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The Psychology of Money: Easy, Right? Wrong.

April 01, 2019

People need a secure financial future, and pensions are a major touchstone when it comes to planning for the years after retirement.

It seems to be a simple equation: provide people with a secure source of income and they’ll be happier and more productive at work, knowing that most of their worries will be taken care of if they just stick with it.

But what happens if employees really don’t think about pensions in the way that we expect? What if the money they receive when they retire or leave the firm isn’t the incentive or security blanket leaders believe it to be? In a recent large scale study about work and motivation in the United States, results of a poll of currently employed workers show exactly that: that what we know about money may not actually be directly related to decisions about pensions and retirement.

In our new paper on what kinds of money decisions matter in 2019, we look at the right way to structure pensions, and our relationships with employees, that increases employee commitment and motivation.

In this paper, we’ll go deep into understanding just what money means to people and why they want it. We’ll look at the most compelling modern theories about money and motivation, including the expectancy theory of motivation, motivation-hygiene theory, self-determination theory and downward social comparison theory, to dig into why money matters to employees and, even more importantly, why it doesn’t. We’ll explore the connections, and disconnections, between what our team members think and feel about money and the process of engaging them, and rewarding them, in the workplace and what this means for leaders.

At Marris Miller, we know how you can develop monetary intelligence internally and externally so that employees’ real retirement concerns and objectives are addressed and your leadership team can avoid conflict and increase commitment on the job.

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