During their entire life, people have to deal with different changes such as: paying bills, becoming a homeowner, paying for studies, dealing with a sudden dismissal and raising kids. All these situations consume money, while on the other hand, people start working, have a great opportunity in the professional life, and get promotion. Generally, different age range has structural changes happening.

Banks are accustomed to understanding and enjoying these fragile moments in people’s lives, and have been creating many products to deal with these needs.

The fact of the bad personal finance’s behavior, spending more than needed, useing a lot of banking products or bad investments directly affects satisfaction, resulting in impacts on happiness, sometimes bringing emotions as bad as depression.

Understanding these changes, and sometimes refusing banking offers of loans that make eyes shine, and credit cards with good limits, is not an easy task. People need to deal with their financial behavior of spending, tracking and saving to achieve their goals in life.



Broadly: fifty-four people completed the survey. They had different genders, age ranges and were from different continents. However, for the analysis, it is not required to consider these differences, but enjoy the plurality promoted by the survey. Following the demographics:

Gender Range of age Continents
Screen Shot 2016-06-10 at 10.54.51 AM Screen Shot 2016-06-10 at 11.05.36 AM Screen Shot 2016-06-10 at 11.08.03 AM


The survey was designed to cover satisfaction in different aspects of personal finance, behavior of control/tracking expenses and a cohesion question that checks through Maslow’s pyramid referring to basic needs instead of self-realization and cognitive needs. Following the set of questions:

  1. What is your gender?
  2. What is your age?
  3. On which continent were you born?
  4. How satisfied are you regarding these aspects of your monthly budget:
    1. Amount (How much you receive)
    2. Administration (How you spend monthly)
    3. Dreams & Future (How you save and invest)
    4. Emergency (How you deal with unexpected things)
  5. Do you consistently track your personal finance balance?
  6. (Conditional) If you answered “No”in the previous question: Why you don’t track your expenses?
    1. I can’t see benefits doing that
    2. I don’t need
    3. I always forget
    4. This is a really boring activity
  7. Supposing you have a budget to each category below, which 3 would you like to increase today?
    1. Bills
    2. Food/Supermarket
    3. Transportation
    4. Studies
    5. Cloths
    6. Travel
    7. Social activities/Friends
    8. Fun
    9. Retirement
    10. Other

By correlation of question 4, 5 and 7 above it was possible to establish a relationship between behavior and satisfaction.

To expound the question 7, will basically be considered the interpretation of Maslow’s Pyramid and terms cited in the “Universal Declaration of Human Rights”, to divide to the categories as below:

maslows_hierarchy_of_needsMaslow’s hierarchy of needs – Fig 1 Basic needs: Bills, Food/Supermarket, Cloths, Retirement
Psychological needs: Social Activities/Friends, Transportation
Self-fulfillment: Studies, Travel, Fun, Other

“Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services, and the right to security in the event of unemployment, sickness, disability, widowhood, old age or other lack of livelihood in circumstances beyond his control.”

UN News Center. Rep. UN, n.d. Web. 10 June 2016.


The results prove the hypothesis correct. A hundred percent of people who declared they do not track their expenses show they are dissatisfied in one of the economic aspects (question 4) or show they want to improve basic human needs (question 7), but it was also possible to see other explanations.

 Screen Shot 2016-06-10 at 4.58.43 PM Data shows that most people in this sample track their personal expenses.

Comparing the satisfaction rate between these two categories, it’s clear to see the gap of administration satisfaction: while who track expenses was only 21% dissatisfied, people who don’t track are 63% dissatisfied.

Eighty-nine percent of people who do not track their expenses, choose unless one item from basic needs to improve their budget.  Screen Shot 2016-06-10 at 4.54.30 PM


Seven of Thirty-Three people who track their expenses shows they’re not satisfied with their own control, and probably are doing it wrong.
The table below shows the average by categories:

Amount ADM Dreams Emergency Total
Track 2.82 2.82 2.82 2.96 2.85
Don’t Track 2.94 2.42 2.26 2.47 2.52

A relationship was found around the number of people who do not track expenses, once they are more satisfied about “How much” they receive but less in other categories as adm, investment and dreams.

 Screen Shot 2016-06-10 at 11.23.38 PM To understand the behavior of non tracking, it’s clear the prevalence of “Forget”and “Boring”. Track expenses proves to be an unpleasant activity.


The results support the hypothesis that people who track their expenses are much more satisfied with their financial aspects and tend to invest more in fields that bring self-fulfilment, while crossing data around people who don’t track their expenses it’s possible to see more general dissatisfaction about administration and also suggestions to increase basic needs. The lack of basic needs directly affects the welfare and happiness rate.

Even people who track their expenses, despite having higher rates, also show unhappiness in their personal finance topics, which means that not always the activity of tracking is well done and looking to the future. The suggestion for these situations is based on improving the quality of tracking.

The data also shows that track all expenses is not a pleasant activity, and it should be easier to be accepted easily.

Possible flaws with  the survey are about the distribution in countries, once was not uniform in the continents and also non-well distributed around the ages. The population can also be affected by culture and background.

After more researchers in the future, it will be possible to recognize where are the continents with more  lack of balance tracking, promoting more actions in these areas.
Author: Marcia Stipanich Martins


Universal Declaration of Human Rights – Article 25

UN News Center. Rep. UN, n.d. Web. 10 June 2016.

Maslow’s hierarchy of needs – Fig 1

Maslow’s Pyramids. Digital image. Bing Eeating Break Through. Chelsea O’Brien, n.d. Web. 10 June 2016.

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