Dollars and Sense: The Psychology Behind Financial Success

by Dr. Howard Gluss

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Dear Dr. Gluss,
I am 27 years old and newly married. My wife wants us to go to a financial planner to begin setting up an investment plan that will secure our future. I want to do it, but every time she sets up a meeting I get really nervous and cancel the appointment. She is starting to get really upset by my actions. I'm not sure why I keep making up excuses and procrastinating. I was wondering if you could shed some light on the matter.

Dear Gregory,
It appears that you may be fearful of commitment because of what commitment may symbolize in your life. At 27, it sounds like it's time to take on more responsibility and let go of some of your adolescent needs. That may seem like an easy task to do but many people fear that adulthood with all its responsibilities, including financial, may mean the end to freedom and happiness. Paradoxically, if you spend your adulthood pursuing a career that feels passionate and meaningful, you may find that the opposite will hold true. You may feel inspired by your work and as a result probably end up making more money than if you never set life goals.

For most of us, financial security can mean power, security and independence. It's really about our movement away from parental dependencies and moving into a place of self-sufficiency. Making a financial plan can also mean a commitment to your wife and the possibility of creating a family. My best advice to you is to understand what may be motivating you unconsciously and then force yourself to keep your commitment. In the end, you will probably find that your fears seemed much less grounded in reality and much more a product of some unfinished childhood issues. Hopefully, by creating a solid financial plan, you will be creating a stronger sense of yourself and a more powerful connection to your wife. Again, in creating a solid financial future, here are three main psychological principles to consider:

  1. Follow your passion - People who find meaning in their work seem to be less resistant to hard work and more open to persevere. Building financial security can mean a lot of hard work. If you love what you do, you may be willing to go through the sacrifice and hard times with more dedication. If your work feels like a chore and most of the time somewhat meaningless, you may resist advancement every step of the way. Find what you love to do, then do it.
  2. Perseverance - Understand that building a solid financial future means being able to persevere through the difficult times. So many times people give up because they think the road to financial security should be linear and smooth. The truth is life is a roller coaster with lots of ups and downs. If you expect it to be intense at times, it's much easier to keep your eye on the prize and see the forest through the trees. Never underestimate the struggle that most people have to go through to get financial security. It may look easy from the outside, but it seldom is. Don't give up even when it seems impossible. Embracing the impossible is always part of the journey.
  3. Support - If you're going to go out and become a financial success, you better find ways of surrounding yourself with people who are positive, directed and supportive. It's difficult enough to stay on the path without having to battle negativity, envy or jealousy every step of the way. Finding the right support may mean disappointing some family members or friends when they discover that you are not as available to participate in their doom and gloom attitudes. Remember, by not participating, you may actually be doing them a favor. Your non-participatory attitude may just be the right thing they need to get them to be more courageous and face their own fears.

In conclusion, you're still really young and the sooner you take responsibility for your actions, the better your life will be. Procrastination usually represents some deep-seated fears. Find ways to discover what you're afraid of and then get the support you need. Many marriages fall apart because of financial difficulties. If you can create a solid foundation between you and your wife, you may be able to avoid this pitfall. It's always easier to nip the problem in the bud before it gets out of hand. Do it now and you may find out that you are a much stronger person than you thought you were.
With Best Wishes,
Howard Gluss, PhD

Please note that the opinions expressed in this column are only for advice purposes. They do not represent a professional therapeutic relationship with Dr. Gluss. If you are in need of psychological help, please contact a referral source in your area to receive the psychological help you require.

Dr. Gluss is a Licensed Clinical Psychologist, a respected film and television Consultant, a noted seminar leader, and an acclaimed Author. Dr. Gluss is the co-founder of KEYLIGHT (visit at, a Consulting Company; and DAIS, a Platform for Executive Coaching, Public Speaking, and Corporate Seminars. He is the author of the book, Reel People: Finding Ourselves in the Movies. Dr. Gluss is the host of the Dr. Howard Gluss Radio Talk Show on Dr. Gluss will be a regular contributor and will try and respond to your inquiries. You can send them by email to DoctorHowardGluss

For more Information about upcoming seminars, coaching or public speaking availability, please contact Dr. Howard Gluss at DoctorHowardGluss or by telephone at 323-935-5775. license number (Psy21522)

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