Excerpt: 'The Financial Wisdom of Ebenezer Scrooge'

Scrooge's money scripts:

• You can't trust anyone with your money.
• People only want you for your money.
• You must work hard for money.
• You can never have enough money.
• Don't spend money on yourself or others.
• Money will give you meaning in life.
• The more money you have, the happier you will be.
• You can never be happy if you are poor.
• Giving to the poor encourages laziness.
• If you had more money, things would be better.

Scrooge was living in harmony with what he believed to be true. Unfortunately, many of his beliefs about money were distorted half-truths. As a result, he was living a life full of pain and loneliness and devoid of love.

Your money scripts could be keeping you financially, emotionally or spiritually poor.

Similarly, your money scripts could be the reason you are in debt, facing bankruptcy and living in deprivation. Your money scripts could be sabotaging your quest for the American dream, your retirement, your children's education and your financial security. Even if you have significant wealth, your money scripts could be destroying your peace of mind, relationships, happiness and sense of fulfillment.

Cratchit Chose to Be Poor

One could argue that Bob Cratchit, Scrooge's loyal clerk and father of Tiny Tim, was a victim of circumstance. He was trapped in an abusive socioeconomic system that didn't allow the less fortunate individual to advance. On the other hand, we would argue that Cratchit's unconscious money scripts contributed to his poverty. He didn't truly appreciate his own talents and skills. He undersold himself. He spent impulsively when he could have bought medicine for his son. He didn't know what steps to take to plan for his own future. In effect, it's possible that Cratchit made an unconscious decision to be poor.

Cratchit's Money Scripts

Bob Cratchit is often characterized as the eternal optimist, always finding the silver lining in a bad situation. But careful analysis of his behavior reveals there's far more to his personality.

Bob Cratchit also has his share of money scripts. Although Dickens never tells us the nature of Tiny Tim's illness, we know that it is treatable. Yet Cratchit spends his money on a goose for Christmas dinner instead of buying medicine for Tiny Tim—a classic example of binge spending.

CAROL TRIVIA

In today's dollars, Bob Cratchit's Christmas dinner would have cost about $500. His spending for Christmas dinner was considered so extravagant that in some early stage adaptations, the goose becomes a surprise gift from Scrooge's nephew, Fred.

Cratchit stays in a minimum wage job working for Scrooge when he might have found better employment elsewhere. Rather than even thinking about improving his situation, Cratchit stays stuck and unaware of his choices. Even when his family mocks Scrooge, Cratchit defends and protects him. He accepts his miserable existence as his destiny.

Let's look at a few of Bob Cratchit's possible money scripts:

• There will never be enough money.
• Money is to be spent, not saved.
• You'll be paid what you are worth.
• You can never be happy if you are rich.
• If you are good, the universe will supply your needs.
• You don't deserve money.

It's easy to see how Cratchit's unconscious money scripts, as we have defined them, keep him stuck in the role of a victim, trapped in poverty. His family supports this belief by reinforcing that Scrooge was the problem, not Bob.

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