BY RENEE ALKINS

relationship-with-money1WE ALL HAVE A RELATIONSHIP with money. Some of us spend it when we're feeling down, and others fall apart when it's not around. Good or bad, we relate to money in our own way. There are people who love it, ignore it, crave it, resent it, and even worship it! So what's your relationship with money?

1 Hoarders
No matter how much money a hoarder acquires, it's never enough. They keep their money on a tight leash, and are unable to feel secure without it. Hoarders live in constant fear that an unexpected disaster could leave them in financial ruin. And, unfortunately, that fear can prevent them from following their dreams, answering their call, or making fruitful (but risky) investments. In addition, hoarders are prone to stress, struggle with giving, and feel guilty when they splurge. They also love to balance their checkbooks, tend to sneak popcorn into the movie theater, and squeeze the toothpaste tube until they release the very last drop. Because of their "responsible" nature, hoarders are less likely to fully enjoy their money. They would rather live a safe and somewhat unexciting life, rather than spend unnecessarily. The good news: Hoarders are financially reliable. They live within (and below) their means, save, and carefully plan for the future.

Advice for Hoarders: Remember, money is a tool that is meant to be used (albeit wisely). Therefore, replace your fear with information about how to grow and enjoy your money. The unknown can scare you, but facts can empower you. So, loosen up and explore investment options that allow your money to work for you. "Burying" your financial resources will not allow them to grow, and it's okay to treat yourself with a gift once in a while.

2 Spenders
Buying things makes a spender feel comforted, validated, and powerful. They often justify a purchase by telling themselves, "I deserve this," and "I'm worth it" – even if they can't afford it. The most extreme spenders equate name brands with self-worth. Louis Vuitton, Prada, and Gucci make them feel important. Spenders also buy nice gifts for the wrong reasons. To impress their friends and family, they give presents that "wow" the receiver. In addition, they go out of their way (and way beyond their financial means) to have the best house, car, and luxury items. Spenders look great on the outside, but commonly are drowning on the inside.

Advice for Spenders: Keeping up with the "Joneses" and emotional spending will ruin you. And, an idol is anything that occupies a place in your heart that belongs to God. In essence, your validation and worth should not come from things. They should come from your relationship with God. Therefore, check your motivation when you shop. Are you buying things to satisfy an emotional need, or are you buying items for a healthy purpose? Don't allow emotional baggage to drag you into debt, or ruin your financial future. But if you're already in debt, seek the help you need to climb out of it.

3 Avoiders
Facing their financial reality makes an avoider uncomfortable. They often have no clue when it comes to their bank account balance, credit card debt, and bill statements. Avoiders dread opening their mail, because they can't face their bills. Their accounts are frequently overdrawn, and they avoid thinking about their financial future.

Advice for Avoiders: When it comes to money, ignorance is not bliss. It's important for you to face the truth about your finances, no matter how uncomfortable it might be. We can ignore gravity, but there are real consequences to jumping off a cliff. Similarly, we can ignore our financial reality, but the consequences can have tough and lasting effects. Consider meeting with a financial adviser who can help you assess your situation. Problems cannot be fixed until you acknowledge
that problems exist. And always remember, the truth will set you free.

4 Monks
These people commonly believe that money is the root of all evil. However, they overlook that 1 Timothy 6:10 states that the "love" of money is the root of all evil. Money makes monks feel greedy and sinful. In addition, they tend to harshly judge people who are financially well-off. Guilt makes them unlikely to hold-on to money. They would rather give everything to the poor, and refuse to indulge themselves. In their opinion, it's a moral shortcoming to desire financial prosperity.

Advice for Monks: Remind yourself that money has the power to do a lot of good. Without it, ministries could not be funded, and the poor could not be helped. In addition, financial accomplishments can place Christians in social circles that need to hear the Gospel of Jesus Christ. A business mogul is more likely to listen to someone they consider to be a peer. Therefore, don't overlook the good that can come from financial prosperity. God can use anything to win the spiritually lost ... and anything includes money. c

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