“Emotions are not a luxury, they are a means of survival.”
– Arlie Russell Hochschild


We were inspired by a recent post on LinkedIn by Dr Susan David, Harvard Psychologist and TED Speaker. She was talking about display rules and how they shape our choices.

Historically, our society has been shaped by “display rules” – implicit or explicit norms about which emotions are appropriate for one to feel and express. These rules often have a gendered component, with emotions like sadness being seen as “feminine” and anger as “masculine.” 

Over time, these rules have found their way into every aspect of our lives, including our relationship with money.

In the financial world, display rules can manifest in a number of ways. Women who express concerns about their financial situation may be dismissed as “overly emotional” or “irrational,” while men who admit to feelings of financial anxiety or insecurity may be seen as “weak” or “unmanly.” 

Moreover, seasoned investors are often expected to maintain a stoic, unemotional demeanour, even in the face of market volatility or deep distress.

But these rules are not only outdated and unhelpful – they can actively harm our financial well-being. When we suppress or ignore our emotional responses to financial stressors, we rob ourselves of valuable information. Our emotions can serve as early warning signs, alerting us to potential problems or prompting us to reevaluate our goals.

At WellsFaber, we recognise that financial well-being is not just about the numbers on a spreadsheet. It’s about understanding and honouring the full range of human emotions that shape our relationship with money. That’s why we strive to create a safe, non-judgmental space for our clients to express their financial hopes, fears, and concerns.

As you navigate your financial journey, we encourage you to challenge the display rules that may be holding you back. Give yourself permission to feel the full spectrum of emotions around money – joy, fear, frustration, hope. Seek out people who validate and respect your emotional experience. Remember that your emotional responses to financial situations are not a weakness, but a source of valuable insight.

Emotions are not the enemy of sound financial decision-making. In fact, they are an essential ally. By learning to listen to and trust our emotions, we can develop a more holistic, compassionate approach to personal finance – one that supports not just our financial goals, but our overall well-being.

So the next time you find yourself feeling anxious about a financial decision or ashamed of a money-related misstep, remember Hochschild’s words. Your emotions are not a luxury or a liability. They are a fundamental part of who you are and a key to unlocking your financial potential. Embrace them, learn from them, and let them guide you towards a richer, more thriving financial life.

We advise, you thrive