Managing your finances effectively goes beyond simply crunching numbers. Our financial decisions are often influenced by a complex interplay of psychological factors, financial literacy, and social circumstances. Understanding these influences is crucial for achieving financial wellbeing and navigating the ever-evolving landscape of personal finance.

JA Malta - Money Management - Financial Literacy - Financial Behaviour

Traditionally, financial decision-making was viewed through the lens of rational choice theory, assuming individuals act with perfect rationality to maximise their financial gain (Fama, 1970). The emergence of behavioural finance challenged this notion, highlighting the significant influence of psychological biases and emotions on financial decisions (Shefrin, 2002).

One key concept in behavioural finance is loss aversion, which describes the tendency to feel losses more intensely than gains of equivalent value (Kahneman & Tversky, 1979). This can lead to risk-averse behaviour, stopping people from taking advantage of potentially lucrative investment opportunities due to the fear of potential losses. Conversely, anchoring bias can result in relying too heavily on initial pieces of information, potentially leading to suboptimal financial decisions (Tversky & Kahneman, 1974).

Furthermore, financial literacy plays a critical role in shaping financial behaviour. Studies have shown that individuals with a strong understanding of financial concepts, such as budgeting, saving, and investing, are better equipped to make informed decisions and achieve their financial goals (Lusardi & Mitchell, 2014). Conversely, limited financial literacy can lead to impulsive spending, excessive debt accumulation, and difficulty in planning for the future.

Beyond individual factors, socioeconomic factors also significantly influence financial behaviour. Income level, access to financial services, and cultural norms can all play a role in shaping financial choices and opportunities (Collins et al., 2016). For example, populations with lower incomes may face greater challenges in saving due to limited financial resources, while cultural norms around spending and saving can vary significantly across different communities.

In acknowledging the psychological and social factors influencing financial behaviour, we can make informed and responsible financial decisions. Here are some actionable steps to positively impact your financial behaviour:

  • Increase financial literacy: Educate yourself on personal finance concepts through various resources, including books, online courses, and workshops.
  • Develop a budget: Track your income and expenditure to gain insights into your spending habits and identify areas for improvement.
  • Set financial goals: Define your short- and long-term financial goals, such as saving for a down payment on a house or retirement, to guide your financial decisions.
  • Automate savings: Set up automatic transfers from your current account to your savings account to ensure consistent saving.
  • Seek professional guidance: Consider consulting a financial adviser for personalised advice and guidance tailored to your specific financial situation.


By understanding the “why” behind our financial behaviour, we can make informed choices, overcome biases, and ultimately pave the way for a secure and prosperous future. If you would like to improve your financial behaviour, JA Malta holds free Money Management workshops, which will help get your relationship with money moving in the right direction.