Representational image.
Representational image.

Money on Your Mind

A pronounced fear of spending money can be one symptom of Money Dysmorphia. Individuals might be afraid to spend money even on necessities.

Whoever says money can’t buy you happiness doesn’t know where to shop, is a meme-worthy quip that millennials and Gen Zers seem to have taken rather seriously. Money can buy a suitably lavish lifestyle is an appetite being whetted by Instagram and TikTok apart from plain old greed. Algorithms at work in cyberspace are redefining the financial aspirations of today's youth. If you are someone who wakes up and scrolls through glamour and luxury on social media platforms, finally ending in a sense of inadequacy, you may be afflicted by Money Dysmorphia.

What is Money Dysmorphia?

Money Dysmorphia is a term used to describe a psychological condition in which an individual has a distorted and irrational preoccupation with money, and the things you can buy with it. This is often accompanied by a feeling of financial anxiety. Psychologist at Marengo Asia Hospitals, Faridabad, Dr Jaya Sukul says,”Social media consumption of the adult population in India is at its peak. Your social worth depends on the validation you get from these platforms. The situation is more troublesome when we look at Gen Z influencers posting about their jet-setting lifestyle.” Unlike in the West,millennials here often do not have the kind of money to live the life they see on social media. This makes them financially independent but psychologically insecure, Sukul says.

Symptoms of Money Dysmorphia?

A pronounced fear of spending money can be one symptom. Individuals might be afraid to spend money even on necessities. An obsession with accumulating money and an inability to enjoy what you have is also one of the symptoms of money dysmorphia. In others it can lead to engaging in compulsive spending. The guilt that follows can be overwhelming for some people.

What causes Money Dysmorphia?

The condition is a combination of many social, cultural and psychological factors. Reasons causing money dysmorphia include growing up in relative poverty. It can also be associated with the societal pressure of material wealth. Experts say those who experience money dysmorphia struggle in their day to day lives.

Is there an answer to Money Dysmorphia?

To combat money dysmorphia, some Gen Zers are taking an unconventional route and embracing 'loud budgeting.' It is a trend against excessive spending. The idea is not having lack of resources but to make a conscious choice of resisting the idea of extravagant living. It is gaining popularity on platforms like TikTok.

"Trends and anti-trends are not new. There will be a counter-narrative to everything. If there is Money Dysmorphia, there is also Loud Budgeting to get out of it,” says Sukul.

So there it is, loud and clear: to be in the clear, be loud.

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The New Indian Express
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