May 2

Comparison of Financial Psychology, Behavioral Finance and Finology with Rick Kahler

Transcription: E03 - Rick Kahler

Speaker 1: What Is Finology? Here we explore our personal relationships with money, money's nature, and how we exchange value in daily life. Grounding ourselves in the liberal arts, we explore financial planning 3.0 from the inside out, addressing money as the most powerful and pervasive secular force on the planet. Mysterious money, merits study.

Jake Wagner: Hello and welcome to the What Is Finology podcast. This is Jake Wagner. And on this episode of the show we have Rick Kahler joining us. Rick how are you doing?

Rick Kahler: Thank you Jake. It's good to be with you. I appreciate you having me on.

Jake Wagner: Yeah, me too. I've learn from you a lot over the years and really appreciate everything that you and dad have talked about and shared, what you shared with me on the conversations that you've had. And so it seems like you would be a required person to be on this podcast.

Rick Kahler: Well, if I could absorb 20% of what I heard your dad say, I think it would be a wonderful accomplishment. I always used to kid with him. I'd say, "Dick, your fly the plane at 50,000 feet and I owe a guy, I just got to figure out how are we going to land this thing." You know what he say, "Well that's why I need guys like you around me. If I can't make this relevant on Monday morning then what's the point?"

Jake Wagner: Well, that part we can't do, but I definitely hear that onus as far as how do we land the plane and I'm glad that these recordings are a part of that.

Rick Kahler: I'm thought of kind of in the industry or the profession, the projection to me is that I'm a visionary and that I'm conceptual. And I did some testing around that once with Courtney Pullen who was another good friend of you and your dad's. And he was pretty shocked that I don't have much conceptual going on, but I have a huge amount of analytical. And that's the landing the plane part for me, your Dad was super conceptual. And so, when you get a conceptual and an analytic together, it can make a nice balance.

Jake Wagner: So when did you guys first meet? What were some of the first experiences that, when did you start collaborating together?

Rick Kahler: Oh man, the first that I remember of your dad was back in the ICFP retreat days and I think my first one was in '83. It was Logan, Utah and it was back in the time in the 80s when your dad was a leader of the ICFP. And I just saw him from afar. And those were the days I was just taking notes like crazy and Eileen Sharkey and Camp Thin and Henry Montgomery and that crowd. So I knew of your dad, but I never knew how do I get to talk to him? How do I get in that circle over there and talk with them?
We started collaborating and Nas Ruetten and even though I joined in 1996, I didn't attend the first a retreat or conference until the one they had asked us in either '99 or 2000 when we 75 of [inaudible 00:04:06] George Kinders today. And that was a somewhat of the beginning of our collaboration because shortly after that, say within a six months or a year a bunch of us formed this little group, we called ourselves the Pioneers. And that's when I started having the opportunity and the privilege of being locked up with your dad seven other people for a weekend, three times a year. So I would say that our real collaboration started around '99 or 2000.

Jake Wagner: What was that work?

Rick Kahler: What was the work? What were we doing?

Jake Wagner: Yeah.

Rick Kahler: We talked about that for three years. The joke was, the standing question is what are the pioneers? Just like your dad, Nas Rudin started with him sending out an invitation to a bunch of folks saying, let's get together and talk. There was no agenda or anything like that and that was the pioneers and drove me nuts. I'm like, I'm calling to spend three days with these people and we don't know what the agenda is, you've got to be kidding me. And it really taught me the importance of it's more important who's there and what's on the agenda because the agenda, we'll take care of itself.

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Rick Kahler: So we spent a lot of time wondering where this is going, where is this emotions and money movement going? We talked about forming a guild, we talked about collaborating, we talked about joining our practices and we never came up with anything that we did as a group except to get together and meet and have rich conversations and great food. I do remember one really impactful day of all the conversations that we had, what we were doing, our focus was on emotions and money. And what does this mean? What does it mean for the profession? What does it mean to walk the walk around interior work, around money? And so we took one day once everybody got an hour and we decided what we would do is to disclose how much we made in the past year and what our net worth was.
And that was just an impactful day, because I will often say when I'm talking to a bunch of planners that planners often think they don't have money issues because they deal with money and that money isn't a taboo to planners because we talk about it all the time. And I'll say, well, what you might want to do then, if it's not a taboo to you is at the reception after we're done today, just go up to everybody and tell them how much you make and what's your net worth is. And ask them, how much did you make last year and what's your net worth?

Jake Wagner: Wow. How did that go?

Rick Kahler: You hear there's a nervous chuckle going through the audience, said okay, we get it. In just a few minutes I don't want you to do anything right now, I'm just telling you what we're going to do in about five minutes. I'm going to ask you to line up here in front of the stage, zero net worth is to my left and 100 million net worth is to my right and kind of line up on this stage as to where you [inaudible 00:08:23] I may even frame it different, like over 5 million is to the right. So just be thinking about where you're going to be standing, and faces go white, people just phrase like, oh my God, no. And of course I don't do it because you probably have to have a team of therapists there to help with the emotional fallout.

Jake Wagner: That's some social exposure right there that's really opening up the kimono and maybe a little bit more.

Rick Kahler: It goes to the depth of how we identify with money and what the taboos are. So the Pioneers, we decided if we're really serious about this we better take some of the strong medicine. So we did that and it was quite an insightful day.

Jake Wagner: And also I did my thesis in college on people's attitudes actually about their attitude about wealth and then their opinions about money and how those related. And behavioral finance itself is just like a part of psychology even seems like it came around in about 2004 to 2006. This is pretty ahead of the [inaudible 00:09:39] stuff, right?

Rick Kahler: Yeah. I had a discussion with somebody just last week or two on behavioral finance and explained to them the huge difference between behavioral finance and what we're doing in financial psychology. Because of behavioral finance deals with curious states of the mind and labeling various behaviors like hurting or anchoring. And my point to these folks was, you are not going to get too far with a client by telling them, when you just said that, that's kind of hurting and, oh, now you're anchoring. That's not helpful. It's not going to get us anywhere. It's too macro.
So what we're dealing with in financial psychology is the micro, why? Why do you as an individual, why do you have these behaviors? The big label, maybe you're anchoring, but what's happening with you on a micro level? Because we're not going to change anybody at the macro level, we're not going to change any behaviors or many, maybe 20% of money behaviors can be changed cognitively just because they don't know. Like maybe 20 20% of any weight problems can be changed with teaching somebody about fat grams and protein and calories and diet.
But 80% of all our financial issues are illogical financial behaviors, which by the way are never illogical and we understand the underlying belief system, need to be solved with something a lot deeper. Just like a lot of the of America is overweight problem it's not going to help us learn anymore about calories, anymore than it's going to help us learn more about money to help our money behaviors. It goes a lot deeper to the psychology of that person and what's going on in that person, what's gone on in their past.

Jake Wagner: So can you speak a little bit to the line between, when did you personally have behavioral psychology and then you talked about, is it financial psychology? Is that the term that you're just [inaudible 00:12:08]

Rick Kahler: Behavioral finance.

Jake Wagner: Behavioral finance, financial psychology-

Rick Kahler: Financial psychology or financial therapy it's all kind of the same thing. Well, it is the same thing. Financial Psychology, financial therapy are the same thing.

Jake Wagner: And then can you speak a little bit about how you see both of those relating to finology?

Rick Kahler: Yeah. The behavioral finance is a lot more heading it's about the masses. It's about how people in general respond, how people act, what they do at market bottoms, what they do at market tops, what they do when faced with walking two blocks to pay 5 dollars more for an item or 5 dollars less let's say when a 10 dollar item is selling for 5 dollars two blocks away. Or a 10,000 dollar item is selling for 9,995 dollars two blocks away. Most people are going to walk the two blocks to go from 10 to five. Most people are [inaudible 00:13:20] think about walking to go from 10,000 to 9,995. It's the same 5 dollars. So that's behavioral finance. Financial therapy, financial psychology, it goes to the deeper in my history as to why I'm doing things that appear to be not in my best interest or that appeared to be illogical or in areas where I am stuck.
When I am selling high and buying low, rather than label it as something the masses are doing around anxiety. Why am I personally doing it? And it will really get to the root of the issue. The money scripts is something that we came up with to describe the beliefs that we have around money. The heuristics, it's the personal heuristics. The personal shortcuts that we take in our limbic system. Personally, all insurance people are evil. Fathers make the money in the household. There's an unlimited number of beliefs a person can have and all of these beliefs are true in some circumstance and they're all faults in another circumstance.
So money scripts are personal partial truths. So I was really getting in at a personal level saying, what do you believe? What is your money history? What were the dynamics of your household? So it's very, very different from behavioral finance. As to how do they relate to finology. Finology as I understand it is the field or the study of value exchange. So it could relate to a person, on a personal level I relate to value exchange. And it also could look at value exchange on a macro level of currencies of a country or just the way that we exchange a macro level,

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Jake Wagner: Thanks for pointing that out. One of the elements of this whole finology subject, if I believe dad is right, I think that he is identified an entire ology here that that's why we're here and doing this. And I believe that psychology was my bachelor's degree and psychology is like 120 years old or something like that. Really, it's a very young knowledge [inaudible 00:16:46] and at this point there are many hundreds of different areas of psychology and the [inaudible 00:16:52] of what I think is going on as we have these discussions about finology and why we're even starting with what is finology as the way to capture these conversations is that there are many, many areas that we're still going to have to define and redefine as we explore what it means to exchange value.
What's happening when, the example you had of someone walking a couple blocks to get a 5 dollar discount, and it's the same 5 dollars the psyche does something different, but the value exchange portion of it it's about the act that's going on to me at least at this point. I'm definitely still defining and redefining what finology is and trying to look for that moment where it's like, oh, that's where we're exchanging value. And I think that we are all going to have to work together to just see how those dynamics work and create a structured body of knowledge around it too because, yeah.

Rick Kahler: Exactly and as you've talked, I've thought about with this being the study of value exchange or the whole field of value exchange, there is a very tangible component of that. Your dad was a pretty big proponent of Ken Wilber's thinking of integral and we've got an exterior and an interior to everything. So it certainly apply to finology where you've got the actual item of exchange, whether it's dollars or complimentary currency or a gift economy. And the unseen portion of that is behavior around the exchange, the thoughts and feelings around money and how it's viewed. I see it very similar to the equity market while I'm thinking of the shares of reads that in 2008, 2009 fell 80% from their top.
There's no way real estate fell 80%, real estate fell if we could pick a number, maybe 25% in value, but it was the behavior of the markets. I think a lot of us would concur that the markets are driven by behavior they're not driven by a logic. And so the value of exchange of money is much the same. It's ultimately driven by human beings and that encompasses the whole human condition and in all of the feelings, thoughts and beliefs that a person has.

Jake Wagner: One of Dad's statements was the money is a uniquely human creation.

Rick Kahler: Exactly. There's nothing natural about money, which was another one of his, I think he called him money truisms at one time, which I love. I use them all the time. That money is the strongest secular force on the planet and I love money skills don't come naturally. So, yeah, exactly there's nothing natural about money it is absolutely a human creation.

Jake Wagner: I actually have a bit of a disagreement with you guys on that point there, to quote some star wars on another planet somewhere else a long, long time ago or far, far away. Just with the Law of Large Numbers in physics, I think there's probably there's a billion habitable planets in our galaxy alone and in [inaudible 00:20:53] some other type of life gets to our level of complexity and we're actually having conversations and exchanging ideas and learning and getting to where that we're not scavenging for food in order to get our nutrition for the next day. I think some of those places might not have evolved money, but I think some of them also had [inaudible 00:21:14].
To me, I think that money it's a part of, I guess [inaudible 00:21:21] sphere and while we're, we're making this construct in order to actually create the exchange process.

Rick Kahler: I'm certainly not going to argue with you on that. And as you were talking, I thought you and I were talking before we started recording about the value exchange, the Sacred Economics I think is the name of the book.

Jake Wagner: Sacred Economics and Charles Eisenstein.

Rick Kahler: Right. I think of an economy that's based on gifting and there's certainly a value exchange going on there. There's no question about that. I wonder if we would call what's going on their money.

Jake Wagner: I actually feel that it's trans. I'm going to use some integral concepts for folks and just go and look up some of the definitions here. But the pre/trans fallacy, if barter is the pre state where we're trying to figure out how many chickens this goat is worth, for example. And it's never quite an even exchange. If we know that the chicken's 6 dollars a pound and the goat's 8 dollars a pound, then we can actually arrive at a true equal answer.
When you get to the gifting portion of things. If the basic definition of money is connecting unused resources with unmet needs, it does it exceptionally well. Even to like the point of almost divine providence, where it's like, oh, I have this need and someone says I've got you. And that need is ceded quickly and that's why it's trans. But at the same time, the places where we have a gifting economy occur in the world today are always short burn periods of time, things from three days to a couple of weeks, maybe a month.
But at the same time Jack Daniels isn't a part of that gifting economy. They still want their whiskey bought in dollars. And there is just the gasoline to get to and from the events where this stuff happens as well. And so a gifting economy is still at this point of evolution riding on the back of a monetary economy.

Rick Kahler: It's just hard for me to wrap my mind around Jack Daniels giving away whiskey as gifts or Exxon giving away gasoline, like well fill up whatever you need and just give us back something of value.

Jake Wagner: Exactly. And the money makes it so that we can understand both what is equitable and then not equal or equitable. And then also that something dad and I talked about a lot was that there will always be liars, cheaters and thieves. And it's just one of those unfortunate elements of reality and just where the culture that we have. And even if it was a different culture, it's just someone's going to want to take advantage of a system at some point or another. They see how the system works and what to leverage it for themselves. See a time where they can just, someone's not looking and scruples or what they are. Money helps make that clear. And that's a great service.

Rick Kahler: Yup. I was thinking as you're talking about the liars and thieves, that there's always going to be a need for therapy.

Jake Wagner: Absolutely, especially as we sit here and dive into or money issues, I think that's just going to need you to sit down on a therapist's couch that much more.

Rick Kahler: That's not an amazing thing it's a real challenge which your dad and I talked about as far as financial planning, how do we get financial planning to the masses? To be a profession someday, the financial planning needs to be acknowledged as something so vital that society's willing to in some form or fashion subsidize those services to people that can't afford them. And then I look at the fact that 70% of the United States lives hand to mouth, 15% are insolvent. So 55% are just hand to mouth. And there is so much baggage around money, so much trauma, if I could use the word that prevent people from making sound financial decisions.
And the only way I really know to address the chronic aspect of a money behavior that's not self serving is through some type of therapy. We have found that financial literacy doesn't work.

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Jake Wagner: You have to fix the underlying issue and these money concepts, the psychology involved in it's very difficult and it's just barely creep to the surface of the body socials unconscious. One of the things I've learned through Bernard Letendre was the Temple of Juno Monyette in Greece especially from like an archetypal level contains some of the order in which we're tackling some of our most serious subconscious issues. And it was a sex, death and money are some of the things that happened in that temple. And understanding the sexual revolution happened in the 60s and now lots of folks are understanding the nature of their existence and just that entire [inaudible 00:27:58] of the integral work is really where I see a lot of that next step going with [inaudible 00:28:03]. And people have a loving Buddhism and other things like that and even Easter and money is the next issue that's coming down the line. And it's really hard for people to actually wrap their minds around how deeply this is enmeshed in their lives.

Rick Kahler: And especially if you're a therapist.

Jake Wagner: Yeah. Dad always said that therapists and the priests are who he usually go to talk to about these [inaudible 00:28:29] issues but both are real great with their money issues. I think therapist's side I think the examples easier to see with your pastor, but that they have the role of having to keep up with the Jones' of your community and that they are surviving through the arms of the congregation. And that's a lot of burden.

Rick Kahler: Well the therapists are even taught. It's a real common statement that if you're in this profession for money you're in the wrong profession. And I remember when we started kind of inventing financial therapy, if you will, back in the early 2000s, I told the psychologist I was working with on all of this that, "Money is such a looking good portal to deeper financial problems." I think that therapy, a profession, mental health profession's going to be all over this because it's like, well, I'm going to go to a talk to a therapist about finances or I'm going to go to a financial therapist. Just kind of sounds less threatening. But, with financial planners to say, I'm going to go do anything with emotions or therapy, I just don't think we'll be quick to adapt.
And he said, Rick, I think you're totally wrong, and I think it's going to be the other way around. And he was right. To this day all of the movement toward financial therapy is happening in the financial planning colleges of universities. You've got Kansas State that has a certification in financial therapy, you have the financial behaviorist from [inaudible 00:30:14] I believe, [inaudible 00:30:16] just started financial life planning certificate. But it can be-

Jake Wagner: How about Texas Tech and Virginia Tech?

Rick Kahler: Definitely have courses on this. University of Georgia has the ASPIRE Clinic. But all of this is happening from the financial planning side. The only mental health college in the United States that has given any credibility to financial therapy, happens to be South Dakota State University who allowed Sarah Swatner who is our planner here at our office. She did her masters, just got her masters in counseling. And they allowed her to do her internship in financial therapy. That's something Harvard hasn't done, Stanford hasn't done, Berkeley hasn't done.
So that's the first little movement we've seen of any cross pollination because, what I've learned is the turf wars are huge when it comes to academics. So there's a lot to be done to open up and continuing to advance the idea of financial therapy and how important to therapy is around money.
And there's something else I want to say that even though we have problems around finance and we sabotage ourselves. I have paralleled this to overeating, it all comes from the same trauma. As the one psychologist said, "When we follow the money trail, it leads us to the same room as overeating or over drinking or recreational drug addiction or any other type of addiction."
And that's why the therapy can be so helpful. In fact, I asked the person I was at yoga this week and there was an instructor who had lost a hundred pounds, 150 pounds, and it kept it off for 13 years. And I asked her, I said, "Has anything changed in the way you do money?" And she initially said, "No, I don't think so." And then as she kind of pondered she say "oh, oh yeah. Oh yeah. Yeah. A lot's changed the way I do money." That's what I found there's actually a study out of Munich that says there's a direct tie to being overweight and over in debt.

Jake Wagner: Wow, right? Interesting.

Rick Kahler: And I have known that in what they call hearsay, just with people that I've worked with, I find a link between making poor money decisions and poor eating or being overweight. It takes really the same emotional skillset to conquer either.

Jake Wagner: Is it really tying to the diet series of coping behaviors or is there foiling over into other types of addiction just as quickly?

Rick Kahler: Well, personally I think it hits just about any form of addiction. You can in the addiction field what I have seen happen as you can somewhat cope or solve or cure one addiction, but the addiction will pop up in another area. So for example, a great example is the Alcoholics Anonymous. When you go to an AA meeting that they pretty much have solved their addiction to alcohol but man you'll die of the secondhand smoke.
So, you can lay down one and pick up another or maybe you picked up overeating while overeating is a lot better addiction to have than say cocaine because you won't go to jail for overeating. But it's all coming from the same trauma, the same loony. So it's the same with overspending. We can solve that, and I guess in our focus of making sound money decisions we might say our job's done. You're now making sound money decisions, great. But if a person picks up just another addiction to deal with the internal pain, the unfinished business, whatever is driving them toward making those poor decisions, in the big picture, yeah, we've helped. Maybe we've, we've moved a person to making good money decisions.
And I don't know that that's our job of focusing in financial therapy, of making someone a completely whole, but I will say, and I think this idea might've even popped up during the Pioneers day that were really in the wellness business as holistic planners. And in fact, our company purpose is to transform the financial and emotional wellbeing of people. And we put emotional in there because it was really hard to separate financial wellbeing from emotional wellbeing, because can you have one without the other? I don't know. It depends what we define is financial wellbeing.

Jake Wagner: Absolutely. And also especially as we consider just the neurology of it as well, which is something that you were bringing up earlier that one of the ways that I really had this conclusion at the Money Quotient Gathering in the fall. And actually before I say this, I want to say something that I heard you and Marty Kurt say a number of years ago at a Colorado symposium for that FPA chapter. You were the lunchtime presenter and you said that you thought that 95% of money decisions involved emotions and then Marty was on later and I think some of this is just to the point more than the literal numbers, but he said he thought that number was low and that it was 99 to 100 percent of money decisions had a heavy emotional component to it.
And so the thought that I had at Money Quotient Gathering was that this decision making happens in the limbic system, as you said a little bit ago, and that a part of what's going on with the just bringing consciousness to an attention and awareness to just the whole habit is that we're moving it from the limbic system into the neocortex and from the mid and deep brain into the front of the brain as well. And I just think that that's fascinating.

Rick Kahler: That jives 100% with my understanding of how the brain works and as you're talking, I think we have seen more and more presentations at FPA retreat, at a NAPFA meetings about being present. And I would have walked out on a session about being present 20 years ago. I did walk out of the session where the psychologist was presenting to us in 1989 like what is he doing here, but like, oh, come on, getting present in the moment, give me a break. Let's get out the mutual [inaudible 00:37:53].
And it's so important because if we are going to move those decisions out of the limbic system, and actually what I have quoted is Cayman's work where he found 90% of all financial decisions are made emotionally in the limbic system. And that was in 2002 that he won the Nobel prize. He's a psychologist and he wins a Nobel prize for economics. Figuring this out, and it kind of just became a no brainer to me that if I want to survive and be relevant, I think I had better learn something about emotions and how we make decisions.
And so it becomes a pretty important to become present to where one can become an observer of their emotions. And now we're getting into all sorts of practices many of them are spiritual practices, we have a Steven Brody now talking to us about the spirituality of financial plannings.

Jake Wagner: Impressive work.

Rick Kahler: I would called him a total crazy man 20 years ago. Like what psychology's that? Now you want to bring spirituality to it. Oh, this is good. But when you really look at what the definitions are that they're working about, they're not talking about the religiosity of financial plan. We're talking about becoming aware of what's happening. And when we used to have, I used to do a five and a half day financial therapy workshop and we would teach meditation and we'd teach what we called gentle eating, where you don't talk while you eat and you put your fork down during the bites. And we'd always have to bring this back to, now you're at a financial workshop. Well, what does meditation have to do with money decisions? What does gentle eating have to do with money decisions?
And we're coming back to becoming aware, having emotional intelligence. I talked to a lady just yesterday who had to quit work because of depression. And she has some huge financial challenges and she'd be communicating with me, oh, in this moment I'm feeling all of this despair and I'm feeling this and I'm feeling that and this is so hard. And right now I'm crying writing this to you.
And I have a conversation with her for an hour and 15 minutes on the technicalities of real estate and deeds and trusts and how this works and how recording works at the recorder of deeds and she's tracking through this whole thing. And I told her, I said, "If you were really non functionally depressed, we couldn't even have this conversation." But what's going on here and actually she's a therapist, so she had some knowledge, is you are processing all of your emotions.
This is called emotional intelligence. And the benefit of emotional intelligence is clarity of decisions and being able to hear. It's the story of Scrooge, when he was able to see his past, he was able to come present and start hearing what people were saying about him and how he was showing up. And I get really excited about this because in this moment I saw the benefit of this person being aware of what's going on within them and separating the emotion from, okay, now here's the step I've got to take.

Jake Wagner: Cool. To use one specific integralism that I think this is wordy but on point that the subject of the first of their original stage that she was at, the subject of one stage becomes the object of the subject of the subsequent stage. And to translate that into a little bit more into a common English is that you are who you are right now and you have the attachments that you do and that as you progress through life, that you realize that that behavior's not you, that spending habits is not you, that emotional attachment even that that's not who you are and you can at least make a decision to not be that. And in this process of maturing through the stuffing off of those attachments.

Rick Kahler: Yes. That's so important to financial maturity and making really sound money decisions.

Jake Wagner: So, has this office, it's still there and all the Scrooge McDuck, Gleicks in prints or [inaudible 00:42:44] in print are still up on the wall. And they've always, I make sure to take a little bit of time when I'm at home to just look at these pieces of art. And I know that you have your book on Scrooge McDuck too. Did you and dad just kind of like jump on that together and how also does that relate to what you've been discovering with natural psychology and finology?

Rick Kahler: Well, the book that I helped author is called The Financial Wisdom of Ebenezer Scrooge. And it was a story that I used to tell I think it was when I was doing the Kinder work. I've always been taken by that story. And we started looking at it and getting into it. And the deeper that we looked the more amazing worthy stories, the truths that we're able to take out of that particular story. And I could go on for five more podcasts and all of the richness that it's in seemingly very simple little fable of where the Scrooge had an intervention in his life and he's basically told to go into your past and then your present and your future.
And actually that was the model for the first paper ever on the successful treatment of money disorders that was a submitted to a peer review journal was the model of the [inaudible 00:44:17]. So your dad was involved just with the discussions that I'd have and flushing out various thoughts during that period of time. So I don't know how he came upon Scrooge McDuck.

Jake Wagner: It's rich. It's really, really rich. It's as rich as Scrooge McDuck. You sit there and you look at one of the prints and there's this safe and there's [inaudible 00:44:50] safe. And then there's the mine that's going down into the underneath where he has even more gold and it's the mine all mine. And that he can sit there and he can supposedly dive in to this like pool of gold coins and that that's what makes him happy.
And it's ironic because like, well, really? Is the question that kind of comes up in all of our heads. And then I was raised around like there's the Duck tales and some of those shows that happen and seeing the Scrooge MCDuck's actual wealth that the value and the joy that he found in his life was when he had his boys that he could go and love on. And the money was nice, but it was a means to that happiness, not an [inaudible 00:45:41]. And I truly run with that metaphor deeply too.

Rick Kahler: It really hits that Jacob Needleman work that there's no inherent meaning in money. Money is this an inanimate object. But money absolutely supports and fuels the quest for meaning. And that's seems like a nuance but it's a huge, huge difference.

Jake Wagner: It's super huge. To use some integral words, money's an artifact. It has no consciousness. It's not what we call a holon. And therefore, as you said it has no consciousness. And as we have our mental projections, all of the psychology that we've been discussing in all of those elements that someone has these sometimes extremely strong feelings about money. The good part in the unfortunate part is that it's just you. That it's your spending habits got You there. Your beliefs, your attachments, your values.
And so it's one of those, it's not money's got you down. And is actually your psychology just being put on display without the problem of you can do that with another human being, but there is still that other human's being personality in there at the end of the day. Money, it's really just you.

Rick Kahler: One way to get that across to somebody usually fairly quickly is just take out a dollar bill, there you go and ask somebody, what has this ever done to hurt you? And bring him back to know this piece of paper with the ink on it what has it done to hurt you? What has this done to help you? Well, and eventually they'll see, well that in itself can't do anything. It's just a piece of paper, it's how it's been used.

Jake Wagner: But there's a ledger that's attached to it, and the big ledger in the sky. But you don't know if you know that bill was used to tip your kid who is working a restaurant job, it's a totally possibility.

Rick Kahler: I like your words of a ledger. It's my history, all of my personal history that's attached to that, that makes it what it is, to me.

Jake Wagner: You brought up a number of pieces of nuance that I just want to like pull it out that there's a piece of paper with a ink. There's the value that is imbued in that piece of paper that is a little bit, you go and you take that piece of paper, you deposit in the bank then all of a sudden that dollar somewhere else. So that value is still is a different element. And then there's also as that value exchange pattern has happened that someone's gotten lunch and then the person's gotten a tip and then they've gone and used it for dinner. Just that entire exchange process that actually understanding how that could have had good, bad or neutral effects on your life the entire time before it came into your possession.
And that we don't know. And we kind of don't even need to be attached exactly. Because we do know that the value exchange happened. At least I agree with Stephanie Kelton's work where there was no debt there'd be no money to spend. And so that's part of like there's this journey that the value takes as it goes from, and buys people lunch, get someone's Internet bill paid, puts a roof over their head, makes it so that they can go out and provide good advice to someone else and help their financial lives be better. That sort of thing, that journey.

Rick Kahler: I was thinking as you're talking, the same exact value exchange. Can have a negative perception, a neutral perception and a positive perception, like three different people. And that gets to kind of what we opened up with is going from this macro level to the micro level of the individual. How does it impact you? What's your history around this?

Jake Wagner: What's your baggage too? What are your attachments?

Rick Kahler: Totally. It just drives a whole value exchange, doesn't it? So it's a pretty integral part of getting back to one of your first questions, the emotional and psychological neurological issues are all really deep part of finology.

Jake Wagner: And then psychology clearly abuts right next to finology as well. And then on another wall of the knowledge of finology we have economics and sociology and all sorts of stuff that we haven't even yet concluded. So yeah, there is a lot yet to be discovered and that why we're just taking these first a pioneering steps with this first season What Is Finology?

Rick Kahler: Who knows? Maybe someday in the psychology economics are all going to rest in the finology department.

Jake Wagner: Well, for me and how I've thought about this for the last decade we've been talking about it, there's I'm not going to get the cliche quite right, but you'll get the gist of it. Well it's like when you go to college, you go and you learn let's see that biology is really chemistry, that chemistry is really physics, that physics almost like a religion and theology when you get far enough into it, into the quantum world and all of that stuff. And so just these fields are related. And one of the things I think is so important, especially as we're setting the groundwork for finology, is that we can identify those distinctions between psychology and the other areas of knowledge and finology, which is just so hard to pull out of our subconscious and actually really identify the issue, and it'll get easier and easier as we add these words and I'm going to have these conversations.

Rick Kahler: Absolutely. I appreciate the work that you're doing and trying to continue to flush this out and to see where it goes. And it'll be interesting to look back 10 and 20 years from now and see where we are with all of this.

Jake Wagner: It is. I'm really looking forward to it and we'll have to revisit this conversation then in a whole bunch along the way it was all. So Rick we've been talking for a good while. It's definitely time to start to bring our conversation to a close. What else, do you have any other things that you want to make sure that the audience knows about? [inaudible 00:53:12] a few minutes? Maybe we'll see how, you'll have a whole lot to contribute to this project as we-

Rick Kahler: Well, there's hours of material and exactly know where this conversation would go. So I think we have said everything that there was to be said. There's nothing burning that I've written down that I've said, oh, we absolutely got to get back to that. I think we've really covered everything that was coming up in the moment during our conversation. And I like to kind of how we've ended it, where we began. It's a really nice thread through all of our conversation about how all of this interreacts and interrelates and weaves together.

Jake Wagner: And with that Rick I want to thank you for taking the time and sharing with me and with the audience. And with that folks, I'm going to wrap up this episode of What Is Finology? Make sure to like, subscribe and share this wonderful wisdom that Rick has a shared with you today. And with that, thank you. I'll see you next time.

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About the Author

Richard Kahler

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