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Ever Widening Circles: Understanding Your Current Relationship With Money

By Mindvalley | Published September 3, 2021

What is EQ?

EQ or EI stands for emotional intelligence. This term was widely popularized by Daniel Goleman, the author of the bestselling book Emotional Intelligence.

It’s your capability to understand your emotions and manage them accordingly without letting them rule your thinking and behavior. And because it’s bidirectional, meaning that you also recognize, distinguish, and understand the emotions and feelings of others, it also helps you manage your relationship with people around you.

Essentially, EQ is a type of intelligence that allows you to navigate your behavior in relation to others and adapt to environments. This is why EQ is believed to be one of the most powerful social skills.

What Is Money EQ?

“Regardless of the amount of money that you receive, it can give you different feelings.” – Ken Honda

This is your relationship with money based on the emotions and feelings you associate money with.

The idea of Money EQ was introduced by Ken Honda, Japan’s number 1 money teacher.

After he had done numerous studies about money, he concluded that happiness and the sense of fulfillment have nothing to do with the amount of money. He has met so many millionaires who are deeply unhappy regardless of their wealth.

So it’s not about how much money you have or how financially savvy you are. It’s about how you relate to it that makes your life meaningful.

And Money EQ is the key to enjoying a happy and healthy relationship with money.

He explains that money is energy in the sense that it invokes different feelings and emotions in people, and it is through these emotions that you relate to money as to happy or unhappy money. And we all have had our relationship with money for years, whether we are aware of it or not.

Master, Slave, or Friend?

What Ken discovered is that there are only three types of relationships with money: master, slave, and friend.

These types are pretty self-explanatory. And unfortunately, most of us are either controlled by money or controlled by it, and both of these relationships keep us restricted and fearful.

What you want to do is treat your money like your best friend.

For that, you need to become aware of the emotions you have towards money, understand and manage them in a way that’s going to help you build a healthy relationship with it. This is your Money EQ, and the higher it is, the happier you’re going to be in your life.

Ken explains that not only does it determine the quality of your life but also indicates what’s happening in it.

He says: “If your relationship is great, then you’re doing great in your life. And if it’s terrible, then it means that you are abusing yourself and allow others to disrespect you.”

The relationships with money will shift your entire life, and it starts with shifting your emotions about money.

Emotional Aspect of Money

Our behaviors are driven by beliefs, and most of our money beliefs are based on blocks and traumas that are deeply rooted in our own past and even beyond.

We get traumatized by certain events or life tragedies, and most of them happen around the situations and decisions that involve money. So money often serves as a trigger of negative emotions such as anger, shame, resentment, sadness, sorrow, hatred, depression, superiority, and inferiority.

This is how we start having an unhealthy relationship with money because we subconsciously associate it with pain. As much as we want to get more money to be happier, we avoid them because they used to hurt us in the past.

Regardless of how much money you earn, these underlying negative emotions will undermine your relationship with it.

For example, if you feel shame about money, you can have a great career and get a good salary, but you will be buying expensive clothes, dining at expensive restaurants, and living in an expensive condo to cover that shame.

Or you may feel unworthy to receive money, and because of that negative emotion, you will not pursue your dreams. It can also be embarrassment or shyness blocking you from pursuing what you desire and receiving what you deserve.

Ken says: “Healing the wounds and pain around your negative emotions associated with money is crucial because they will subconsciously keep you away from receiving more and taking the right opportunities in life.”

As long as you see money as something negative, hostile, harsh, or hurtful, you cannot have a healthy relationship with it.

Know Your Money Type

If you had $1000 in your hands, what would you do?

What you would do depends on your personality in terms of your relationship with money.

Ken calls it the money type.

Each person has their own type regardless of the background or household that they might share in common. They go back to your grandparents and can be inherited from one generation to the other.

Knowing your type and why you become one will shed light on your behavior and help you identify negative emotions around money and transform your relationship with it.

There are passive and active types.

In a nutshell, passive types don’t care about money. In other words, they are so afraid of money that they do everything to avoid it because of some traumatic experiences in their past. As they grow up, they think that money is a dangerous thing. And that’s why they continuously have survival issues.

Indifferent or Monk Type

They live their lives as if it has nothing to do with money. These are very fortunate people who were raised in wealthy families. They don’t have any worries related to money. These people are kind-hearted and serve others because they choose professions based on what they can do rather than how much money they can make.


Hippie is someone who stays away from the modern world and its goods. They escape from capitalism. They aren’t happy as an indifferent type; on the contrary, they feel strong resentment towards money, that’s why they escape it by all means. They think that money is their enemy that corrupts people. As long as you have this image, you can’t enjoy your life.

Active types, on the contrary, are obsessed with money. They always want to do something with money. It’s an action-oriented type.


Spender is someone who finds so much joy in spending money. As soon as they receive money, they spend it all. Often, they grew up in a poor environment, and they didn’t have enough money when they were small. So they associate the sense of worthiness with spending money. So for the spenders, it’s crucial to control their spending.


Saver is the one who saves every penny. They go miles to get things cheaper. By saving, they feel secure.


Moneymakers are the ones who love making money; they are workaholics. This type tends to fluctuate between a compulsive money maker and spender, and a compulsive money maker and saver. They associate a sense of security with more money, and it can lead to addiction.

There are also combination types: repressed spender, gambler, and worrier.

Regardless of how much money you have, all these types of personalities struggle with money. Although their struggles are real, they are purely internal and have little to do with the external circumstances and conditions.

Do you recognize your money type?

Ken explains that you might feel ashamed and embarrassed to recognize your money type, but it’s not a curse. You can shift it as you build your relationship with money.

On top of that, by shifting your money type, you can shift your personality and entire life.

Just like it’s inherited from one generation to the other, once you transcend your money type, you transcend it for the generations to come. This change starts with understanding your type, what wounds have led to this behavior.

And as you do, you will begin to heal these wounds and build your relationship with money anew.


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