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Old 09-25-2004, 03:29 PM
Lin Bonn Lin Bonn is offline
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Dear Dr. Joe
My husband and I have different views on money. I say I'm frugal...he says I'm cheap. Our family backgrounds were economically different. Can being thrifty be just another form of being insecure?
Lin
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Old 09-26-2004, 01:11 PM
Dr. Joe Dr. Joe is offline
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Dear Lin--

Great question. To start off, the answer is yes, being thrifty can be another form of insecurity. But letís take a closer look. Self-Coaching differentiates between circumstance-driven behavior (concerns) and behavior that is insecurity-driven (worry). The essential difference is that circumstance-driven concern is based on facts while insecurity-driven worry is based on fictions. The best way to decide if your frugality is fact or fiction, is to begin scrutinizing your choices and differentiating between concern and worry. Before giving you and example, let me explain the difference between being concerned and being worried. Concern is a problem-solving approach dealing with objective and real facts. If you add insecurity to concern it becomes worry. The equation looks like this: Concern + Insecurity = Worry. Take the following example: ìI worry that if I donít save enough money, we may not be able to pay the mortgage.î This can be a concern, recognizing that youíve exceeded your budget and need to find a way to compensate before the mortgage payment is due. Or it can be a worry if, in fact, there is currently enough money, but youíre anticipating something going wrong (i.e., fiction) that might put you in a hole. In my book The Power of Self-Coaching, I discuss at length, the difference between living with facts verses living with the torment of insecurity. Hopefully you and your husband can be objective enough to decide if itís a concern or a worry that drives you.

One last tip. Worry (i.e., fictions) are usually embraced in a ìwhat-ifî kind of thinking. ìWhat if we have unexpected expenses?î Or, ìWhat if you lose your job?î Do keep in mind, youíre allowed to be concerned. This is not only healthy, but itís smart. As long as your concerns are based in facts. If, for example, youíre living hand-to-mouth each month, itís a legitimate concern to want to have a backup. Since, in this example, youíre living hand-to-mouth, it would be a fact that you donít have a backup. If however, you find yourself needing a backup in case you deplete your backup, well, letís just say this would be the point where insecurity begins to creep into the picture. It would be like wearing suspenders in case your belt breaks!
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