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Are You Normal About Money?

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By Dayana Yochim (TMF School)
January 5, 2005

Man, we're weird.

Let me qualify that statement. We're kind of weird about money. For instance:

  • 48% of us would dress more revealingly to double our salaries.
  • 22% of us would go up against a heavyweight boxer for $100,000. (Better make sure your plastic surgeon has a ringside seat.)
  • We tip less at restaurants on rainy days, and more when it's sunny, when the bill comes on a tray, and when we're eating alone. The tip also improves when waitresses draw a smiley face on the bill. When waiters do it, we're less generous.

Maybe it's not that we're weird, but insane -- at least when estimating our boxing skills. Author Bernice Kanner polled average people like us (well, people who aren't quite as good-looking as we are) to answer the eternal question in book form: Are You Normal About Money?

Well, are you? Consider:

  • Half of the population loses sleep over money worries.
  • Three out of four people are more likely to sell their winners -- stocks that have gone up, not down.
  • While 10% of us never check stock quotes, 41% do it once a day and 33% do it three or more times a day.
  • 15% of us tally the loot in our wallet at least once a day, and 72% of "normal people" store bills in rigid order, with smaller currency leading up to higher denominations.
  • One-third of people cop to occasionally exaggerating expenses or deductions on their taxes, and 21% admit to not reporting all income earned.
  • One-quarter of us would abandon all of our friends for $10 million. (As if we'd go quietly if our best pal came into that kind of loot.)

Yup, we're certifiably cuckoo. The American Association of Individual Investors found that even the best-adjusted investors fall victim to mind games -- suffering from such mind maladies as cognizant dissonance and myopic risk aversion.

So how do you know when you've achieved Zen-like oneness with your finances? The Women's Institute for Financial Education (WIFE.org) offers seven signs of a healthy money attitude:

  • You feel in control of money rather than being controlled by it.
  • You use money in positive ways to enhance your life, not only as a means for providing necessities.
  • You consider money a reward for an accomplishment, not an end in itself.
  • You can use money spontaneously on occasion without feeling guilty.
  • You realize that money cannot solve all your problems.
  • In dealing with money, you adhere to your own general moral standards.
  • You are aware of what money means to you and how you use it.

Don't worry -- Fool Shrinks are standing by.

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