Through my decades in the financial planning business, I have worked with many individuals and couples who have negative perspectives regarding their finances. One of the most damaging is having a shameful attitude about money. This can appear in a number of different ways. Some of the most common are fighting with your spouse about spending because you feel guilty when you make purchases, feeling humiliated because you don’t feel you’ve saved enough or have made bad investment decisions in the past, and not trusting the market with your hard-earned money. Many people don’t even realize they have a shameful attitude about money. If you have a good financial planner who challenges you, though, you can identify your negative outlook and find ways to change it. Here’s how to start.

Get to Know Yourself

How well do you really know yourself? If you’ve not done some real soul-searching and looked into your personality traits and how you take action, you may never uncover negative mindsets such as shame that are keeping you from your retirement goals. I recommend all my clients take personality tests to learn more about themselves. Two of the best are 16 Personalities and the Kolbe Index. Once you get your results, you should share them with your significant other and your financial planner so they can better understand you and your attitudes about money.

Look Deeper into Your History

How you were raised has an enormous impact on your outlook on life, including how you think about money. If you were raised by parents or grandparents who went through the depression, it’s likely that you don’t trust the market and that you are more prone toward feeling shame if you don’t have enough money saved. If you had a family that spent freely and always seemed to have more than enough money, you may feel shame if you don’t have the same freedom. Examine your family history and encourage your significant other to do the same so you can learn more about how you differ.

Get Perspective

If you were influenced by authority figures who didn’t trust the market, you may feel that any fluctuation is a sign of impending doom. This can cause a lot of distressful feelings and may keep you from getting a valuable return on your investments. If you’re in this situation, it can very valuable to get some perspective. Ask your financial planner to go through the history of the market to show you how many corrections have happened in your lifetime and how the market, over the long-term, has an upward trend.

Hit the Reset

If you really trust your financial planner, you should feel comfortable sharing your shameful attitudes toward money and asking for their help in changing them. Together, you and your planner can make an agreement to put those limiting beliefs in the past and move forward from a healthier and more productive mindset. This ‘clean slate’ will help your planner ease you back into the market while still providing a safety net if you have a low tolerance for risk.

If you have a shameful attitude toward money, it could have a serious impact on achieving your retirement goals and your overall quality of life. If you’d like more information on identifying and changing your perspective, please reach out. I’d love to help!


Patrick Tucker, the owner of True Measure Wealth Management, has over 20 years experience in the industry and has spent the last 15 years learning the ins and outs of the fee-only advisory business. He focuses on client behaviors and what ‘wealth’ means for each individual client to provide care-giving plans that lead to a mindful fulfillment of financial goals. A lifelong learner, Patrick uses his continued knowledge to become a valued partner for his clients and help them explore the wisdom of true wealth.