What Are the Signs and Symptoms of a Money Disorder?

Person stressed over financial situation

June 5, 2020

Many people have a complicated relationship with money, and in many cases, these relationships are not healthy. It is common for a person to make poor money decisions once in a while. However, when these mistakes end up being predictable and result in self-destructive financial behaviours, they may no longer be typical money mistakes but money disorders. 

Dr. Brad Klontz, a psychologist specializing in money disorders, describes them as “a chronic pattern of self-defeating or self-destructive financial behaviour.” Unfortunately, they often result in conditions like emotional distress and anxiety. They can even create problems in someone’s personal life, such as marriage.

People suffering from money disorders often don’t realize it, and those that do, struggle to make lasting changes. This results in people feeling shame about their behaviour, leading them to hide it from others, making it even harder to get the help they need.

Here are some of the behaviours that may indicate signs and symptoms of a money disorder. If you exhibit these behaviours, you are not alone – do not be afraid to get help.


Financial Denial

This is one of the most common money disorders. When in financial denial, you deal with your money problems by hiding from them rather than facing them. You bury your head in the sand, hoping the issues will sort themselves.


Financial Rejection

With financial rejection, you find yourself experiencing guilt whenever you start accumulating money, maybe feeling that you don’t deserve it. These feelings can lead to unhealthy behaviours like excessive giving.


Extreme Under-Spending 

Extreme under-spending is as dangerous as over-spending. Money is a tool that, when used correctly, can help you achieve your goals. Being too tight with money will likely make you unhappy and anxious. Worrying about finances when you could be enjoying life is typically not what people have in mind when they think about financial freedom.


Excessive Risk-Taking

If you continually put your financial well-being at risk to achieve bigger and bigger gains, you may be suffering from a money disorder that can throw you into debt and bankruptcy. People suffering from this disorder often find themselves attracted to offers that promise quick riches but hardly ever come true.


Overworking Yourself for More Money

Individuals suffering from this money disorder often work excessively long hours to earn more money but fail to give adequate time to their families, leisure time, or even rest. They can end up in a state of loneliness, anxiety, depression, and other psychological conditions. Unfortunately, this mindset is praised and even encouraged in society despite, later on, many people regretting their choice. 


Compulsive Expenditure

If you are that person who feels an urge to spend your money to have a ‘good feeling,’ then you fall into this category. This disorder gives you irresistible impulses to spend your money shopping, travelling, or doing other things that make you lose control over your spending.


Addictive Gambling

Gambling compulsively to try and escape from your problems indicates gambling addiction; this is a severe money disorder that needs urgent attention.


Financial Infidelity

Financial infidelity is when you deliberately lie and keep secrets about your financial issues or expenditures from your partner. Lying about the cost of significant items, lying about spending, or even taking a loan/credit card out behind your partner’s back are all signs of financial infidelity. This problem is catastrophic and often results in mistrust between partners.


Building Extra Hopes on Financial Luck

If you are a person whose financial plan is winning the lottery, you may have this money disorder. This is a severe threat to your financial future because you are building a future based on luck.


These are among the top behaviours that CAN indicate signs of a money disorder. Many of us were never taught how to manage money and have developed bad habits. You can overcome these habits and achieve the lifestyle you want. You must find ways to correct these behaviours if you can relate to any of the above money disorders. Remember, there is no shame in getting professional help, and most people will need it. You can choose to take control back and be intentional with your finances again.


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The information contained in this report was obtained from sources believed to be reliable; however, we cannot represent that it is accurate or complete. This report is provided as a general source of information and should not be considered personal investment advice or solicitation to buy or sell any securities. The views expressed are those of the author and not necessarily those of Credential Qtrade Securities Inc. Mutual funds, other securities and securities related financial planning services are offered through Qtrade Advisor, a division of Credential Qtrade Securities Inc.

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