Financial Serenity

Valerie Peck |

Financial Serenity

By Heather M. Berberet, Psy.D. PSY16920

I have found one thing to be highly predictable in human beings...predictability. We love it! Our brains are actually hardwired to want to know what is going to happen next. Of course, many of us enjoy the occasional surprise. But all in all, we feel much more comfortable with telling the future than being surprised by it.

We also are hardwired to do what is necessary to get what we need. By "need" I don't mean the new iPhone or that gorgeous Coach purse from their spring line. I mean the real stuff like food, water, and shelter. We are driven to meet these needs.

Guess what happens when we can't predict the future, especially when it's about our future survival? We get weird. By weird I mean we get anxious, impulsive, protective. We do things that at the least make us feel uncomfortable and at the worst make us physically ill.

So, if we combine these two bits of brain wiring 1) a drive to meet basic needs and 2) a desire to be able to predict the future, the result is a pretty strong drive to gather enough resources so that we can feel confident our needs will get taken care of in the future.

In our modern world, we don't have to go out and kill anything to get food. At least, most of us in America don't. Why not? Because we have created a token economy. A token economy (rather than a barter economy) is one in which a particular item(s) is chosen, given a value and used to replace actual goods and services. Yes, we are talking about money. When I treat a client for psychotherapy, I don't expect that person to bring me vegetables, chickens, or gasoline. They give me paper that I give to other people for vegetables, chickens, and gasoline.

We all want to know that we will have the money for food, water, and shelter in the future when we need it.  But we don’t live in an always-predictable world.  And this creates anxiety. 

Join us, Friday May 6th 2016 at 11:45 AM, for a Lunch-And-Learn with Dr. Heath Berberet to discuss how our fight-or-flight instincts are triggered and can impact us in our financial planning.


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