Financial Book Review: Emotional Currency

June 4, 2011

Dr. Kate Levinson’s book, Emotional Currency: A Woman’s Guide to Building a Healthy Relationship with Money is a book written to help readers both acknowledge and better understand the various factors and influences that have formed their ideas about money.   I think it’s an excellent tool that everyone should pick up (not just women, despite the title)  in order to get the true core of their relationship (and thus problems) they have with money, there was a lot of “fluff” to skim through in order to get there.  Know that as you read this book, if you can draw upon the sections that help you reflect and analyze your experiences around money and skim some of the less pertinent parts, you’ll get plenty out of this book.

There are plenty of gems within this book.  It’s strength is that you must do some self-reflection on your habits and childhood in order to get through th book.  Lots of “self-help” books are too easily cast aside by readers in the hopes that “someday” they’ll apply the reflection and actions suggested in the book.  As you read this book, the questions to guide your self-reflection as you get through it- preventing the temptation that many of have who love to consume information but rarely act on it.

What I loved about this book was that it made it abundantly clear that money is inherently emotional, but we lose control over it when we deny that money and emotions are connected.   When you buy a pair of shoes,  you may feel the “high” of the sale, or eventually buyer’s remorse- but why do you react that way?  She also does a great job of pointing out that for many women, talking about money is taboo or is heavily censored to hide the fact that women are ashamed that they aren’t spending their money properly, or will either point out their ignorance on money or look greedy for being knowledgeable.


The strength of this book is that once you recognize what your emotional reactions/stressors/problems/feelings about money are, then you can recognize where they came from, and finally, you can use that information to better understand your choices in order to make better ones.

Levinson makes the case that the types of emotional reactions we have to our money and how we use it is all the result of conditioning.  Ignoring this conditioning means that you won’t have the power to recognize the sometimes destructive influences we have that impact our purchases, investments and financial futures.


Read this book if:

-You have tried to control your spending habits and take charge of your financial life and have failed.

-You feel emotional (anxious, worried, ashamed, etc.) about your financial choices and want to take control.

-You’re experiencing a major financial change such as a new job, loss of job, windfall, marriage/first child and want to make sure that you meet these changes with a new approach.

-You want to start making financial choices and build for your future but aren’t aware of what could trip you up in the process of forming a path to financial freedom.

-You’re not quite sure what your childhood/young adult life had to do with why you love the Dollar Store but you want to find out.
I would suggest approaching this book with a pen and paper in hand and the fact that you don’t have to read every word on every page to get what you need to out of it.  You will be given some great tools and questions to understand the psychology behind your purchases both large and small, along with ways to understand and reflect upon what formed your financial outlook and how to change it if you’d like to.

If you’re not going to use this book in-depth for the purpose of further understanding culture and psychological “Fluff” and just want to get to the nitty-gritty, I would recommend borrowing, not buying.

So would I recommend this book?  Yes.   A little psychology and self-reflection about your money habits will surely do you good to make better long term decisions.


2 comments so far.

2 responses to “Financial Book Review: Emotional Currency”

  1. […] s1); })(); TweetEmailI recently finished reading Emotional Currency by Dr. Kate Levingson (see my review here) and in her book she helps readers identify their relationship with money by looking at their […]

  2. I just added this webpage to my google reader, excellent stuff. Cannot get enough! I also share that site at Humsurfer 🙂


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