monday morning survey: money ethic scale

Financial difficulties have long been identified as one of the leading causes for divorce in America. A lot of couples never talk about money before they get married. Later, all hell brakes lose when they find out their partners' real salary or how much debt they've suddenly acquired because of their mates' bad spending habits. Before tying the knot, you should openly discuss any debts you both have, the values each of you place on money, your spending and saving habits, your salaries, and your plans for sharing money. Dr. Thomas Li-Ping Tang (1995) created the Money Ethic Scale to help people identify their attitudes towards money. YOU can find out YOUR money ethic by taking the survey below (of course, you should have your partner take it too).

Money Ethic Scale

Get out a piece of paper. Number that piece of paper from 1 to 30. Rate each of the following statements based on the degree to which you agree or disagree with it, using the following scale:

1 = strongly disagree
2 = disagree
3 = neutral
4 = agree
5 = strongly agree

1. Money is an important factor in the lives of all of us.
2. Money is good.
3. Money is important.
4. I value money very highly.
5. Money is valuable.
6. Money does not grow on trees.
7. Money can buy you luxuries.
8. Money is attractive.
9. I think that it is very important to save money.
10. Money is the root of all evil.
11. Money is evil.
12. Money spent is money lost (wasted).
13. Money is shameful.
14. Money is useless.
15. A penny saved is a penny earned.
16. Money represents one's achievement.
17. Money is the most important thing (goal) in my life.
18. Money is a symbol of success.
19. Money cn buy everything.
20. Money makes people respect you in the community.
21. Money is honorable.
22. Money will help you express your competence and abilities.
23. Money can bring you many friends.
24. I use my money very carefully.
25. I budget my money very well.
26. I pay my bills immediately in order to avoid interest or penalties.
27. Money gives you autonomy (independence) and freedom.
28. Money in the bank is a sign of security.
29. Money can give you the opportunity to be what you want to be.
30. Money means power.

Now, add up your scores for each group of numbers below. Higher scores indicate higher levels of that money ethic.

Money is Good- Add numbers for items #1-9
Money is Evil- Add number for items #10-15
Achievement- Add numbers for items #16-19
Money Brings Respect- Add numbers for items #20-23
Budget- Add numbers for items #24-26
Money Brings Freedom/Power- Add numbers for items #27-30

Your attitudes towards money lie in the dimension(s) where you have the highest scores.

When it comes to this scale, your relationship is better off if you and your partner share similar ideas about money. Usually, you will have less financial trouble and you will experience less financial arguing if this is true. However, there are definitely similar combinations that do not work out so well. For instance, couples who both score high on the Achievement dimension and the Money Brings Respect dimension with low scores on the Budget dimension are usually going to have financial problems, and therefore, will also argue about it frequently. Anytime that one or both people in a relationship score very high on the Achievement and Money Brings Respect dimensions, there are bound to be problems. It's very important to have at least one person who scores moderately high on the Budget dimension.

If you and your partner have very different scores, don't fret. All is not lost. Tang's (1995) research has shown that most people change their views on money as they get older. Additionally, remember that good relationships and great marriages are based on your ability to compromise and problem-solve. If you and your partner frequently argue about money, taking this survey might help you begin to understand why you have different views. Talk about your differences and maybe you can come to a few compromises about how money should be valued.

  • Janda, L. (1996). Love and sex tests: 24 revealing love, sex, ad relationship tests developed by psychologists. Holbrook, MA: Adams Media Corporation.
  • Tang, T. L-P. (1995). The development of a short money ethic scale: Attitudes toward money and pay satisfaction revisited. Personality and Individual Differences, 19, 809-816.

Click HERE to take another one of my "monday morning surveys."

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