how to handle Money Vigilance

Wrestling with money vigilance: a personal money story

financial anxiety financial health Jan 11, 2021


According to Brad Klontz, a financial psychologist, CPA, researcher, and author, he reports that a person with money vigilance is alert, watching, and concerned about their financial health. In doing my own mindset work in the financial arena, I am a person with fairly high money vigilance. Overall, money vigilance is associated with positive financial behavior but at an extreme, like in my situation, it caused much anxiety and distress over a recent purchase. 


How to navigate money vigilance


Money Vigilance

As mentioned above, money vigilance refers to the tendency to be cautious and vigilant about one's finances. People who are money vigilant tend to be highly aware of their spending, saving, and investment habits, and may be more likely to prioritize financial security and stability over other goals.

Money vigilance can manifest in a variety of ways, such as:

  1. Being cautious about spending: Money vigilant people may be more cautious about how they spend their money, and may be more likely to save or invest it instead of spending it on frivolous items.

  2. Saving for the future: Money vigilant people often prioritize saving for the future, such as for retirement or emergencies, and may have a higher level of financial security as a result.

  3. Avoiding debt: Money vigilant people may be more cautious about taking on debt, and may avoid borrowing money or using credit cards to pay for expenses.

  4. Seeking financial advice: Money vigilant people may seek out financial advice from professionals or other trusted sources, and may be more likely to research investments or other financial decisions before making a choice.

Overall, money vigilance can be a positive trait when it comes to personal finance, as it can lead to greater financial security and stability over the long term. However, it is important to strike a balance between being vigilant about money and enjoying life in the present, as overly cautious behavior can lead to missed opportunities or a lack of enjoyment in life.


Money Vigilance In Real Life (IRL)


My husband is an avid #vanlife follower where the idea/dream is to convert a sprinter van or the like into essentially a mini RV. He has researched vans and their buildouts in hope of retiring and converting one for our family to have lots of adventures. Well, cue the pandemic and we essentially decided to prioritize our van purchase. We started actively looking for a van that was either semi-converted or not converted at all. It was an adventure to see the array of vans on the market with the idea of transforming them into something magical and functional. I was more on the side of let’s buy one that is perfectly outfitted (read: more costly) and he was on the side of less initial investment, more creative input. Well, the perfect van, which met each of our wishes in varying capacities, appeared on the second-hand market.


Applying due diligence


Acting with financial prudence, we took time to go over the purchase price, the cost of registering and insurance, maintenance, etc. and it was all within reason for our financial health, status, and goals. The purchase aligned with our value set of creativity, travel, and adventure. Living debt-free, we purchased the van outright, but here is the was really, really hard letting go of that money! To be completely honest it is still causing some chest tightening. I have had to employ several different stress reduction techniques including deep breathing and grounding as we incorporate all of the new expenses into our spending plan. 


Overcoming money vigilance 


So, where does this excessive worry come from and why can’t I fully enjoy this new purchase which offers so many opportunities for us (especially after these winter months)? Part of my money story includes money representing security. It is a part of my story that I always have to contend with and essentially work towards creating balance. When I part with a large amount of it, I feel it physically, mentally, and emotionally. I feel joy when I save it and anxiety when I spend it. However, what is the joy of hoarding money? This purchase is only one step towards the many decisions we will make on our path to retirement where we will no longer be accumulating money.


Even though it is hard to part with our hard-earned money, it is sometimes necessary and needed to fulfill other needs and dreams. And, with each larger purchase such as a car, college, and maybe, a beach house one day, even if anxiety-provoking at first, it will feel good in the long run. So, over the last few days, I have tempered my anxiety with gratitude and the positive emotions the van has already brought through connection (showing it to family members/friends), eating breakfast and lunch in the van which sits on the driveway to appease my young son's excitement as well as watching my son and husband take off to the driveway for the night to “try out” the sleeping quarters. There is happiness in this purchase. 




Connecting with your money story and beliefs coupled with clarifying or resolving limiting beliefs can bring you confidence or increased joy in your relationship with your money. 


Connect with or follow me on Instagram or Facebook if you want to learn more about values based living and decision making, creating a healthy relationship with money, or to see more fun adventures.  

Questions: email [email protected]

Mariah Hudler, MSW, MBA, CFT-I™ is a therapeutically informed financial wealth & wellbeing coach. She works with individuals, couples, families, entrepreneurs, groups, and organizations to make Wealth & Wellbeing a joyful part of life.

Disclaimer: This blog is for education only. Please consult with a qualified professional when you have any questions about your personal financial, tax, or legal situation. Information contained in this post is for informational purposes only and not intended to replace professional advice.

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