Reviewed by Sarah Ell
Allen & Unwin, RRP $32.99
We might like to think we have control of our money, but in fact, it has more control over us than we admit.
In this book, British psychologist and BBC Radio 4 presenter Claudia Hammond shows us how we view money, right from a very young age. These feelings affect the way we use it – and lose it – as adults.
Money can play tricks on our minds that many of us are completely unaware of. Even in these days of electronic banking, we still place a higher emotional value on the folding stuff than on numbers on a computer screen – and we value notes more than coins.
And the way we perceive the value of the same fixed amount of money changes between the people we’re with and in different circumstances. We might feel aggrieved when we’re overcharged for a coffee, but we invest precious little time in getting the best deal on our insurance premiums.
These psychological preferences have a big impact on how we spend our money, especially credit cards and ‘contactless’ payments.
But, as Hammond writes: “The strongest psychological reaction we experience in relation to money is the one that occurs when we know we are losing it.”
Mind Over Money is full of interesting facts, ‘aha’ moments and stories that will make you think about your own attitudes to money, and your saving or spending habits.
The book concludes with 32 day-to-day money management strategies, based on the more than 250 research studies Hammond has drawn on for the book.
Her suggestions range from choosing different lottery numbers every week, to paying extra for painkillers, to how to negotiate effectively.
And apparently having more money in itself will not make you happier — but spending some of what you do have on little luxuries and memorable experiences will.
Hammond has an enjoyable, entertaining writing style. Her book is popular psychology, rather than serious financial advice. But we could all look after our money a little better if we got to grips with some of the findings she uncovers.