Why Are Our Money Stories So Elusive?

David Krueger MD

An internationally known self help guru said, “You know, Dave, I don’t know how to tell my money story to myself in order to know what to change.”

We struggle to embrace change. Many of the methods to facilitate change are contrary to how the mind and brain work. Neuroscience and quantum physics—and strategic coaching—have a lot to teach us about change. And resistance to change.

Our money stories tell us less about money and more about the human mind and its operations. At times our both our minds and our brains can work against us. When you think with one part of the brain and feel with another, you need a map. So we have to outsmart our brains.

The prefrontal cortex says: “Let’s think about retirement savings.”

The limbic system says: “Ah, let’s have that second cognac and order the 24” iMac.” (My amygdala even specifies the brand of cognac).

Each part struggles over the same dollar, hopefully without tearing it.

The moment we begin to make money more than the simple, tangible thing it is, we stop understanding it. The more we give money meaning, the more we lose what it really means.

Then, we do strange things with money. Intelligent people spend money they don’t have. Sophisticated people scheme and get scammed. Rational people trade in leisure time for money to buy back some of what they just forfeited. Gifted people can’t figure out how to exchange their talent for proportionate income. Otherwise balanced individuals spend extravagantly or hoard compulsively. Reliable people ignore financial matters until they snowball. People with integrity write their own exceptions to rules about money.

The good news is that we can learn about our money stories and change all of that.