Like most faculty, I began my professional life as a monk, cloistered in Iowa, Wisconsin, and eventually Rome, where my order sent me to study philosophy at the Pontifical Gregorian University. Young American monks were pretty wild for the elderly Italians and Germans who ran our motherhouse, so the order abandoned the experiment after a couple of years. When we all decided that I should move on to another career, I chose psychology at the University of Minnesota. To my amazement, the University not only accepted me but gave me money to come. Six years later, the University surprised me again by offering me a tenure-track faculty position. Ten years after that I had become so bored with traditional academic research that I took a sabbatical. I did what any retired monk, retired survey researcher would do: I started a practice in financial planning. It didn’t take long to realize that traditional psychology didn’t offer very much when it came to counseling families and business partners about their finances, so I decided to go back to the University and build a field I called “financial psychology.” To that end, I’m trying to blend humanities, social science, and brain science to explain what money means to different kinds of people at different times in their lives. It’s been twenty years now, and so far not a hint of boredom.
- cross-cultural similarities and differences
- psychological meanings of money and property
- quantitative and qualitative research methodology
- motivation and persuasion