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Money Habitudes® for Teens

Program Length: 5 Lessons
Age Group: 13-18
Authors: Syble Solomon and Jessica Pool

Understanding money is important for all teens. Even basic financial competence can improve their relationships as well as help them attain goals for lifestyle, education, career and family. But technical knowledge about money isn’t enough.

In real life, it is often hidden attitudes that dictate how people actually spend, save and think about money, regardless of financial skills or economic status. Money Habitudes® for Teens focuses on exploring this “human side of money.”


In 5 lively lessons, Money Habitudes® for Teens explores how people behave around money, and why this matters to teens – especially in their own lives. For example:

  • How money works and affects our lives.
  • Different approaches to handling money – spontaneous, practical, carefree, security, generous, and more.
  • The symbolism of money – as a sign of power, status, love, safety, independence, spontaneity, loyalty and more.
  • The influence of family, media, culture, and life events on habits and attitudes.
  • The advantages and challenges of different approaches to money.

A key goal is helping teens to understand their individual financial patterns. The Money Habitudes® for Teens card game, integrated into the lessons, offers a fun, engaging way to uncover this information. The game also helps build awareness of their values, and reveals new choices in many areas of their lives.

Money Habitudes® for Teens is designed for middle and high school classes, as well as community settings. The course is effective as a stand-alone introduction to money or a companion program for Financial Literacy programs.

Complete and ready to teach, Money Habitudes for Teens® includes a Teachers Guide with five lessons, student workbooks, sturdy re-useable game card sets (one per student), Powerpoints, activity sheets, and posters.

  • Lesson 1: Why Does Money Matter
    • Discover why money matters.
    • List four barriers that keep teens from reaching financial literacy.
  • Lesson 2: Money Habitudes
    • Define a habitude.
    • Name the six sources of messages that influence how your money habitudes develop.
    • Give at least one example of how these messages have influenced the way you manage your money
  • Lesson 3: Money Habitudes Solitaire
    • Identify your own mix of money habitudes and if you have a dominant habitude (four or more cards in one habitude).
    • Determine the messages that influence how you use money.
    • Choose the words from the interpretation card that describe how others see you and how you see yourself.
    • Identify which advantages and challenges best describe you.
  • Lesson 4: Thinking About My Habitudes
    • Examine your own money habitudes.
    • Describe how money habitudes affect out relationships, decision-making, and goals.
  • Lesson 5: Goals and Obstacles
    • Explain how to set a SMART goal.
    • Be able to change a goal to a SMART goal.
    • Be aware of what motivates change and see possibilities of how to change a relationship with money.
    • Develop an action plan that meets your needs and includes steps to avoid or minimize predictable challenges.

Syble Solomon, M.ED

Syble Solomon, M.ED is the creator of the acclaimed Money Habitudes® card games and an international speaker on the psychology of money. Her professional experience includes more than twenty five years as an educator, university instructor, and executive leadership coach. She was named Educator of the Year by the Association for Financial Counseling and Planning Education, and earned the Smart Marriages’ 2009 Impact Award for creating a tool that fosters healthy relationships. Introduced in 2003, Syble developed the original Money Habitudes® self-assessment cards as a simple, non-threatening way for adults to discover their attitudes about money and see how these affect their relationships and life goals. Since then, the cards have been adapted for specialized audiences including teens, young adults and couples. Endorsed by the Institute of Consumer Financial Education and numerous other independent groups, the cards are used by educators and counselors in a wide range of settings worldwide.

Jessica Poole, MS

An award-winning teacher and communication specialist, Jessica Pool, MS, joined The Dibble Institute in 2004, and currently serves as Director of Programs. An expert in teen curricula, Jessica has authored or co-authored several Dibble programs including PREPARE-ENRICH-INSPIRE for Teens (with Amy Olson-Sigg), Money Habitudes® (with Syble Solomon), Why Buy the Cow?, about cohabitation and What’s Real about the myths and facts of marriage. Jessica also served as editor for two of Dibble’s best selling curricula: Relationship Smarts PLUS and Love Notes by Marline Pearson. Among her many other responsibilities, Jessica is a master trainer for the Love U2, Love Notes, and Connections programs, as well as leader of numerous other trainings and seminars on relationship education. Prior to joining Dibble, Jessica taught Family and Consumer Science in Alabama and earned several prestigious awards for her innovative work with pregnant and parenting teens. Jessica holds a BA from the University of Alabama, and Masters of Science in Family Studies from Texas Woman’s University. She lives in Dallas, Texas with her husband and four children.

What Others Have to Say
“As every personal finance teacher knows, the topic of managing money can make some people’s eyes glaze over. They know it is important and necessary, but they would just as soon have a root canal than plan for or follow a budget. Even if you told them that it is possible to like the process of becoming good money managers, they aren’t likely to believe you. But they’re wrong.The surprise is that getting smart about money can be full of fun, self-discovery, and adventure. And that is just what Money Habitudes®: How to be Rich in Love and Money will help you accomplish with and for your students. Following the lessons in your teacher’s guide will soon inspire students to tap into their own money psychology: step-by-step with facts and enjoyable exercises, until—voila! They “get” their strengths and weaknesses and “see” their values, and that’s not all. They re-discover their financial role models, recall what they learned from them, and understand how they formed their “habitudes” in the first place. For many, it just isn’t possible to become emotionally savvy and competent money managers without laying this necessary groundwork.Adventure, of course, always requires curiosity and determination. So to enjoy the process of becoming financially capable, your students will first need to be curious (“What do I need to know and do?”) and determined enough (“Where do I start?”) to become smart about money. If they come into your course without these traits, soon enough they will acquire them. That’s the promise of Money Habitudes® and it delivers! Students learn that knowing how to manage, save, and invest their money is giving themselves a gift of self-efficacy. They experience that inner spark of excitement when they discover, “Yes, I can do this!” and “Yes, I want to do this!” And little else can be more satisfying for your students than that—except, well, managing their finances successfully in a romantic relationship.Anyone who ever worked on a project with a schoolmate, a co-worker, or the boy or girl-next-door, can recall that however boring or difficult the project, just working together on it made the job easier and fun to do. The key in joint money management is always communicating honestly and respectfully. Working together—while establishing valued goals and benchmarks—then practicing to get it right is how mutually satisfying money relationships happen. Again, Money Habitudes® delivers. Exercises prod students to think critically and to develop the relationship skills that can make jointly managed finances enjoyable and rewarding for years to come.This Guide does not promise students a high credit score or perfect relationship, but it will help them lower, or better yet abandon, money stressors that are rooted in childhood and lurk as future anxieties and relationship destroyers. As such, it goes beyond the numbers—a necessary place to build real financial security.”

Lois A. Vitt, Ph.D., Founding Director,Institute for Socio-Financial Studies, Charlottesville, VA

Most financial literacy programs discuss skills such as budgeting, managing credit and debt, and other nuts-and-bolts financial education topics, but don’t cover the emotional and practical issues that cause people to react in ways that appear to be irrational. Research by behavioral economists such as Dan Ariely, Ph.D., at Duke University consistently conclude that financial decisions are often motivated by emotional needs rather than logic. Money Habitudes cards help participants and facilitators uncover whether in-the-moment choices are motivated by emotional needs such as for instant gratification, status, acceptance, security, control, power, success, caring for others or being driven to reach goals. Because the results for each person are self-determined and unique to that individual, those insights are more relevant and powerful.

Money Habitudes Logic Model

Elena Garrison, EdD. (2018) Research on the intersection of emotions and finance by Elena Garrison, EdD.

Embedding Job and Career Advancement Services in Healthy Marriage Programs: Lessons From Two Programs in PACT. Mathematica Policy Research and the Office of Planning, Research & Evaluation at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children & Families. Heather Zaveri and Robin Dion. April 2015.

Financial Coaching Training Curricula: Field Inventory and Summary Brief. Center for Financial Security. J. Michael Collins and Hallie B. Lienhardt. August 2014.

The Financial Education Tool Kit: Helping Teachers Meet State-Mandated Personal Finance Requirements. Journal of Extension. Eileen St. Pierre, Charlotte Richert, Susan Routh, Rachel Lockwood and Mickey Simpson at Oklahoma State University.