Some people are morning people. Some folks are night owls. And just like there’s more than one way to live the good life, there’s more than one way to write a successful money story. Money Languages helps financial planners identify the strengths of a wider spectrum of the population, recognizing how to best harness the tendencies and rhythms of different personalities.
Created by interdisciplinary researchers and practitioners of consumer science, financial security and marketing, and drawing from the findings of sociology, psychology and statistics, Money Languages describes five financial types – the planner, the worrier, the believer, the seeker and the tracker – and provides quick-sheets of profiles, conversation tips and short, targeted educational videos by type to provide you with the on-demand information you need to make your client meeting a success.
Money Languages allows financial experts to align their recommendations with the client money type to better “speak the client’s language.” Research finds that we are more likely to achieve goals if they are in keeping with our values. A tailored linguistic approach will allow a client to better receive the financial plan, and achieve their goals.
Money Languages aspires to increase the impact and use of financial plans by clients—creating enhanced financial well-being and long term financial success for clients and a larger, more successful and more loyal client base for financial professionals.
At core, we understand that delivery matters: Money Languages offer financial experts a more successful way to deliver recommendations to their clients – using the right language to connect a financial plan with the intrinsic motivations of the individual client.
From our own personal experience and the experiences of our friends and family, we could see there was a problem: More than 80% of people don’t follow the recommendations their financial advisors propose. Presumably the planners were giving good advice and the clients genuinely wanted to secure their financial futures. So what was going on?
We had a suspicion that something was getting “lost in translation.” Why did the success story financial planners were writing only appeal to a small percentage of their clients? Linguistic sociologists study how to deliver bad news in a manner that is likely to be most readily accepted and understood, but few people have studied the successful delivery of good news or forward-looking plans, especially not in the field of finance.
We wondered… How could we help financial planners connect the dots between the plan the financial expert wants to propose and how the person will hear it best?
We brainstormed a long list of questions based on extensive review of literature industry practice and academic literature to understand what drives variation in financial well being and ability. From that we derived hypothesis of the dimensions that could impact it. Went to academic, practitioner and self-improvement literature to identify questions that could identify those dimensions. And in the areas where none could be found, we created questions and tested them with experts.
We then created a large-scale nationally representative sample of more than 1500 people ages 18 and older, with a special focus on married individuals from the same household. Using a combination of factor analysis using principal axis factoring with promax rotation, we identified latent constructs in the data followed by cluster analysis to identify meaningful and homogenous subgroups of respondents.
What emerged were five financial types – the seeker, the tracker, the believer, the worrier and the planner.
Generous, optimistic, spontaneous and willing to experiment in order to find the best way to approach their finances, Seekers understand that saving is important but they are excited by new ideas about spending and saving. In general, the details and minutia around finance don’t interest them.
Careful, organized and systematic about issues surrounding their finances, Trackers are detail-oriented and very aware of their current financial situation. Though they are on top of the location and amounts in their accounts right now, they often struggle to see the larger, long-term financial picture.
Generous, creative and possessing a positive attitude about money, Believers have an optimistic outlook that can be a powerful resource for financial success. Believers love big ideas and exciting opportunities, but generally lack the ability to connect the dots between the small actions today that lead to big rewards tomorrow.
Always on the lookout for potential problems, Worriers feel better when they can anticipate challenges before they materialize. Worriers have a well-honed radar system for possible money problems, although their radar may not have clear financial guideposts that tell them how they’re doing. In some cases this ability limits the enjoyment they get from their money because their radar system is always on.
Confident, balanced and optimistic about financial issues, Planners are clear-eyed and skilled in their approach to money and have good saving habits. They are well positioned to thrive in the current system of financial advising but can benefit from being challenged to dream bigger and recognize opportunities that they may be missing.