Cover image for The secret life of money : exposing the private parts of personal money
The secret life of money : exposing the private parts of personal money
Wilson, Valerie, 1947-
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
St. Leonards, N.S.W. : Allen & Unwin, 1999.
Physical Description:
xvi, 224 pages ; 22 cm
Reading Level:
1220 Lexile.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
HG222.3 .W55 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

On Order



A book that explores the meaning of money: what our attitudes to money tell us about ourselves, and why we are so ambivalent and so secretive about money.

Author Notes

Valerie Wilson is a consultant specialising in qualitative research for social, political, organisational and marketing projects. She holds an MA in political psychology from the University of Melbourne and a PhD from the University's Business School.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgementsp. ix
Introductionp. xi
1. Money Has a Childhoodp. 1
Memories and relationshipsp. 2
An unhappy childhood?p. 3
Hush money: secrecy begins in childhoodp. 7
Money as a medium of moralityp. 10
Learning that money is seriousp. 12
Money maximsp. 15
Money memories matterp. 17
2. Touchstones: Money Coming Outp. 20
Deferring pleasure: money doesn't grow on treesp. 20
Deferring payments: attitudes to creditp. 24
Pocket money: a bob each wayp. 27
Money-talk outside the family: the importance of equivalencep. 35
Do men and women differ?p. 38
What the experts say: my money versus their moneyp. 41
3. Expert-talk: Money in Economicsp. 43
The allure of cashp. 44
Definitions, analogies and languagep. 46
4. What Can the Social Sciences Tell Us About Money?p. 52
Psychological approaches to moneyp. 52
Some ideas from sociology and anthropologyp. 58
Gifts of money: an example of psychosocial complexityp. 61
5. Money, Freud and Controlp. 64
Freudian theories about moneyp. 64
Either a spender or a saver bep. 66
Abnormal and normal moneyp. 68
Baby-talk: keeping money childlikep. 74
Case 1 Elisabethp. 77
Case 2 Robertp. 82
Case 3 Neilp. 84
6. Controlling Yourself and Your Moneyp. 88
Everyday control and cashp. 88
Control and household spendingp. 94
Control and bankingp. 98
The spending-saving seesawp. 102
7. Of Milk and Moneyp. 109
Putting your money where your mouth isp. 109
Money pruderyp. 114
Prurience: the other side of the coinp. 117
Embarrassment of richesp. 120
8. Control Becomes Powerp. 126
Money arrangements in householdsp. 126
Tipping: power and status in restaurantsp. 134
Pennies from heaven: power and inheritancep. 139
9. Money, Gender and Sexp. 149
Is money male, and is it sexy?p. 150
Bisexual and borderline moneyp. 156
10. Balancing the Books: Personal and Impersonal Currencyp. 161
Implications for bankingp. 161
Implications for savingp. 165
Cash substitutes and global currenciesp. 166
Taxation: a financial and emotional reckoningp. 168
Privatisation: understanding the resistancep. 170
Divorce and gender differencesp. 170
Gamblingp. 172
11. The Secret Life of Moneyp. 174
The secrets, the secrecy, the shamep. 175
Is money dirty?p. 181
Money speaking silentlyp. 186
Appendix The Research Method and Samplep. 191
The qualitative research approachp. 191
The PhD projectp. 192
The formal research: individual and group interviewsp. 193
The interview samplep. 195
Discussion formatp. 198
Notesp. 201
Selected Bibliographyp. 212
Indexp. 216