Money, Mind and Meaning

Did you know 70% of families believe it is important to talk to your children about financial matters but only 30% actually do?

Do you?

So much brilliance can out during our radio show this week with Clinical Neuro-Psychologist Dr. Moira Somers. She specializes in transforming the way you think about money. Challenging our old belief and losing fear around rejecting money or hoarding money, she offers some great insight and gives concrete ideas to increase your Moola Moxie!

Here are a few nuggets that were meaningful to me:

-most successful people don’t believe every thought they have
-you might have a guiding script, but it that the play you want to be in?
-it’s not how you mess up, it’s the agility with which you recover
-when life changes, money changes and vies versa
-learn something about money every day
and on another, slightly off track note…

-any day with bagpipers is a good day!

Listen in to our whole podcast here: Your Life, Unlimited with Stephanie Staples and Dr. Moira Somers

And enjoy the guest blog post from your friendly neighbourhood financial psychologist (originally published on Dr. Somers’ website, Money, Mind and Meaning):

What’s the fastest way for most people to reduce their spending? I’m talking about SIGNIFICANTLY reducing spending on everyday purchases such as food, clothing, and entertainment – say, by between 20 to 30%? Hint: It’s also one of the fastest ways for people to become really conscious of the cost of their lifestyles.

Believe it or not, it’s as simple as moving away from the use of credit cards and returning to the use of cold, hard cash. Legal tender. Money. Coinage and paper bills. (Sorry for the repetition here, but I’ve found that people under the age of 25 often stare at me blankly until I hit on just the right appellation for tangible forms of money. Cash seems to them a quaint remnant of the past, kind of like rotary dial phones.)

Studies in the field of neuroeconomics have demonstrated conclusively that our brains have very different reactions when we shop for things using credit cards than when we use cash. When shoppers in these experiments are asked to pay for purchases using credit cards, sophisticated imaging of their neural activity reveals involvement of the brain’s pleasure and anticipation centers. (Admit it: You can probably recall a time or two when purchasing something lit up YOUR pleasure center.)

When participants are asked to use cash, however, a different picture emerges. Cash purchases lead not only to activation in the same pleasure and anticipation centers, but also to increased activity in parts of the brain associated with pain and disgust.

It is thought that those experiences of negative emotion (even though they often operate outside awareness) act like a chamber of sober second thought, leading consumers to ask themselves, “Is this item really worth it? Really?” Apparently, much of the time, they decide it’s not. This is what leads to the major reductions in spending when people use cash instead of credit cards.

The studies on debit card use are still coming in, but so far the evidence seems to be that debit cards are associated with similar brain activation patterns as cash: that is, debit is more painful than credit. (In this case, pain is good.)

For the average brain, the cost of using cash is somehow more Real than the cost of using credit. And Getting Real About Money is what most people need to do more of. They need to Get Real about how they’ve been spending. Investing. Earning. Giving. Talking. Not Talking.

Getting Real About Money. It requires a little bit of a shift in outlook, away from defensiveness about the usual way of doing things. Getting Real About Money is part of a process towards growth and healing that is predicated upon a willingness to learn and to make things better. And it can all start as simply as making the decision to put away the credit cards in order to see what might happen in the process.

So here’s a toast to your brain on cash. What difference will you make in your life and the broader world with that 20 to 30%?



Stephanie Staples, CSP* is the author of When Enlightening Strikes – Creating a Mindset for Uncommon Success and an internationally acclaimed motivational speaker. She empowers audiences & clients across North America to bring their ‘A’ game to work and to life. Stephanie has a special interest in working with and empowering nurses and healthcare providers. She happily calls Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada home. You can get loads of complimentary resources to help with issues such as work/life balance, wellness, stress management and happiness in general, as well as find out more information about her coaching and speaking services at

* Certified Speaking Professional (CSP), conferred by the National Speakers Association is the speaking profession’s international measure of professional platform proficiency. Less than 10 percent of speakers have earned this credential and are recognized as some of the best in their fields. Stephanie was one of only five professional speakers in Canada (and the only woman) to attain this designation in 2013.



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