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Dollars & Sense: The Color of Money

By Roberta L. Nestor

Green!  We all know the color of money is green, maybe we don’t know why and how this came about, but a quick google search and here is the brief history.  The new bills created by the US government started in the 1860s and became known as “greenbacks”.  This was because their back sides were printed in green ink.  Not only was the green ink available in large quantities, it represented an anti-counterfeiting measure against knock-offs, remember back then pictures could only be taken in black and white.  While green is still the color of money, it often brings with it the emotion of greed, fear, even anger.

Money relationships are complex and different for everyone.  Your feelings about money are guided by your emotions.  The first step to having a better relationship with money is to understand your thoughts and feelings.  Does money make you feel helpless, anxious, stressed or confident?  What does money mean to you, what is your definition – success, independence, power, failure, generosity?

Very often feelings about money develop at a very young age.  Remember going to the local department store and begging you Mom or Dad for candy or some treat and having them say, “No, we can’t afford that!”  Think about our young millennials who, for the most part, haven’t heard the words, “we can’t afford it”.  Unconscious beliefs about money can drive many positive or negative financial behaviors throughout our lives.

Lots of us even dream about money – endless conversations about what we would do if we won a big lottery.  Those visions are very real and speak to our relationship about money.  Many financial advisors have this discussion with their clients, “What would you do if you won the lottery?”  The most common response is to help their children, whether to pay off mortgages or student loans.  Grand family vacations are also part of money dreams, but there are equal conversations about giving back to organizations in need, especially if they involve children.  However, the reality (according to the National Endowment for Financial Education, 01/14/2016) is that about 70% of people who win a lottery or get a big windfall actually end up broke in just a few years.

With money comes great responsibility.  This is evident with retirement planning.  How many of us worry about being able to afford to retire?  What if you run out of money?  These are real fears and can often lead to emotional investing decisions, for example experiencing overconfidence when the markets rally and panic when markets decline.  Look at the over exuberance that exists in today’s financial markets with new highs being met almost daily.  Investors are back to checking their balances more frequently to see how much money they have made; quite the opposite when the market has severe downturns and we capitulate and refuse to even look at our investment statements.

Financial professionals help their clients to understand and untangle their emotions about wealth and can guide you in developing strategies for the future.  They take on the responsibility of acting impartially when you have to deal with stressful financial decisions and most importantly, they can help you keep your emotions in check to help you avoid making costly mistakes with your money.

Roberta L. Nestor is a financial advisor practicing at 491 New Haven Avenue in Milford, CT offering retirement, long term care, investment and tax planning services.  She also offers securities and advisory services as an Investment Adviser Representative of Commonwealth Financial Network – a member FINRA/SIPC and a Registered Investment Adviser.  Fixed insurance products offered through Nestor Financial Network are separate and unrelated to Commonwealth. Commonwealth Financial Network or Nestor Financial Network does not provide legal or tax advice.  You should consult a legal or tax professional regarding your individual situation.  Roberta can be reached at Nestor Financial Network, 203-876-8066 or

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