What is Money Habitudes?

Money Habitudes is an activity designed to help people have the money talk and understand their underlying financial biases and motivations. It’s available both as a card game and as an online activity.

The whole point is to make money fun so people can relax and engage more quickly. Money Habitudes was written with language that is non-judgmental, lacks jargon, and is free of gender bias. There are no right or wrong responses, so there are no winners or losers. In addition to the game itself, Money Habitudes comes with suggested conversation starters and activities.

At the end of the day, the goal is to get people talking openly about money, to discover their own underlying habits and attitudes about money and gain insights into how these influence financial, relationship, career, and personal decisions.

How does it work?

At the most basic level, Money Habitudes is a card game or an online activity. One is presented with 54 different statements about money (for example: “When I go shopping, I have to buy something” or “I will spend a lot of time and energy to get a better deal”).

You decide whether you agree or disagree with each statement by sorting the cards into three piles:

  1. That’s me
  2. Sometimes, it depends
  3. That’s not me

The pattern of answers reveals each person’s unique Money Habitudes personality profile. From there, Money Habitudes provides advantages and challenges for each of the Habitudes categories, as well as areas for growth, and suggested discussion topics. Money Habitudes helps people not just by providing instant insights about their own money personalities but also by opening up a frank and constructive conversation about money, their beliefs, and how those beliefs affect their lives and their finances.

For more details on exactly how the game is played, check out our Money Habitudes instructions.

What’s a “Habitude”?

A Habitude—a combination of habits and attitudes—describes the ingrained thoughts, feelings and behaviors that influence our decisions and actions. Money Habitudes helps people have the money talk by helping them discover and explore their subconscious motives and biases.

Why are there different versions? How is each one different?

All versions of Money Habitudes have the same six Habitudes and the same format: You’re presented with a series of statements (for example: “When I go shopping, I have to buy something” or “I will spend a lot of time and energy to get a better deal”) and asked to sort them by whether they describe you or not. Your pattern of answers reveals your dominant Money Habitudes tendencies and your combination of habits and attitudes related to money.

Basically there are two versions: Adult and Teen.  The adult version is available in English and Spanish. Other versions have been customized with different graphics or with revisions to make the wording more relevant for a specific population. Examples of customized versions include: the military, at-risk youth (also available with the At-Risk Youth curriculum), young adult, Australian English, Asian English and other languages.

You’ll receive physical playing cards that contain various statements about money, and you’ll sort them into piles as you decide whether or not you agree with them. The decks of cards include instructions for sorting and interpreting your results afterward. Money Habitudes Online is the same game-like format with the same statements for you to evaluate, but you simply click instead of physically sorting cards. When you’re done with the online sorting, your results will be scored automatically and you’ll receive an in-depth report on your Money Habitudes type that can be saved, downloaded, forwarded and accessed later. The online version is a bit faster than using the physical cards because it does the shuffling and sorting for you. The online version also makes it easier to work virtually with clients, work with couples who are living in different places, or assign the activity to groups of students or clients to do on their own. It can be integrated into other online programs to provide the piece that is often missing: the connection between finances, emotions and behaviors.

How much time does it take to play Money Habitudes?

Simply playing the game typically takes 10 to 15 minutes, and interpreting the results generally takes another 15 minutes.The online version goes more quickly, generally less than 10 minutes, because the set up and interpretation is automated.

Of course, receiving your results is only the beginning. Some of the greatest value comes from the financial conversations that happen when you discuss what you’ve learned, and even what you might disagree with. More than anything else, the most important thing is to begin a productive conversation about money. Money Habitudes comes with a list of positive and challenging attributes for each of the Habitudes, along with how others might see you and suggestions for next steps. So, this stage of the activity takes as much or as little time as you want. In some cases, financial educators and other professionals have built entire classes around facilitating this conversation.

How do professionals use Money Habitudes?

While individuals can use Money Habitudes on their own, the program is primarily used by a wide variety of professionals for client work, workshops and group activities, classes, self-assessment, staff training and more.

This includes financial advisors and educators, relationship counselors and facilitators, teachers and youth leaders, therapists, social workers, coaches, and institutions such as companies and universities.

Here are some ways professionals use Money Habitudes:

  • Initiate a meaningful way to talk about money between a professional and his or her clients, without needing to ask probing, personal questions.
  • Gain insight on how to successfully approach a client by identifying triggers that will be relevant or motivating to develop and stick to a financial plan.
  • Make the connection between a client’s emotional relationship with money and how it may be affecting other life issues such as career, relationships, and self-esteem.
  • Icebreaker activity for classes or workshops.
  • Training activity for institutions to help advisors or other consumer-facing professionals build sensitivity by better understanding their own and others’ money personalities.
What options are available for institutional use?

You can purchase Money Habitudes cards in bulk and they can be branded with your logo on the box. These are great for internal use at staff training and workshops, or external use as promotional material, gifts to clients, or as a donation to support non-profit programs in your community. Additional customization is also available.

If you’d prefer to use the online money personality tool, bulk subscriptions are very cost effective and it can be branded and customized to reflect your company or organization.  It can be integrated directly into your benefits or training software to be accessed through your website (an anonymous use is an option) or you can use a code to distribute games to your clients or students.

Note that, in addition to the standard adult version of Money Habitudes, we also offer a version specifically for teens and a version in Spanish. Customized orders can be translated into other languages and graphics and/or text can be revised to be more relevant to specific populations.

Do you offer any training materials?

There’s no formal training or certification required to use Money Habitudes or to guide others through it. The program is very intuitive and adaptable. That said, if you’re a professional planning to use Money Habitudes with clients, we recommend you become familiar with how it works.

To help you take your client work to the next level, we offer a Guide for Professionals and a training DVD to walk you through the game, guide your discussions and explore deeper issues with Money Habitudes. In addition, the Teen program provides educators, youth leaders and counselors five lesson plans which can be used in conjunction with programs related to financial literacy, life skills, relationships and business to help teens develop a healthier relationship with money. More than anything, Money Habitudes makes the money talk smoother and more meaningful.

We also offer in-person training workshops if you’re interested in learning all the ins and outs of Money Habitudes.

Can the cards be reused?

Yes. One person can only use each deck at a time, but the cards are durable and can be used as many times as you wish over time.

Does each person need one deck of Money Habitudes cards to do the activity?

Yes.  To get the most the most accurate information and the most value from the activity, each person needs to sort all of the cards in one box. When a couple is doing the cards, each person should have a deck. This way, each person can sort the cards simultaneously and look at their results at the same time. This provides the easiest and most effective way to begin the money conversation.

Because sorting the Money Habitudes cards is an activity that people do on their own, groups and classes can falter when only part of the group can play at a time and others have to wait. The whole process tends to run more smoothly when everyone can play at the same time and discuss the results as a group.

However, the Guide for Professionals offers suggestions of other activities that can be used with large and small groups when you don’t have enough decks of cards for each participant to have his or her own.

Is Money Habitudes a reliable assessment?

Money Habitudes isn’t intended to serve as a psychological or financial instrument with which to diagnose individuals or to dictate a course of action. Nonetheless, evaluations of Money Habitudes by organizations using the product with diverse groups report that clients overwhelmingly report that their results are accurate and insightful.

Is Money Habitudes based on real research?

The six Money Habitudes categories that we use to describe people’s attitudes and habits around money are based on the most common patterns that were found in research in psychology, finance, addiction and behavioral economics at the time Money Habitudes was developed. Since then, research in the new field of neurofinance has affirmed and reinforced these interpretations.

While the game was being developed, Money Habitudes cards were tested among multiple focus groups including people of different ages, financial means, and education. They were also revised based on feedback from 32 professionals throughout the US, representing a wide range of financial professionals, therapists, human resource staff, and educators. They have been reviewed and used in many different cultures around the globe. Money Habitudes was revised in 2014 based on feedback from Utah State University research into the validity of the statements used in the product and feedback from the field. The latest version was also edited to ensure that the text was at a fifth-grade reading level, to ensure that people of all ages and reading levels could participate.

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