Dr. Maggie Baker’s new book, Crazy About Money: How Emotions Confuse Our Money Choices And What To Do About It, offers a comprehensive look at our complex and variable relationship with money throughout the course of our lives. Although we tend to view money as an autonomous component of our daily life, Dr. Baker stresses that “money itself is only part of the issue.” From the moment it becomes ours, money entangles itself with our emotions and beliefs in a complex sequence of knots; Crazy About Money sets out to bring these knots into clearer focus, show us how we got so tangled up in the first place, and, in the process, set out the steps to untie our emotions and beliefs from our financial selves.
The first half of the book focuses on the “cauldron of emotions that seethe around dealing with money.” Dr. Baker debunks the cultural myth that money is a precise and rational process by outlining its chameleon-like presence in our biological, developmental, and individual selves. The second half of the book details the particular life circumstances that we might find ourselves in (single, married, recently divorced, etc.) with an emphasis on practical strategies for developing a well-rounded financial self tailored to these particular situations. Every chapter concludes with a set of exercise questions (including Dr. Baker’s thoughtful responses for herself) that help us become more aware of our money type, our insecurities surrounding finances, and our ability to develop a healthier orientation towards our individual emotions and beliefs surrounding money.
Crazy About Money is an invaluable tool in our struggle to come to terms with how we got into our present financial situation and how we can get out. In identifying our monetary blind spots, we already become better equipped to withstand the challenges of balancing our finances. With Crazy About Money, Dr. Baker offers us both a wise, holistic take on the manifold ways that we let money affect our lives and a practical guidebook for re-orienting our financial beliefs and strategies.
Carrie Rattle is a Principal at BehavioralCents.com, a website for women focused on mind and money behaviors. She has worked in the financial services industry for 20+ years and hopes to inspire women to better prepare themselves for financial independence.