The Book

We tend to think about money in terms of dollars and cents, something quantifiable that we either do or do not have enough of. But money is not only legal tender, it is emotional currency as well. The range of emotional responses to money and the meanings it carries—as well as the ways we use money to express our feelings—are almost limitless.

Because money represents so many different things for each of us, it’s easy to get confused about what money can and cannot buy. The confusion is not just personal. It’s actually quite difficult to be emotionally balanced about money in our culture.

“Emotional Currency” can help you to have a healthier relationship with money. Included in the book are dozens of real-life stories from women who have participated in the Emotional Currency Workshops and lots of questions and exercises to help you explore your relationship to money and provide strategies for working through confusions or struggles.  No matter what your age, how much money you have, or how proficient you are in dealing with financial matters “Emotional Currency” speaks to your concerns.

Here’s a few short passages from different chapters in the book:

“To have a full relationship to money, we must value both its concrete and symbolic sides and recognize that there is constant flow back and forth between the two. One moment the $20 bill in my hand is just a paper bill used to go to the movies, and the next moment it’s the means for expressing my gratitude to a friend, trying to buy my daughter’s love, or a way to add my support to a cause or project in which I believe.”

“We talk about the past with our friends: who we loved, what we’ve done, when we were successful, where we worked, and how we were hurt. We talk about the present: who we love, what confuses us, when we’re happy, where we want to go, and how we are having difficulty. We seamlessly weave parts of our stories about nearly everything into our conversations. It’s rare, however, that we talk much about money, beyond our latest shopping bargain. It’s hard to talk about money! Consequently, we often don’t know much about even our own history with money. A money memoir offers a way to rediscover our experiences.

A money memoir is your personal history and present life involving money, with a focus on pivotal events, experiences, exchanges, and people. It is a simple, yet powerful tool for remembering, understanding, healing, and changing your relationship to money.”

“A staggering mix of individual, social, and cultural influences come together to shape us as people and to shape our relationship to money. Although we share commonalities and behavior patterns from our culture and human wiring, we are all very different. Of the more than seven billion humans alive, how astounding it is that no two of us are exactly the same!

A multitude of influences shapes our money lives—so many, in fact, that it would be impossible to explore them all in this or any book. However, over the years, I’ve seen certain recurring influences in the lives of my clients and Emotional Currency Workshop participants, and those are the influences that I will focus on in this chapter: psychological issues, taboos concerning speaking about money, familial expectations and limitations, materialism, financial resources, immigration, and race. Each of these influences provides a perspective from which to observe your relationship to money.”



This is not just the best book about women and money that I have ever read, it is the  best book  about money. Beautifully written, wise, accessible, practical and profoundly  healing.  I wish Kate had been my mother. Or my big sister. It would have changed my whole life.
Don’t make another decision about money until you have read it. Then read it again.

Author of Kitchen Table Wisdom
Clinical Professor, University of California San Francisco School of Medicine
Founder and Director, Institute for the Study of Health and Ilness at Commonweal

Finally! A beautifully written, straight forward guide to understanding money. Reading Emotional Currency evoked many of my own emotional memories about money. The book underscores that for women money provides opportunities and choice.


Here’s the book every woman (and most men) need: a clear, thoughtful, and beautifully-written guide for how to cope with the myriad of emotions caused by money. Kate Levinson — practicing therapist and businesswoman –shows how money is both mercilessly public and intimately personal – stirring up our deepest feelings about dependence and independence, status, attractiveness, and terrifying confusion between net worth and self worth.  Women in today’s economy are especially vulnerable because of gender biases in the workplace, patterns of parenting and upbringing that assume women do not “handle” financial matters well, and social norms that still disapprove of money-wise women. This book is a wise and important antidote.

Author of Aftershock: The Next Economy and America’s Future
Chancellor’s Professor of Public Policy
Goldman School of Public Policy
University of California, Berkeley

We know that out there, money now enters into every pocket and corner of our contemporary culture. Kate Levinson’s book shows how it also permeates every nook and cranny of our inner mental and emotional world as well. Although written especially for women, it offers a warm, guiding hand to anyone seeking a healthy relationship to money and everything money touches.

Author of Money and the Meaning of Life

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Emotional Currency Trailer
Press Release
On-Sale Date: April 12, 2011 Emotional Currency
A Woman’s Guide to Building a Healthy Relationship with Money
Kate Levinson, PhD

Cultural taboos often limit our conversations about money to general topics, such as where to find good deals or the high cost of childcare, housing, and gas. The personal details—what we earn, what we save, and what we spend—are rarely discussed and our feelings about money can be equally guarded...
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