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投资理财

市场动荡,投资者如何才能保持理智?

Eric J. Dammann 2011年09月27日

全球经济形势动荡不安,投资市场起伏不定,投资者寝食难安。在这个疯狂的年代,投资者如何才能保持理智?

    上面提到的答案虽然多种多样,却没有一个和字典中对金钱的定义相一致;所以,我们自然而然就会想到下一个问题:这些意义从何而来?根据我的经验,对金钱附加的这些意义,多数来自于童年的经历。

    孩子了解金钱的渠道有很多,但与其他心理问题相同,父母在这方面的影响最为重要:父母向孩子传递的间接信息对孩子的影响尤为巨大。众所周知,孩子就像海绵一样,父母每天关于金钱的交流不知不觉之间就会被孩子统统吸收。每次父母为了获得打折电影票而谎报孩子的年龄,或者为了最近购买的商品的价格而与爱人争论不休,其实都是在向孩子传递信息——而这些信息往往与父母有意识要向孩子灌输的理念截然相反。

    例如,父母的哪些行为会使孩子在未来将金钱等同于控制?原因可能是,父母用零用钱作为奖励或惩罚孩子行为的工具;我的一位客户就表示,每到周日(这一天,他会得到零用钱),他必须特别听话,因为,如果他在那天惹妈妈生气,零用钱就泡汤了。那么,将金钱等同于爱又是为何?最常见的原因是,父母因为出差离家在外而感到内疚,于是在回家时,会给孩子带一大堆礼物。

    其实,这些行为如果偶然为之,不见得会有什么问题。但如果频繁发生,孩子在童年的这些经历就会成为一种坚定的信条。而由于这些信条都来自于一个孩子的经历和理解,因此,它们并不完整,也不完全正确,但却会在孩子心中生根发芽,决定他们对待金钱和使用金钱的方式。许多作者将这种信条称为“金钱迷思”或“金钱牵引线”,但我更偏爱“金钱剧本”的说法,因为它们就像戏剧的剧本一样,决定着我们的一言一行(心理学家布拉德与泰德•克洛茨,以及理财师里克•卡勒率先提出了这种说法)。

    最常见的一种“金钱剧本”便是“金钱万恶论”。有一点需要注意,这种信条有时确实是正确的,而且支持这种观念的证据比比皆是。比如,在许多离婚诉讼中,金钱都被用于邪恶的目的;而且,诸多暴行的实施都打着金钱的幌子。但同时也有相反的证据【比如,比尔与梅琳达•盖茨基金会(Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation)】。然而,笃信“金钱万恶论”的人将所有金钱统统视为邪恶,避免一切与金钱有关的事物。他们认为金钱是肮脏的,或者视金钱如无物,拒绝公开每月的开支情况,不会进行资产规划,更不会咨询理财顾问。

    另外一种较为普遍的“金钱剧本”是“钱越多越好”。对于一个衣不蔽体,食不果腹的人来说,有更多的钱,自然能让他赤贫的生活有所改善。但如果我们的收入达到了一定水平,不必再为衣食住行担忧,这时,更多的金钱不见得能让我们过得更好。实际上,对于有些人而言,拥有过多的金钱只会让事情更糟。这种“金钱剧本”会导致一系列问题,比如工作狂倾向,又或者发财之后的幻灭感。

    第三个重要的“金钱剧本”是“钱永远不够”。这会导致人们恐慌性囤积,最明显的表现是,有些人在投资时不愿意承担适当的风险,或者喜欢保有现金。一些富人也存在这样的观念,对于他们来说,金钱只代表无休止的压力,而不是满足感。他们无法明智地使用金钱,因为动用任何一笔钱都会让他们感觉危机重重。这种理念也会导致恐慌性抛售,因为在这类投资者眼中,只要市场有任何风吹草动,他们的钱就会打水漂。

    最后一种“金钱剧本”,或许也是最普遍的一种,便是“金钱等于自尊”。这类人会将他们的资本净值等同于他们的自我价值,因此,每当道琼斯指数下跌,他们就会认为自己的自尊受到了打击。这种理念会导致人们为了让自我感觉更加良好而拼命聚敛物质财富。

    注意,在上面提到的“金钱剧本”的含义,也并非一成不变。例如,对于一些人来说,之前所说的“钱永远不够”的观念往前推进一步就意味着“金钱取之不尽用之不竭”。我相信,我们之所以会陷入目前的困境,这种理念便是罪魁祸首。它使人们相信,房地产的价值会持续上涨,或者他们可以继续举债购物,金钱总会从某个地方奇迹般地冒出来。持有这种理念的人,在投资时倾向于承担过多的风险。

    现在,我们已经了解了各种“金钱剧本”,接下来应该进行自我剖析。是什么样的金钱观控制着你对它的态度,这种观念又给你目前的行为和对危机的情绪反应带来了什么样的影响?

    一旦明了了金钱对于自己的意义,就能够更好地面对经济大潮的涨落,也就能明白,造成金融压力的主要根源并非经济形势,而是我们与金钱之间扭曲的关系,以及这种关系对我们应对危机能力造成的影响。明确自己所持的金钱观是第一步,它能让你调整自己的观念,更好地适用当前的经济形势,进而也就能更加客观地对待金钱。

    总之,只要用之有道,金钱便可成为利器。我们不会用锤子来切割木板,但我们却经常试图用金钱来做一些它用途之外的事情。然而,如果我们在使用金钱时能够做到合理谨慎,它确实能够帮助我们实现目标。如果能够剥去金钱的种种神秘光环,消除对它不恰当的理解和情感,不论是否身处危机,我们都能更明智、更有目的性地利用它来造福于我们自身、我们的家人以及整个社会。

    本文作者埃里克•J•达曼博士是一名临床心理学家和心理分析学家,在曼哈顿拥有一家私人诊所。此外,他还为对金钱与金融心理学感兴趣的个人和机构担任顾问。

    译者:阿龙/汪皓

    But whatever the answers, none of the above-mentioned definitions are the same as the dictionary definition; so the next obvious question is, where do these meanings come from? In my experience, most of these additional associations with money develop during childhood.

    Children learn about money from a variety of sources, but as is the case with many psychological issues, our parents have the greatest impact; specifically, it's the parent's indirect messages that are often the most powerful. As we know, children are sponges, taking in the myriad interactions parents have around money everyday, many of which we don't even pay attention to. Every time we lie about our child's age to get the cheaper movie ticket, or argue with our spouse about the price of a recent purchase, we are sending a message -- often one that's contrary to the conscious message we intend to send.

    What parental behavior, for instance, might lead a child to later equate money with control? Consider the parent who uses an allowance to reward or punish behavior; one of my clients knew he had to behave especially well on Sunday (the day he got his allowance), because if he annoyed his mother on that day she wouldn't give it to him. What about equating money with love? The most common way this gets established is when a parent, perhaps due to guilt over being away from home for business trips, returns home and showers the child with gifts.

    These types of interactions on an occasional basis are not necessarily problematic. But when repeated over time, these early experiences can solidify into firmly-held beliefs. And because they're developed through the eyes of a child, they tend to be incomplete or partially true, but yet they become indelible, controlling the way we interact with and use money. Some authors have called these beliefs "money myths" or "money wiring," but I prefer the term "money scripts," because they control our actions just like a script does in a play (this term was first coined by psychologists Brad and Ted Klotz and financial planner Rick Kahler).

    One of the most common scripts is "money is bad." It's important to note that these beliefs are sometimes true, and it's easy to find evidence to support the notion that money is evil. In many divorce proceedings, for instance, money is used for evil purpose, and an awful lot of violence is perpetrated in the name of money. But there is evidence for its opposite as well (the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, for example). Someone with the money script "money is bad," however, will see all money as bad, and will therefore avoid things having to do with money. This is the person who sees money as dirty, or who ignores money by not opening their monthly statements, not doing an estate plan, or meeting with a financial advisor.

    Another common money script is "more money will make things better." If one is in abject poverty, and can barely afford food and shelter, there is no question that more money will make things better. But once we have reached a level of income that takes care of the basic necessities of life, more money does not necessarily make things better, and in fact for some people excess money can actually made things worse. This script can lead to problems like workaholism, or the disillusionment many feel once they have "made it" financially.

    A third important script is "There will never be enough money." This leads people to hoard out of fear, and is evident in the person who is not willing to take appropriate risks when investing, or keeps everything in cash. Its also evident in those wealthy people whose money is a source of constant stress rather than fulfillment. They simply cannot use their money wisely, because any use of money feels dangerous. It also leads to panic selling, when dips in the stock market feel like the person's money is being taken away.

    A final common script is perhaps one of the most pervasive, the script of "money equals self esteem." This is the person who equates their net worth with their self-worth, and therefore feels terrible about themselves when the Dow starts falling. This can also lead to the excessive acquisition of material things in order to feel better about oneself.

    One final aspect to notice about many of the money scripts I've discussed is that they can be flipped. For example, the preceding "There will never be enough money," is for some people "There will always be enough money." This script is, I believe, the source of much of the current mess we are in, leading people to believe that real estate values will keep going up, or that they can continue buying things on credit and the money will magically appear from somewhere. These are also the people who take excessive risks when investing.

    Now that you have an understanding of money scripts, try to uncover which are relevant to you. What are the overarching beliefs about money that govern your interactions with it, and how might these be influencing your current behavior and emotional reactions to the crisis?

    Once you have a clearer understanding of what money means to you, you are in a better position to weather the inevitable ups and downs of the economy, and to see that often the main source of financial stress is actually not the economy; it's our distorted relationship with money and how it impacts our ability to deal with the crisis. Awareness of money beliefs is the first step; it will allow you to modify those beliefs to fit the current situation, and thereby deal with money more objectively.

    To conclude, money is an excellent tool, but only when used appropriately. You wouldn't use a hammer to cut a two-by-four, but we often attempt to use money to achieve things for which it wasn't designed. It can, however, help us to achieve our goals if we use it with care and understanding. When you demystify money, and remove the inappropriate meanings and emotion from it, you are in a better position to use it wisely and purposefully for the betterment of yourself, your family, and your community -- in times of crisis and beyond.

    Eric J. Dammann, Ph.D. is a clinical psychologist and psychoanalyst with a private practice in Manhattan. In addition to his clinical practice he is a consultant to individuals and organizations interested in understanding the psychology of money and finance.

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