Access Money Habitudes Online:

Looking for Change in All the Right Places: Partnerships that really work!

Proceedings of the Association of Financial Counseling and Planning Education

November 15, 2011

Syble Solomon, M.Ed., President, LifeWise/Money Habitudes
Dena Wise, Ph.D. and Ann A. Berry, Ph.D., The University of Tennessee Extension

Key Words: financial literacy, financial competency, asset building, networking, counseling
Target Audience: Financial educators who are interested in collaborating with non-traditional partners to reach more people.


  1. Explore new opportunities to broaden financial education access and proactively assist others in building future assets.
  2. A brief overview of examples of seven partnerships with non-financial programs.
  3. Open discussion to exchange participants’ ideas and experiences.


In his book “Predictably Irrational,” Dan Ariely, a behavioral economist at Duke University, notes that people tend to perceive themselves as rational beings capable of figuring out anything, desiring to see themselves as perfectly capable. However, despite this perception, individuals often make irrational financial decisions and vehemently defend them, even when faced with conflicting information. Overcoming this self-image and mitigating the intangibles negatively affecting financial decisions presents a challenge.

To address this challenge, “Mind over Money” by Ted and Brad Klontz, psychologists specializing in the psychology of money, suggest that changing irrational financial behaviors involves acknowledging the emotional component and acquiring new skills for future responses. Nevertheless, the emotional charge surrounding money makes people hesitant to engage with the topic.

Encouraging voluntary participation in programs addressing emotional triggers, money management, and communication skills is challenging. A marriage-focused organization identified money as the primary source of relationship conflict, discovering two main reasons for low registration: (1) Financial stability and (2) Unperceived need. Some individuals rationalize non-participation with statements like “We don’t fight about money, so we don’t need to come,” while others find it too embarrassing to participate despite facing significant financial challenges.

What have we learned? Initiating conversations about money requires engaging individuals effectively. How can we achieve this? First, make participation easy, comfortable, and convenient by combining it with existing programs in familiar locations. Second, establish emotional safety by partnering with trusted individuals or programs. Third, to tap into the emotional component, use non-judgmental, fun, and engaging activities and tools, steering away from monotonous presentations and test-like assessments.

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Participants will have the opportunity to share examples of non-traditional partnerships they have established.