13 Jul 2015

BBC Launches Interactive Personality Test About Great Britain’s Attitude to Money

Right On The Money

Right On The Money

BBC personality test finds four key attitudes to money in Great Britain: Status spender, Independence seeker, Generous indulger and Secure saver

The BBC today launched an interactive iWonder test to shed light on people’s relationship with money and coincides with the first episode of Right On The Money: Live broadcasting on BBC One. The test is based on a scientific survey of more than 100,000 people, which looked at their attitudes to money and what financial consequences this could have, and it is available at

The data was gathered as part of the Big Money Test, an online survey published by the BBC in 2011 as part of a collaboration between the BBC and the scientific community, BBC Lab UK. This particular survey was created by University College London, Open University and the BBC.

Professor Mark Fenton-O'Creevy (The Open University) and Professor Adrian Furnham (UCL) analysed the results and from these they identified four money attitude categories, and calculated the risks of these money attitude types running into financial trouble. Their scientific findings are the basis of the interactive test.

Sinead Rocks, Head of BBC Learning, said: “Our BBC iWonder content seeks to explore different perspectives on questions sparked by everyday life, through BBC programmes and current events, and money attitude is something that truly affects everyone. We hope this interactive test alongside Right On The Money: Live will start important conversations and provide practical ideas and advice for people to save money.”

Professor Mark Fenton-O'Creevy from The Open University said: “Our research with BBC Lab UK looked at the psychological and emotional relationships over 100,000 people from across the UK have with their money. We found that the kinds of relationships people have with their money are strongly related to the likelihood that they suffered from financial difficulties, ranging from problems like making money stretch to the end of the week or month, to more extreme outcomes such as bankruptcy.

The BBC’s interactive test uses a group of questions about your relationship to money that, together, we found to be good at identifying people likely to have greater levels of financial difficulty. It tells you something about the kinds of financial difficulties experienced by people in our research with a similar profile to you. It should also help you think about the kind of relationship you have with your money and whether this is something you would wish to change.”

The online test places the user in one of four categories, and it also reveals whether they are at higher or lower risk of having money troubles. Appropriate advice and tips are given at the end of completion.

The four attitudes to money
The first eight questions in the interactive test assess which of four attitudes the viewer has towards money.

Status Spender
People in this category see money as a way of boosting their image and identity, and may splash out on designer shoes or the latest mobile
Status spenders often use it as a way to influence others and buy respect, but can be at risk of spending beyond their means to achieve this
Men are more likely to be status spenders than women, however, this attitude has been shown to decline with age

Independence Seeker
People in this category see money as a way of standing on their own two feet. They may, for instance, be the first in their social group to buy a car or a flat
Independence seekers may also use it to help them escape the daily grind, such as with weekends away
Men are more likely to be independence seekers than women. Women in their 30s were least likely to be motivated by this

Generous Indulgers
People in this category see money as a way of showing affection and gaining emotional closeness with others. This may be through buying expensive gifts or organising parties for friends and family
They are a little more prone to money troubles as their need to ‘give’ competes with the need to save
Women are more likely to be generous indulgers than men

Secure Savers
People in this category see money as their security and save it for a rainy day
They are the least likely to run in to money troubles but taken to extremes can miss out on some rich life experiences
Both men and women were more motivated by security later in life

Risk of money troubles

The last two questions in the interactive test look specifically at unhealthy money habits. In the scientific survey people who recognised lots of these behaviours had a higher risk of money troubles.

Lower Risk
People who recognise very few of the unhealthy habits tend to have fewer money problems than most. Unexpected overdrafts were the most common problem, affecting 5% of people in this group.

Moderate Risk
People who recognise some of the unhealthy habits tend to have an average amount of money problems. Unexpected overdrafts and credit rejections were the most common problem, affecting around 15% of people in this group.

Higher Risk
People who recognise many of the unhealthy habits tend to have more money problems than most, such as credit rejections, missed loan repayments, unexpected overdrafts, home or car repossession and occasionally bankruptcy.

Around 56% of the people in this group ran out of money before the end of the week or month, and needed to use their credit card or overdraft to get by.

The analysis from the Big Money Test was first published in Personality and Individual Differences 31st October 2012.

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