Money Problems Are Like Nausea (a Symptom of a Bigger Issue)

We oftentimes describe people as having “money problems.” The reality: there’s no such thing.  There are simply problems that resonate through money.  Money problems are like nausea in that regard - a symptom of a bigger issue.  

Think of the last time you were sick.  You weren’t vomiting because you were vomiting.  You were vomiting because you had the flu, or food poisoning, or you drank too much booze.   

The nausea was a symptom of a greater cause.  So it goes with money problems. 

Symptom Versus Cause 

Money problems are generally the result of overspending. For the most part, people know this.  But it doesn’t prevent them from blowing through their finances. Here’s why: 


Ever heard of “keeping up with the Joneses?” Or, “a champagne taste on a beer budget?”  Vanity spenders bankrupt themselves attempting to impress others or fool themselves into thinking they’re something they’re not.  We all have a degree of pride and one-upmanship. Just realize half those people you’re trying to impress don’t care and the other half don’t matter.  


Some people swipe their credit cards and pile on consumer debt in an attempt to purchase confidence. Remember, confidence comes from accomplishment, not credit card debt.  

Unhappiness or Depression

Accumulation of possessions doesn’t cure depression. The mountain of debt only makes things worse!  I manage a bit of depression myself, mostly of the seasonal variety.  A long time ago I decided hikes with my dog, time with friends, and bright light therapy are more effective (and cheaper) than a trip to the mall. Try it! 

Lack of Discipline

This is the number one cause of money problems.  Undisciplined spenders blow through their hard-earned dollars with abandon then blame a lack of income. It’s called budgeting, folks.  And don’t claim the tired “I’m just not good with money” excuse.  You don’t need an MBA in Finance to spend less than you earn! 

The Diagnosis

Money is not emotional.  Money has no problems.  It’s people who have the problems.  Those human problems present themselves through money.  

The medical profession talks about addressing the cause rather than treating the symptom. Look at personal finance from that perspective.  When you address the real cause of money problems you’ll be healthier and wealthier.  

Damian Mason is a self made businessman, speaker, author, and podcaster. His book, Do Business Better, releases Spring 2019. Find him at 

Angie Carel