Talk About Money: 6 Money Languages

Chapman's 5 Love LanguagesThere are a variety of personality tests and inventories that are used in marriage and relationship education. A popular one is Gary Chapman’s 5 Love Languages. As the book explains:

As people come in all varieties, shapes, and sizes, so do their choices of personal expressions of love. But more often than not, the giver and the receiver express love in two different ways. This can lead to misunderstanding, quarrels, and even divorce.

The five basic Love Languages are:

  1. Quality time
  2. Words of affirmation
  3. Gifts
  4. Acts of service
  5. Physical touch

Chapman’s Love Languages methodology is partly a personality test. The Love Languages self-assessment process determines which of the Love Languages resonate with you. From the questionnaire, you may discover that you prefer to show love with gifts while you like to be shown you’re loved through acts of service. On the other hand, your spouse or partner may be different. The personality quiz may reveal that he or she shows love through physical touch but wants to be shown love through words of affirmation.

Why is Love Languages so popular?

  1. It’s easy to understand. There are only five Love Languages. And each personality category is, itself, easy to understand.
  2. The self-assessment is a key to understanding one’s self. Many people never think about how they express love or how they want to be shown they are loved. It’s easy to think that “love is love” and there’s only one flavor.
  3. The personality test also helps one better understand one’s spouse, partner or fiancé. By understanding yourself and your partner, it is easier to respect and sympathize with him or her.
  4. The methodology and assessment questions are non-threatening and non-judgmental. There is no right or wrong. It shows that differences are natural and ok.
  5. It serves as a great conversation starter for a few reasons. First, because most people never consider their “love personality type” it gives people new perspective on themselves, their partner, and how they interact. Second, the nonjudgmental approach makes it easier to discuss difficult topics. Third, it helps put hard feelings and misunderstandings in context so they’re seen more objectively.
  6. The Love Languages methodology is broadly applicable. While there are slightly different versions of the assessment, the basic process and interpretation remains the same. It works for all couples: dating, engaged, newlywed and even those married a long time. It also applies to different ages, to heterosexual and homosexual couples and to people of different cultural backgrounds.

Money Habitudes is very similar to Love Languages – and the two programs are often used together in marriage and relationship classes and couples counseling. You can think of Money Habitudes as “The Six Languages of Money.”

Money Habitudes and Love Languages similarities: Conversation Starters & Personality Tests

As above, both share the following:

  1. Easy to understand. Although we’ve done all-day trainings on the cards, there’s a 100+ page Guide for Professionals, dozens of variations on how to use the cards and they’re used by PhD therapists in a professional setting, the Money Habitudes cards were designed to be very simple. They can be done by a couple at home, on their own. One can understand the basic operation and interpretation in a few minutes and then run a successful counseling session or workshop using the cards. The cards make it easy to talk about money.
  2. Better understand yourself. With spending and saving, people often see the money come in and go out, but rarely if ever think about why they see and handle money the way they do. Understanding that one spends money to feel secure and in control versus spending money to look good and be accepted allows people to understand bigger patterns in their financial lives and, where necessary, make change. It also lets them talk about money in an easier way.
  3. Better understand your partner. This could be dating, engaged, newlywed or long-time married. (With money, it could also be a family member or business partner.) Often we misinterpret how the people around us act and why they do what they do. It’s not uncommon for a couple to use the Money Habitudes cards and to find clarity, sympathy, respect and even love as a result of better understanding how the other person sees money and spends and saves. Also, where couples differ in their money personality, they frequently see how they complement each other in positive ways. This is an important step when it comes to communication skills for couples. The lack of understanding and respect is what can lead to arguments or divorce.
  4. Like the Love Languages personality quiz, Money Habitudes cards are non-threatening. The tactile, hands-on card game format feels like a game and not a test. It’s active, engaging and entertaining. The statements themselves are simple lifestyle questions (“I go shopping when I’m stressed,” etc.) versus computing compound interest or the like. And there is no right or wrong answer to the statements. Like Love Languages, Money Habitudes shows couples that people have natural money personality differences and one person isn’t right while the other is wrong.
  5. Money Habitudes is a great conversation starter. This is true for couples doing the activity at home, but it’s also trusted by professionals such as marriage therapists, career counselors and financial planners. The ice breaker appeal comes from the fact that each statement card (there are 54) serves as its own conversation starter. The full card sort and interpretation serves as a larger, more in-depth financial conversation starter.
  6. As with the 5 Love Languages, Money Habitudes is used across a wide spectrum. It’s used with dating and engaged couples, newlyweds and with married couples. It’s used with couples of varying sexual orientation. And it’s used with different ages (although there are different versions by age). It’s used as a standalone lesson or a financial ice breaker in financial or relationship classes and counseling.

How are Money Habitudes and Love Languages different?

  1. On a very simple level, there are six Money Habitudes categories (or “money languages” so to speak) versus five Love languages. The similar number of personality types helps people understand that there is more than just one or two types of people. (People can’t be classified by just the “spender vs. saver” rubric.) Neither system uses so many types and subtypes so as to result in a confusing information overload.
  2. While one will usually have a dominant money type with Money Habitudes, our system allows people to see what other Habitudes play into their complete money personality.
  3. With Love Languages, there is a greater stress on changing your behavior for your partner than with Money Habitudes. The interaction with Money Habitudes is based more on a person asking, “Do I have the right balance in my life?” relative to his or her money personality type. In many cases, this inspires people to change or to better recognize how to interact or manage money with a partner.
  4. Obviously, the way one uses Money Habitudes is quite different from Love Languages. Money Habitudes is a hands-on card game format versus a book, worksheet or online assessment (although look for a fun, tactile online version soon). The card game format reaches different learning styles and feels like a social game.