Banks dictate how to manage money: in an accounting way. But individuals orient their choices according to the emotional and social significance they give to money. This sense given to money determines how they deal with it.

1. Money has a social and emotional value

Individuals do not manage money as such, but they manage their lives by trying to reconcile money management with emotional and social balance.

2. Money is managed by the meaning individuals give to it

Moral systems of individuals and their affective relationships constitute a network of constraints that draws a mental map. It guides their choices beyond pure financial calculation and direct flows of money by giving it meaning. It is made of the potentials, assets and obligations of each. I can be overdrawn 3 months in a row - but in no way we’d touch grandma's money.

3. But the bank imposes a management by the figures

Because money management is a subject in itself for the bank, it expects individuals to behave as accountants: establishing budgets, adjusting their expenses to their income every month (if not they will be called to order). From the bank’s point of view, it is completely irrational to leave an account overdrawn while there is money that is set aside.

4. Manage money and manage your life

The bank imposes money management while individuals try to manage their lives. And what if the bank took into account the meaning that individuals give to their money?



Managing money: constraints and risks influencing people’s practices

Banks and institutions share a certain idea of what money is and what people have to do with it. These preconceptions structure their banking products upstream as well as their service offer to individuals. Yet, the relationship of people to money is not obvious and deserves to be investigated. Are the perception of money and its actual use in line with the assumptions of banks? These lessons come from our report on the uses of money.

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Marc-Antoine Morier - Strategy & Anthropology

Graduated from the EHESS, Marc-Antoine shares his expertise in Sociology and Anthropology with companies. He joined unknowns in 2017 to organize and realize the social sciences fieldwork.

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Marc-Antoine Morier

""Social sciences offer methods and tools to understand people. Using them is a good way to understand how and why they do what they do and say what they say.""