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  • Writer's pictureBolaji Akinola-Alli

The £motional Bank Account

Updated: Apr 2, 2022

The first time I came across the concept of an emotional bank account was through a book you’ve probably heard of: The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Steven R. Covey.

Here’s a snippet of it:

We all know what a financial bank account is. We make deposits into it and build up a reserve from which we can make withdrawals when we need to.
An Emotional Bank Account is a metaphor that describes the amount of trust that’s been built up in a relationship. It’s the feeling of safeness you have with another human being.
If I make deposits into an Emotional Bank Account with you through courtesy, kindness, honesty, and keeping my commitments to you, I build up a reserve. Your trust towards me becomes higher, and I can call upon that trust many times if I need to. I can even make mistakes and that trust level, that emotional reserve, will compensate for it. My communication may not be clear, but you’ll get my meaning anyway. You won’t make me “an offender for a word.” When the trust account is high, communication is easy, instant, and effective.


Brilliant right?!

I became so fascinated by this metaphor that I decided to take it further to include: credit checks, insurance, market and risks.

Exactly what do I mean by these, I’m hoping you’d ask:

1. Credit Checks

In financial terms, credit is your ability to borrow - the willingness of banks and other lenders to extend a loan to you. If you have a strong credit history, that means you have a proven track record of paying bills on time and paying your debts [1].

For an emotional bank account, credit checks are also done, but this time more informally. Remember how before a first date you check someone’s social media pages or ask your mutual friends about that girl or guy before a date? That’s what I call a trust credit check.

Businesses tend to call this a reference.

Checking within your network to see if the person you could potential be doing business with, going out with, or building any sort of relationship is trustworthy.

Trust credit checks are based on reputation.

2. Insurance

Guarding against property loss or damage by making payments in the form of premiums to an insurance company, which pays an agreed-upon sum to the insured in the event of loss [2]. What a mouth full but you probably get the gist.

In emotional terms, this is your support system. People who are there for you during difficult times such as a breakup or death of a loved one. Because you have made so many trust deposits in your support system, they tend to be there for you when things get ‘damaged’ or ‘lost’ in your life.

Applying this metaphor in business could mean training employees to adapt to different skills demands.

Trust insurance is our support system

3. Market

In financial terms, the capital markets is a market for trading long-term debt instruments (those that mature in more than a year). Put simply it’s a place where capital is raised through stocks, bonds derivatives and other investments [3].

Emotionally, a market is where trust, love and care are shared or received in society. This could be physically such as family events, places of worship and local community centres, or online via social media.

A good example of this is the support we are seeing for Ukrainian refugees during the war with Russia. People across the world showing support and spreading love both online and in-person, donating and hosting Ukrainians in their houses.

The trust market is society at large.

4. Risks

Just like with financial dealings, there is always a risk and reward situation

How do I trust this person with my money? What if they aren’t who they say they are? What if she leaves me?

Since we haven’t found a way to predict the future yet, our best bet still remains the trust deposits we make in other people’s lives and our credit checks.

What other emotional metaphors can you think of in a financial context?






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