What’s your Moneytude? And where did it come from?

Apr 11

With Tax Day looming, this is always the time of year that I tell myself it’s time to get more motivated to focus on how I’m spending and (importantly) what I’m saving. As a “late thirty-something,” I have also reached the age and personal circumstance where I’m not only planning for my own future, but also looking at the real possibility of helping manage the financial impacts of health challenges my parents are facing.

So here are a few things that I’ve done – in no particular order— in the last few months:

  1. Set monthly budget check-ins with my husband on our shared calendar
  2. Committed to discussing changes to my 401k and other saving goals with our financial advisor
  3. Begun to help  my Dad organize my parents’ financials and estate plans
  4. Failed at curtailing my online shopping habit – ooh, a package from J. Crew has actually just arrived
  5. Sweated about the fact that my husband and I really haven’t stuck to our monthly budget check-ins (see #1 above)

What I haven’t done – or done proactively – is talk with others, my friends, or even family, about my opinions, my choices, and my fears.  While we may have more access to information, software, and financial advice in 2013, talking openly about savings, spending, or investing is not the topic of choice among social and peer groups.   Even writing this blog post makes me a bit uncomfortable as I mention things about our financial advisor, how health issues have so suddenly changed how I approach my family’s financial situation, and about my new clothing purchases. Yes, I know I didn’t need those new spring tops, but at least they were on sale, right?

As a social marketer, I’ve committed much of my professional life to tackling issues around financial planning and security – as they relate to behavior.   So moving forward this year, while I’m going to look for ways to be more active and open about my own behavior regarding money, I’ve also outlined a few specific topic areas that I’ll be taking a deeper dive into in this year on the exCHANGE.

  • Our opinions and behaviors (our Moneytudes) are still widely shaped by those close to us – our family, our upbringing. And while attitudes can differ by generation, recent studies have also shown the influence that parents can have on younger generations.
  • The country’s economic climate can influence attitudes about money, but some experts have commented that it may not translate into behavior change. Anxiety has been higher as a result of the housing and economic crisis, for example, but this has not always resulted in changes in spending and savings.  In contrast, personal life events continue to be seen as major drivers of financial decision making  (e.g. marriage, job change or loss, family growth)
  • What it takes to successfully save for retirement (and the unexpected) is still largely misunderstood by many Americans, and can lead to mistakes, inaction, or being misled by fraudulent entities.
  • Technology, especially online banking and mobile apps have expanded access to financial planning tools and resources – for all ages and income levels.  Websites like Mint.com have become very popular, and even the U.S. Department of Treasury rolled out a contest last summer, called the MyMoneyAppUp Challenge, for the best mobile app ideas to help Americans make smart financial decisions.

These are just a few of the ways in which Americans’ relationship with their finances is evolving.  What do you want to know more about?

What has shaped your attitudes about money, or planning for the future?

What are you personal barriers to paying off debt or saving more?

Who do you turn to for advice? Is that different than who your friends or family seek out?

This entry was posted on Thursday, April 11th, 2013 at 12:41 pm and is filed under Behavior Change, Resources, Social Marketing. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

One Response to “What’s your Moneytude? And where did it come from?”

  1. Megan says:

    I love the term moneytude! I would like to hear more about how others are working to navigate financial decisions. With so much on the daily “to-do” list, financial health often gets placed onto the back burner until a life event forces us to pay attention. Hearing practical tips that we can translate both into our personal lives and our work as social marketers is intriguing!