Sunday, 23 January 2011

Money: The Thrifty and the Spendthrift, an Introduction

Written by  Michael Tobin

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Money: The Thrifty and the Spendthrift, an Introduction

The value of money is whatever we attribute to it. For one person, it's security; for another, it's status; for a third, it's power and for a fourth, freedom. Money becomes a reflection of a person's basic needs. For Frank, money represents security. He has this gnawing fear that if he doesn't save, a catastrophe awaits him in the future. His anxiety about what will be prevents him from living in the here and now. The parental role he feels forced to play cuts him off from feelings of joy and satisfaction.

For Linda, money means freedom and status. She wants to live in a style that fits her self image and is consistent with her upbringing. She feels money should be enjoyed, not obsessed about. She rationalizes that all of her purchases are necessary for the welfare of the family. If you need something, you just buy it. You don't ask whether you can afford it. Besides, as long as her husband is locked into the role of being the responsible one, she is completely free to act as she pleases.

In a marriage, one inflexible role always creates its rigid, polar opposite. In our case, Frank, the future-oriented, hyper-responsible one is engaged in a fierce battle with Linda, a free-spending woman with a "why-worry-be-happy" attitude. In the end, it's their marriage that's the real loser.

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Last modified on Sunday, 22 May 2011 14:09
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Michael Tobin

Michael Tobin

Dr. Michael Tobin has been a psychologist since 1974, specializing in marital and family therapy. He is the author of numerous articles on marriage and family relationships and is the founder of He's  been married to Deborah for 38 years and is the father of four children and grandfather to five.

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