Money disorders...or mental problems?

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Researchers are now identifying what many of us in mental health already knew -- sometimes people's money problems are a part of their psychological makeup. Their attitudes, beliefs and expectations about money are developed in childhood and can affect how a person handles money their entire life.

Some experts like the Financial Consulate in Hunt Valley, MD., recommends that people recognize their history with money by participating in an exercise called their "Personal Money Story." This historical review can uncover the habits, trends and decisions that work for or against a solid financial standing.

I have long noted in my private practice that people who struggle financially often make the most ridiculous decisions; buying a new aquarium when they can't make the mortgage payment, taking an expensive trip when they just lost their job, etc. They may be able to rationalize, explain and justify what they are doing but it still does not make financial sense.

Take a few minutes to take stock of your financial health. At a minimum you should know how much you need each month to break even, how much you bring in, and what your net worth is. I highly recommend using a financial software program like Quicken or Microsoft Money to keep track of all spending. You will be amazed how money gets frittered away on impulse buying or poor decisions.

Barbara Bartlein is the People Pro. For her FREE e-mail newsletter, please visit: The People Pro.

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