Do you save or invest a set amount of money each month? Are you hesitant to buy things unless you can pay them off right away?
If so -- you’re not alone. According to financial educator Sybil Soloman, you display one of six common “Money Habitudes.” This particular Habitude is security focused: money helps you feel safe, secure, and in control.
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 know the difference between what I want and what I need.”
“I think things will work out, so I don’t worry about money.”
“It would feel strange to have more money or nicer things than my friends or family.”
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 specifc Habitude will probably mean there are challenges; missing any Habitude may indicate a need for more balance.”
So What Does The “Security” Habitude Mean? Is it Good? Is It Bad?
You might have a dominant “Security” Habitude if you resonate with these statements:
“I like to keep my money where I can get to it quickly.”
“Even if I can afford things that will make my life easier, I will not buy them.”
“I will buy things that cost less instead of getting what I really want.”
“I will spend a lot of time and energy to get a better deal.”
“I like to get separate bills when I eat out with others. I only want to pay my fair share.”
There are advantages and disadvantages to each Habitude, and the “Security” Habitude is no exception. Someone with strong “Security” qualities might have dedicated financial goals, take care of possessions so they last, and save now to have more choices later.
That same person, however, also might sacrifice enjoyable activities or relationships because of cost, save so much that there’s no money for today’s wants and needs, or avoid risk and dampen career or investment growth.
If you’re worried that Security plays too big of a role in your money life, Solomon suggests the following tips:
Plan to spend money on a gift or activity for yourself each month.
Spend less time checking and managing your money.
Include fun, gits, and spontaneous opportunities in your budget.
Talk to a professional you can trust to focus on planning for your life...not just saving every penny.
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!