'Emotional Currency' Explores Women's Relationship With Money

Kate Levinson, author of book about Women's relationship with moneyKate Levinson's self-help finance book doesn't aim to make women rich. It wants them to invest in exploring their feelings about money. Emotional Currency: A Woman's Guide to Building a Healthy Relationship With Money (Random House, $14.99 list) comes out April 12, just in time for the cash-addled to wrap their heads around Uncle Sam's looming tax deadline.

"Traditionally we're taught that our feelings get in the way about managing money," Levinson, a Bay Area psychotherapist, told WalletPop. "In fact, integrating our emotional reactions to our dealings with money are essential to having a balanced relationship with money."Levinson offered a few tips for women (and men) to work through money issues. Who knows? Once you shed the baggage, your new insight might lead to untold wealth. At the very least, you'll have a wealth of well-being.

1. Money talks

What Levinson really means is have talks about money with trusted pals and family. Get suggestions on how to face personal-finance dilemmas. Learn about others' "inner-lives" regarding money to erase a sense of isolation, she advised. The process helps us uncover "our true feelings about money."

Book cover of book about women's relationship with money2. Study your buy-ology

Dissect one transaction to examine what shapes your unconscious reaction to money. "It can be as small as a decision over which shampoo to buy," she explained. "Let yourself free-associate as to what was involved in that decision. What are your ideas about what this shampoo will give you? Who taught you that? What is your fantasy? What does choosing this shampoo say who you are?"

3. What are you afraid of?

Instead of avoiding why we don't open bank statements or track our taxes or never invest, it's time to understand the reasons. Facing our fears helps us move through them, Levinson said. Identifying the specific obstacle can help women find emotional support for whatever the issue might be and get outside practical help to handle the situation. "We can be afraid of having too much money as well as having too little," she said.

If you're looking for retirement or real estate advice, look elsewhere. If you're looking for peace of mind, Emotional Currency could be time and money well-spent. "It's more about psychological freedom with money and locating the best place for money in your life," Levinson said. "Maybe you want to be richer. Maybe you discover you don't want to be richer."
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