The perils of financial immaturity

May 10, 2023 | Insights

Financial immaturity makes money your master, not your servant, making it hard to use for the benefit of others or your spiritual growth.
As a financial planner, I loved working with elderly widows. I never explicitly marketed to this sector, but now and then, they would turn up at my door.

They were great to work with and wanted to ensure they could support their children and grandchildren whilst being confident they could live life to the full.

Sadly, their late husbands had usually been the ones who had looked after the household finances, so their first and most urgent need was to get real about their money and find out what they had and where it was.

They felt it was vital that they become financially well-organised, and in most cases, they accepted this as a priority and, with my help, made sure it happened.

The fear of money

In some cases, however, becoming financially well-organised was a bridge too far. For example, money so petrified one client she could not handle it and continued to rely on my help for the remainder of her life.

Her poor financial organisation and her financial immaturity came home to me one February morning when I got a frantic call from my client. She was in a complete panic because she had just received a letter (this was a few years ago before HMRC went digital) from HMRC (the UK’s tax authority) demanding over a thousand pounds in unpaid tax.

I was a bit puzzled because only a few weeks ago, I had helped her complete her tax return in time for the Jan 31 deadline, and an underpayment was undoubtedly not in the equation. Nevertheless, I assured my client it was probably a mistake and that I would sort it out for her the following week when we were due to meet anyway.

When we did meet, I took the letter from her and, unfolding the letter, found a cheque at the bottom for a tax refund.

Is your money your servant or your master?

Financial organisation and maturity combine to ensure your money is your servant, not your master. Financial organisation is all about the practicalities of money and is reasonably straightforward. Financial maturity, however, is about dealing with your emotions around money and is more complicated.

My client’s fear and poor understanding of money blinded her to the fact that the letter was a tax refund, not a demand.

Take a simple money maturity test (below) to assess your emotional ability to deal with money.

How did you score? More importantly, how did you feel as you answered the questions? You will know where to concentrate your efforts to improve your relationship with money as much from the feelings you experienced as the actual score.

A mature relationship with your money will ensure your money is your servant and not your master and can be used wisely for the benefit of others and your more profound spiritual life.

Photo attribution

Photo by Centre for Ageing Better on Unsplash

Audio link

Other references:

Kinder, George. The Seven Stages of Money Maturity : Understanding the Spirit and Value of Money in Your Life. New York, Dell Publishing, 2000.

‌Taking it further:

Take the money maturity test at

Read Twist, Lynne. The Soul of Money: Transforming Your Relationship with Money and Life. W. W. Norton & Company, 14 Mar. 2017.

Related posts:

Money makes the world go round
Money makes the world go round, but the link between money and spirituality is complicated if you believe money is the centre of the universe

Will money make a difference to your values?
On the cusp of a financial crisis, reflect on your core values and decide if you will take the path of service to others or to yourself. 

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