How you’re 'self-moneying' and don’t even know it
Kris White - behaviour - 10 Sep 18

Over the past few weeks we’ve discovered something that should give us all a boost of confidence about our potential to manage our money and wellbeing.

We’re way better at ‘self-moneying’ than we realise. Like self-help, self-confidence and self-sabotage, self-moneying is the act of developing personal rules and hacks to improve how you manage your money.

We uncovered this insight as a result of running our Workplace Wealthness program - a series of lunch ‘n learn sessions we’ve rolled out across workplaces in Sydney. Workplace Wealthness is designed to help everyday Australians explore their brains on money. We firmly believe this is the starting point to develop better money behaviours in the long term.

We usually start with a tour through the behavioural psychology (AKA Behavioural Economics), exploring why we do the things we do. Then individually and as a group, we reflect on our money behaviours, and share our failures and wins.

Normally we hear about challenges such as difficulty resisting the impulse to spend in the heat of the moment (hot state) and finding it hard to get inspired to put money away for some abstract distant future (discounting the future). We see post purchase regrets, fear of looking at our finances (Ostrich effect), FOMO, and keeping up with the Jones’.

What we didn’t expect to find - and what gives us a huge degree of encouragement - is that loads of people appear to have intuitively created their own solutions to many of these challenges, and are actively ‘self-moneying’ as a counter behaviour.

Self moneying is available to us all

While self-moneying isn’t being done by everyone, and some of the solutions need a little refining, so far we’ve found a surprising number of people in our sessions are in a much better place than expected. In fact a few were very sophisticated, and had found ways to directly counter a good proportion of the behavioural psychology pitfalls. Best of all, they started sharing these with their colleagues in our lunch n’learns.

Here is a sample of what we found some people doing:

  • If they were tempted by a big purchase, putting it into a note in their phone and, if the urgency to buy it had gone a week later, deleting it from the money ‘to do’ list. This is great for managing our hot states.
  • Setting up seperate accounts with capped budgets for things like entertainment, food and travel (this is called mental accounting)
  • Scheduling a weekly ‘date’ to check on joint finances with their partner
  • Avoiding fashion stores altogether to limit impulse purchases

The power of peer to peer learning

There’s one last important observation to make. Once people started sharing their challenges and self-moneying solutions with the wider group, others quickly jumped in with their similar experiences and money hacks. Very little discomfort, no judgment or blame, and a whole lot of fun and goodwill summed up the group mood. There was a collective desire to support each other. At Zuper we had successfully wedged open the money door, before it was swung open by the group, unaided.

It’s a common assumption amongst those dealing with financial literacy and money management that we are unaware of our financial behavioural vulnerabilities (often called biases) and that we are subject to deep taboos around discussing them.

Whilst this may be true to an extent, there is something in the way we are approaching it at Zuper that seems to be unlocking this. We believe it’s because we start by discussing being human first, before we talk about anything financial. Exploring the common behavioural psychology influencing us all creates a safe place to build on our shared experiences and focus on the behaviours that help.

Our future lunch ‘n learns are going to build on these collective self-moneying solutions and we’ll collect and refine the community of ‘hacks’ which we’ll share back here regularly.

If you’d like us to visit your team, head to our Workplace Wealthness page and book in for session.

This article is general in nature, and has been prepared without taking into account your objectives, financial situation or needs. You should consider if the information is appropriate and whether you need to speak to an accredited professional.

Kris White

Kris White is the Chief Behavioural Officer at Zuper. Using behavioural science and evolutionary psychology his goal is to help the Zuper community increase their wealth and wellbeing.