Illusions And Magical Thinking In A Financial World

I’ve noticed a lot more people playing the lottery recently. Maybe they figure now is the time they’d need the win most, or because things are so bad economically they haven’t got anything to lose. Aside from the fact that playing the lottery can simply be an irresponsible financial decision, in some cases there’s more that comes into play. These people may be prone to magical thinking.

What Is Magical Thinking When It Comes Your Finances?

As I mention in my book, Financial Infidelity, when it comes to money, most adults pride themselves on their practical approach to handling their own finances. But when it comes to cooperatively managing shared resources in an intimate relationship, I have seen even the most savvy financial managers—individuals who handle negotiations, investments, and expenditures of huge sums of money in their careers—engage in magical thinking, rather than initiate discussions about money with their
partners.

Some questions to ask yourself in order to reveal this type of thinking are:

• Are you a gambler?
• Do you expect to win if you buy a lottery ticket?
• Do you believe it’s just as easy to find a rich spouse as a poor spouse?
• Do you believe you can influence your financial situation, or do you think that things
will eventually “just work out”?
• Do you avoid discussions about money?
• Do you feel financially secure, even if you don’t have money put away?

Don’t Turn A Blind Eye To A Financial Crisis

There are no “magical solutions.” In other words, you likely won’t win the lottery, and even if you do, you haven’t changed any behaviors, you’ve just added more money into the equation. Turning a blind eye to a financial crisis won’t make things better. Putting off planning for the future doesn’t REALLY make for less work in the short-run.

Many people engage in these types of magical thinking patterns because they’re afraid to rock the boat with their partner – and as we all know, issues of money lend themselves to being rocky! At some point or another, most people have been guilty of magical thinking, but in most cases, they can navigate through the temptations to think things will just “get better” by talking with their partner and discussing fears and finances. They realize that heated discussions, arguments, even passionate fights are part of the process of negotiating the differences between two individuals. They are able to set aside the fear of abandonment and be courageous instead of comfortable, proactive instead of defensive.

If you find yourself prone to magical thinking – planning to win the lottery or hoping your financial issues will just work themselves out – it’s crucial for your own mental and financial well-being that you break down barriers of communication and talk about these issues. It may not be comfortable at first, but this is one “magic spell” that needs to be broken!


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