Do you ever wonder where your money went? Are you hesitant to ask for a raise or a better deal?
If so -- you’re not alone. According to financial educator Sybil Soloman, you display one of six common “Money Habitudes.” This particular Habitude is carefree oriented: money isn’t a priority...you just let life happen.
And having this information might help your financial planner do his or her job better.
A key part of any planner’s job is to help clients articulate, set, and achieve financial goals. But it’s almost impossible to do that without understanding the context and experiences that each client brings to the table.
Much of that context is qualitative. Two clients of the same age and same net worth might have completely different views of money. A planner needs to figure that out before it’s possible to make a proper recommendation.
But talking about money isn’t easy. And part of the challenge for planners is to get clients to open up about a topic they may feel vulnerable discussing.
In 2003, Solomon created the Money Habitudes card game to make that discussion easier. Clients are shown a deck of cards with statements on them. These cards are split into six Habitudes: Status, Security, Spontaneous, Giving, Carefree, and Planning.
A few examples include:
“I only buy what I planned to buy. I will not get extra items or extra features.”
“I like to say ‘yes’ to unexpected chances that sound good to me.”
“I help others even when they do not ask. I give them money or buy things for them.”
There are 54 statement cards, and clients place them into three categories: “That’s Me!” “That’s Not Me!” and Sometimes, it depends…” based on how much the statements resonate with their feelings.
Once a client completes the whole deck, they’re encouraged to focus on the “That’s Me!” category. The “Habitude” with the most cards in the “That’s Me!” pile is considered to be the client’s dominant habitude...though most people clients will have a mix of all six.
How Do I Acquire A Money Habitude?
Like lots of other things, your Money Habitudes are at least partly borne out of your previous life experiences. Maybe your parents had two conflicting ways of thinking about money. Maybe you had a significant life event that changed your money-related feelings. Maybe you grew close to someone with a distinct money style and took on that style yourself.
As Solomon writes: “There is no perfect combination of Habitudes. However, too much of any single Habitude will probably mean there are challenges; missing any Habitude may indicate a need for more balance.”
So What Does The “Carefree” Habitude Mean? Is it Good? Is It Bad?
You might have a dominant “Carefree” Habitude if you resonate with these statements:
“Win a fortune? Sounds good! But I would not want to be responsible for it.”
“I like to keep my options open. I do not want to be tied to a plan.”
“I have to pay late fees because I don’t pay my bills on time.”
“I think most people can manage money better than I can.”
“When I need money, I just ask my friends or family to help me.”
There are advantages and disadvantages to each Habitude, and the “Carefree” Habitude is no exception. Someone with strong “Carefree” qualities might jump on new opportunities, adapt easily to new situations, and be optimistic that things will work out.
That same person, however, also might lose track of money and possessions, miss opportunities by avoiding commitments or missing deadlines, or lack the skills and information to be confident.
If you’re worried that your Carefree orientation plays too big of a role in your money life, Solomon suggests the following tips:
Know the realistic expenses needed to support yourself -- even if you don’t pay them.
Become familiar with the basics. Make a basic budget and track your money.
Determine if you’re being paid fairly at work.
Talk to a professional if you have investments or inherited money. Find out how much money you have and how it’s being manged.
The Bottom Line
No matter what your money Habitude, the most important thing is to recognize the patterns in your behavior and to try to get comfortable talking about them. Solomon developed her game in order to “help people achieve their goals and enable better communication between couples, families, and business partners.”
Money, as we know, can be a major point of stress in romantic relationships. At Capital Asset Management Group, we believe that “the biggest hurdle most couples will face isn’t managing their day-to-day finances. Rather, it’s managing their finances in a way that ensures both parties can achieve their dreams.” You can read more about our take on money and couples here.
If reading about Money Habitudes has inspired you to think more deeply about money and your financial goals, we’d love to talk to you about it. So much of money is emotional, and it can help to have a second set of eyes and ears as you consider where you want to go. A great place to start is by filling out our Goals Driver Questionnaire.
We hope to talk to you soon!