Perception of Money: Why People Think It’s Bad + What to do About It

perception of money

Talking about money is a somewhat sensitive and challenging topic for many people. Still, in this article, we will leave behind those doubts and ideas about money. Furthermore, we’ll see how one’s perception of money can affect their management of it.

What is Perception?

Perception is how the brain interprets sensations and information it receives through various senses to form an impression of reality. How people perceive their reality can significantly influence their thoughts and actions since they will act according to their understanding.

For many years, people have discussed the subject of perception. Various researches have used the findings to apply them in areas such as learning and problem-solving. Perception is an essential aspect of cognitive psychology.

The Gestalt movement explains that perception occurs when a person selects what it considers relevant to generate a mental representation. In other words, the person makes interpretations based on what it sees as necessary, or that draws its attention.

Studying perception involves understanding how each person interprets their reality. But, this also opens the way to learning because people have different perceptions of their existence. 

Some questions people may are, “Why do some people see something good and others see something terrible?” or “Why do some decide to take any action and others not?” 

These are questions that lead us to study the issue of perception beyond the interpretation of physical reality.

How People Perceive Money

Money is an asset used as a form of payment and collection. Since the beginning of civilization, there have been various ways in which people make and receive payments. Regardless of the culture, that system has prevailed today, but the method differs from it’s doing it.

Some people see money as a form of power because of what they can do with it. Money allows people to acquire goods and services, take control of certain things, and even people; that’s why many people often say that money is power due to the scope that it gives.

While it is true that many people can perceive money as an asset that gives power, there are other ways people see it. Many people have a particular perception of money, which can be a barrier to obtaining it or a stepping stone.

Why Are There Different Perceptions About Money?

In psychology, there is something called individual differences. Individual differences are responsible for studying the reason why people are, think and act in different ways. Human beings have differences, and that is part of their personality.

Within “individual differences” is the way each person thinks. The method of thinking, perceiving, and acting may be different due to factors beyond a person’s race or sex. Also, there is a link to other cultural aspects, as well.

People see money as vital in many cultures that they must obtain. In other cultures, money is a means, but it is not everything. Each of these ideas about money affects how other people around will continue to see it.

Many people think that money is wrong, and this association comes from different means. 

For example, some older people share their experiences and tell the youth that money causes evil. They have seen how other people with money have hurt others or how other people around them have acted and presented the money.

When a person grows up having a negative definition of money, this can impact their mental health and health in general. The person is not considering that they can use the money in other ways and develop better money habits.

People can use money as an asset for positive things. Buy medicines, food, clothes, and help other people who need help. 

The negative perception of money makes the person not see beyond what it interprets as bad.

How to Change Perception of Money to a Positive One

For a person to begin to change their negative perception of money to a positive one, there are some simple actions that they can start doing. The first thing is to start adopting a growth mindset about money.

A person can start by looking for information and visiting places where it can donate money. Schools and institutions are places where someone can use money positively!

Another way to change a negative perception is to research how to invest money, such as real estate investing for beginners. By experiencing sound investing results, a person will begin to understand the fair use of money and the positive impact it can bring.

If the negative perception of money affects a person’s well-being, it is necessary to enlist a mental health professional’s help. A psychologist can help identify where negative thoughts and behaviors about money come from and modify them through strategies.

Can the Perception of Money be Changed?

A person can change the perception it has about money. For there to be changes in how someone sees money, it is essential to know where the thoughts come from. The origin of ideas is the first step in understanding your current perceptions of money.

The ideals of each person are respected. It is not a matter of wanting to change someone’s thinking.

Instead, the person must understand that their negative perception of money may keep them from acquiring this asset. Furthermore, giving it the excellent use that many people give it.

When someone understands ​​where the negative perceptions about money come from, the next thing is psychoeducation

It is vital that the population have more excellent knowledge about money, how to use and manage it. The person can often think badly about the money due to the various debts and blames it, not recognizing that they do not have good management using it.

The way each person handles money comes from the perception they have of it. That is why it is common to see people spend money rampantly with a credit card, have poor money management skills, and not understand the value. 

People can use the money for pleasure. It is something fundamental in life but not to the point that a person becomes bankrupt.


The perception that each person has about money can affect their mental health both negatively and positively. A person bases these perceptions on experiences and beliefs that each person has experienced in their life.

Many people’s attitude towards money is that it’s evil. Thus, this mindset influences how they obtain it and limit them from having a better lifestyle.

When a person works to change the way they see money, their life can change. They begin to see money differently and give it another use. Psychoeducation is of utmost importance in people’s lives, especially in personal finances, where many people often have difficulties.

Regardless of finances, if a person has behaviors that can be destructive, professional help is necessary to modify them. There are mental illnesses associated with the misuse of funds that affect people’s health, so there may be a need to work on those behaviors.

Fortunately, there are ways individuals can improve their perception of money, such as working on professional development, being a member of a growth mindset community. 

Ask yourself, “If you had a $100k, what would you do with it? Is there someone you can help or a charity or organization you can support?” When you think about the good money can do, those are the first steps in changing your perception.

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Aura Priscel is a Clinical Psychologist whose work is focused on helping people to overcome situations that affect their mental health through therapy. She has helped people to heal from anxiety, depression, and traumas through online therapy. To learn more about her and her services, visit

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