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Financial Planning > Behavioral Finance

Seven stages revisited

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Back in May 1999, George Kinder published The Seven Stages of Money Maturity (Dell, available through the Investment Advisor bookstore at

Here’s what Senior Editor Marlene Y. Satter had to say about the book in our November 1999 issue.

We seem to be entering a new–and New Age–age of financial advice. . .

George Kinder’s book traces seven stages of attitudes toward money. Innocence, the first stage, is characterized by naivet?–the belief that the universe will provide, or that money itself has power that can’t be controlled by an individual. This attitude leads to stage two: pain. There is plenty of pain in the lives of Kinder’s characters because of their naive, helpless, “innocent” attitudes toward money. They stay in jobs they hate, worry constantly, or can’t get out of debt. Stage three is knowledge, learning to respect and handle money instead of ignoring, misusing, or fearing it.

Understanding, stage four, follows when you’re able to reconcile irrational feelings about money and treat it properly. Vigor, stage five, uses your energy to reach your financial goals. Vision, stage six, points you outward to use energy to achieve goals within your community. Aloha, stage seven, enables you to use money for the greater good without expecting a reward.

These concepts may be a bit hard for a nuts-and-bolts person to handle, but the exercises Kinder also provides can be enlightening.