holistic Wealth Press, 378 pp. Crazy About Money: How Emotions Confuse Our Choices And What To Do About It, by Maggie Baker, PhD, Holistic Wealth Press, 378 pp.

The very first sentence in this book is a favorite quote of mine: “We must become the change we want to see.” Mahatma Gandhi

This makes a perfect start to this book about the various “crazy” ways that people approach their finances, and what they need to do about it. The book’s goal is to help people become more aware of how they relate to money, so they can effectively change their emotions, beliefs, and attitudes and make better choices.

Author Maggie Baker, a veteran psychologist, works extensively with people who are dealing with financial stress, and presents workshops that assist listeners to recognize how their emotions affect the way they handle money.
Money and your emotions: a tricky blend

The first part of the book discusses emotions and what money means to you and your happiness. Baker gives examples of the different meanings that money has to various people, including different genders and age groups. The goal of the first part is to help readers understand their own emotions about money; where they come from; and how those patterns play out in their lives.

At the end of each chapter, Maggie (as the author refers to herself) provides various exercises and then shares her own answers to them, to build a close connection to the reader. She comes across as a sympathetic voice, rather than just a lecturer.

In Chapter 2, the author really digs in and presents actual examples of people and the various money issues they have. She capsulizes their money beliefs. For example, one couple’s bottom-line money belief was summed up as “Don’t bother us; we’re busy amassing money. Another couple’s: “Buying can fill my emotional need for excitement and connection.”

Chapter 4 is entitled “How We Act Funny With Money--Predictably Illogical (Behavioral Economics)” which isn’t really funny. But you will be surprised at how well you can relate to it, particularly the “mental accounting” section.

The next part of the book is about where money beliefs come from and how they develop. Chapters 5 and 6 basically show how certain money beliefs are formed thru the adolescent and teenage years. By Chapter 7 we are getting set in our ways within defined “money types.” I am sure most readers can relate to one of the types--from “the spender” to “the hoarder” and everything in between.

This section made me wonder what the bank accounts of those featured on the reality TV shows about hoarders look like.
After the diagnosis, the action

Part III of the book is where the real work begins, as it about taking action on our money beliefs and what beliefs, emotions, and attitudes need to be changed. This begins when we leave home and start on our “money journey.” 

The author quotes motivational speaker Zig Ziglar as saying:

“Money isn’t the most important thing in life, but it’s reasonably close to oxygen on the ‘gotta have it’ scale.”

The journey continues through this section in various life stages up to retirement.

Part IV is a discussion about how money affects different lifestyles--singles, couples, divorcees, and widows. This section is a helpful read for anyone who is looking at a lifestyle change--voluntarily or involuntarily.

Part V concerns putting your money to work for you.
Guide to mindsets, not investments

Crazy About Money is not a how-to investment guide, but an examination of the psychology behind investing, gambling, retirement, and leaving a legacy.

The activity section here asks the reader to imagine their own funeral. What you would like it to be like, for example? (In case you didn’t figure out how to handle the risks of gambling, “swimming with the fishes” was not an answer to the funeral question.)

The final section “Becoming a Money Master” discusses applying the lessons learned to conquer your money issues with the goal of mastering your money, rather than your money mastering you.
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