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Emotional Bank AccountIf I were to ask you how you are going about investing in your future, you would probably begin telling me about your savings and checking accounts, retirement funds, stock holdings, 401Ks, 403Bs, or IRAs. You may share about collectibles, antiques or property investments that you possess. Although these may carry you through those years between retirement and death, the future goes far beyond that. For many people, all the money and other wealth they accumulate might last through their days here on earth, only to be gobbled up by funeral costs and lawyer’s fees at their passing. For those people who manage to have money left over that can be passed on as an inheritance, even that will be squandered within the next couple generations by those they leave behind. It does not take an expert to know that money is “here today and gone tomorrow.” It does not last. It is fleeting…perhaps now more than ever before.
When I talk about investing in your future, I am referring to how your legacy will be carried on long after you have breathed your last breath. This is the only lasting way to invest in your future. It has been said that there are only four things eternal. They are God, His angels, His Word, and people. If we are going to leave a legacy behind that far outlasts us and that goes beyond the epitaph engraved on our tombstones, it will only happen as we invest in the lives of other people. This needs to be done, not with money, but life on life. We need to invest in the emotional bank accounts (EBAs) of other people.
Too often, people go through life using people. They only seek out relationships for what they can gain through them. Once the relationship has met their need, they discard it like a worn-out accessory. We have all known an individual that has acted the role of a leech. They only come around when they need some money or something else that we have. Well, many people act as relationship leeches, sucking the relationship for what they can gain from it and only seeking out the relationship when it benefits them. These relationships do not last and only sour future relationships with other people who share common friendships.
If we are going to invest properly in our future through healthy relationships, it is going to require us to treat people as we treat our bank accounts. Now, before you get upset with me, let me explain what I mean. Regarding cash, Money used is money that’s gone whereas money invested is money that lives on. We must not use people but invest in them so we may “live on”. There is a simple principle to maintaining a healthy bank account. The quality of your deposits must exceed the quality of your withdrawals. Notice how I did not say, your deposits must exceed your withdrawals. To have that mentality would be like someone saying, “What do you mean my account is overdrawn? I still have checks left!” It is not the number of deposits we make into people, but the value of those deposits that determines future withdrawal possibilities.
We must pour more value into people than we are taking from them if our relationships are going to be healthy and provide a lasting return after we are gone. This will keep the relationship an asset and not a liability. In this lies a huge issue. Unlike a bank account, WE do not determine the value of the deposit WE are making, but rather the other person places its value. Thereby, we never truly know how much we have invested in the person’s emotional bank account. Likewise, when it comes time to make an emotional withdrawal, the other person attributes the value on the withdrawal, not us. Therefore, we never truly know how much is in our “account” with the person.
So, how do we solve this dilemma and make sure that our EBA is in good standing? Just make every effort to make as many deposits as frequently as possible and as few withdrawals as are absolutely necessary. It is the same of any investment portfolio one tries to grow.
 Below, I have included a small list of some of the common withdrawals and deposits we make in people’s emotional bank accounts.
Withdrawals

Deposits

Demands on person’s time

Recognition/ Appreciation

Unmet expectations/ Broken promises

Encouragement/ Affirmation

Judging them

Comfort/ Console

Embarrassing them

Be helpful

Lack of communication

Understanding

Poor listening/ Ignoring

Laugh with/ Humor

Belittling/ Back-biting

Physical affection (non-sexual)

Comparing to others

Gift-giving

Lack of appreciation/ Take for granted

Ask advice of

Bringing up past issues

Fun and relaxing times
The need to invest in a person’s EBA is crucial for their health and your own. It applies on all levels of relationships, whether at home, work, church, or in the community. Just think about what a better (world, church, workplace, home, marriage) would exist if we all spent more time investing in one another rather than taking from each other. How well do you think you are doing in the emotional investment arena with other people? Where is your greatest strength and you primary area for improvement? We would love to hear from you so we can encourage you in your pursuit.

About Tim

Timothy Golden is a husband and father of 3, pastor, teacher, coach and speaker. His passion is helping people grow deeper in their relationship with God and to overcome obstacles that keep them from pursuing their God-given dreams.