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What does money mean to you?
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Does thinking about money make you happy? Or does it make you stressed? Do you work too hard, or not enough, and don’t understand why? Do you spend impulsively, or hate to part with a dime? A new book can help you understand the patterns of your behavior with money.
“The Secret Language of Money” by David Krueger and John Mann (McGraw Hill) is subtitled “How to Make Smarter Financial Decisions and Live a Richer Life.” Krueger, a psychiatrist, combines psychology, economics and neuroscience to address questions like the ones above.
Because there is a “secret” language of money, many of us make mistakes. Nearly every chapter in the book contains a quiz, designed to help us understand why we do what we do.
The quizzes are deceptively simple (such as “What is your current income, and what level of income would it take to insure your happiness and contentment?”) It is in the explanations that our patterns are revealed.
According to the book, all of us have a “money story,” an unconscious tale we tell ourselves about who we are, what money means to us and how much we’re worth. The problem is the secrets we keep from ourselves about money, whether it’s how much credit-card debt we’ve really run up or the way we rationalize an indulgent purchase. For example, when we make a risky purchase, there is a chemical component to our action, a rush that comes in anticipation of making the purchase. That same chemical reaction shuts down the minute the purchase is made. Krueger shows us how to decipher what our actions really mean.
“The Secret Language of Money” is for anyone who’s ever been in debt, been rich but unhappy, been caught in an impulse buy/return cycle with merchandise, made promises and bargains about cutting down on spending, been a workaholic or shopped to satisfy feelings of envy or power.
In other words, “Secret Language” has something for everyone who spends money.
Something to think about: Name five things you truly value. Then ask yourself which of those five things you would trade for money. Your answer says a lot about your relationship with money.

Uffington does not personally answer reader questions, but will incorporate them into his column whenever possible. Write to him in care of King Features Weekly Service, P.O. Box 536475, Orlando, FL 32853-6475, or send e-mail to
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