Money is a big part of our lives, and how we handle our finances can significantly impact our overall well-being. However, one size does NOT fit all when it comes to managing money. Each person has a unique relationship with money, and their approach to it reflects their money personality. We also want to recognize that there are major, systemic inequities that affect financial wellness as well. That said, understanding your money personality can help you make better financial decisions, improve your financial wellness, and achieve your financial goals. In this article, we’ll explore the different money personalities and how they affect your financial wellness.
What is a Money Personality?
Your money personality is the way you think, feel, and act when it comes to your finances. It influences how you make financial decisions, handle money-related stress, and interact with others about money. Everyone has a money personality, and it’s often shaped by upbringing, culture, and life experiences. There are different types of money personalities, and identifying yours can help you understand your strengths and weaknesses when it comes to money management.
Types of Money Personalities
Below, we’ll explore 8 of the most common money personalities. Keep in mind, you might fit into more than one of these categories. You might also find yourself shifting between personalities based on current life circumstances. That’s all totally normal!
- The Impulsive: This type of personality is characterized by an inability to resist the temptation of immediate rewards. They can be fun and carefree, able to enjoy the moment and take advantage of opportunities. But, they also tend to make quick and emotional decisions when it comes to money, without considering their long-term financial goals.
- The Planner: This personality likes to have everything mapped out. They like to know where they’re going and how they’ll get there, and they (typically) don’t like surprises. They are goal-oriented and careful with their spending and saving habits.
- The Avoider: This type avoids dealing with money matters altogether. They may find it challenging to budget or make financial decisions. This could be because they feel uninformed and overwhelmed by finances. It might also be because they’re optimistic everything will work out so they don’t want to be distracted by money details.
- The Worrier: This personality type is always worried about their finances, even when they are in a good financial position. They tend to be cautious with their spending, and may find it challenging spend money on something ‘fun’ or take advantage of an unexpected opportunity.
- The Dreamer: This type has big financial goals and is often willing to take a few risks to achieve them. They have a vision of their “ideal” financial situation but might struggle with implementing a plan to make it a reality.
- The Risk Taker: This personality enjoys takings risks and has a high tolerance for failure. They have a strong desire to succeed, but they also know that sometimes things don’t work out as planned. Risk takers are willing to take on new challenges, even if they’re not sure what will happen next.
- The Materialist: This personality type focuses on the ‘things’ that make up their life. They tend to splurge on things like vacations, nice cars, or designer items. They often use their money as a way to impress others and may feel pressure to keep up with their peers or societal expectations.
- The Giver: This type is generous with their money and enjoys giving to others. They care about people and want to help them. But, they may prioritize helping others over their own financial goals and may struggle to say ‘no’ to requests for financial assistance.
How Your Money Personality Affects Your Financial Wellness
Your unique combination of strengths, weaknesses, and needs can have a big impact on your success at managing your finances. Understanding your money personality can help you make better financial decisions and improve your financial wellness. Here’s a closer look at how each money personality can affect your financial wellness:
- The Impulsive: Impulsive spending can, of course, lead to enjoyable experiences and purchases. However, the tendency to prioritize immediate wants over future needs makes saving and investing a challenge. This can result in long-term instability. The lack of planning and thought before spending can also leave you in debt, often living paycheck to paycheck.
- The Planner: Planning and budgeting can be valuable tools for achieving your financial goals. However, excessive planning and a fear of taking risks can lead to missed opportunities for financial growth. You may also struggle with spending money on things you need or enjoy, which can lead to feeling deprived or unfulfilled.
- The Avoider: As an avoider, you may struggle to face your financial situation, leading to a lack of knowledge and control over your finances. Avoiding financial responsibilities can lead to missed payments, fees, and a lack of savings. This can, in turn, have a long-term impact on financial stability. You might also have a higher risk of being unprepared for unexpected expenses or emergencies.
- The Worrier: Worrying about finances can be stressful, but it can also lead to financial caution and responsibility. However, excessive worrying can also lead to indecision and inaction, preventing progress towards financial goals. You may miss out on opportunities to enjoy your money or make wise financial decisions due to your negative outlook on finances.
- The Dreamer: Dreaming big can be motivating, but it’s important to create a realistic plan to achieve your financial goals. Being a dreamer without a realistic plan can lead to frustration and disappointment. You may also miss out on opportunities to enjoy your money in the present, which can lead to feeling unfulfilled or unhappy.
- The Risk Taker: Taking risks can lead to financial gains, but it can also lead to significant financial losses. This might lead to higher levels of stress for risk-takers, especially during periods of economic uncertainty. Being a risk-taker without careful consideration and evaluation can also have long-term consequences for your financial stability.
- The Materialist: Treating yourself to things you like and enjoy can be a wonderful practice. Unfortunately, valuing material possessions can lead to overspending and debt, as well as a lack of savings and investments. The focus on material possessions can also lead to a lack of satisfaction and a feeling of having too much clutter.
- The Giver: While giving can be a fulfilling and positive experience, it’s important to prioritize your own financial goals and needs. Being a giver without a plan for managing your own finances can lead to financial instability and stress.
How to Improve Your Financial Wellness Based on Your Money Personality
Regardless of your money personality, there are steps you can take to improve your financial wellness. Here are some tips based on each money personality:
- The Impulsive:
- Make a list of all your financial goals so that you know what money needs to go where.
- Find a way to budget that honors your values and your impulsiveness. Try making one of your categories “FUN money” or “pocket money.”
- Set yourself up for success. Try creating boundaries for yourself when shopping.
- A 24-hour “cool off” period before making any non-essential purchase.
- Maybe limit yourself to 1 item per month in your highest impulse categories (ie. books, shoes, plants).
- Or you could try deleting all high-spend apps off your phone.
- When considering larger purchases, figure out how many hours you’d have to work to pay for that item. Ask yourself, ‘is it worth this much work?’
- Automate your savings! Take a look at what’s left after paying bills every month, and then start small. If possible, save just 1% of your income each month. Then you can gradually increase it over time.
- The Planner:
- Make sure that your financial goals reflect what you truly want and need. Avoid the trap of checking a box just because it’s “expected” of you.
- Try to find a balance between saving and enjoying life. Consider planning for fun by creating a budget category for activities and experiences. Then, commit to using that money monthly!
- Build flexibility into your plans. That way, when something unexpected happens, your plan can accommodate it without breaking down completely!
- Spend less time looking at and managing your money. For example, if you check your bank account 5 times a week, try limiting yourself to 3 checks.
- If over-planning is interfering with growing your wealth, consider consulting an investment professional.
- The Avoider:
- Start small! Get a basic understanding of the true cost of all your essential expenses (utilities, insurance, rent, food, etc.).
- Create a ritual for yourself to make checking on your finances more enjoyable.
- Start with a cozy environment- blanket, candles, comfy chair, favorite drink, etc.
- Then identify 3-5 simple tasks you can complete each time. For example, checking your bank account, transferring $5 to savings, and repeating your favorite money mantra.
- Start with completing the ritual once per month. You can increase the frequency over time.
- If you feel like you need knowledge or skills, try starting with a personal finance class.
- Consider seeking help from a financial coach or a trusted friend to help you create a plan for your finances.
- The Worrier:
- To avoid inaction, start by creating a short-term financial goal. Then, list the specific steps it will take to achieve that goal. Try to take one of those steps at least once per week.
- Work on changing your money mindset. Help yourself shift from away from negativity. You can try these exercises:
- Identify your financial “baggage” – false, often irrational feelings and beliefs that affect your thinking and behaviors. For example, “I need to spend money on certain activities so friends/family won’t know I’m struggling.” Naming and acknowledging these beliefs is an important first step.
- Then, it’s important to “flip the script.” Try to change your financial baggage into a new, positive message. For example, “If I am honest with my friends/family about my money struggles, they will understand and support me. We can find a free activity to enjoy together.”
- Seek support from a therapist, financial coach, or other professional. Gain new perspectives on money and finances from someone you trust. Remember, you’re not alone!
- The Dreamer:
- Focus, first, on turning your dreams into actionable goals. For example, “I want to retire at age 45” is too broad. You need to work backwards until you have something to focus on for the next 6-12 months. So, instead, it might become “I need to save $15,000 over the next 12 months.”
- Now you need to break down that goal into realistic steps. Those steps might be to cancel all subscription services, meal plan every week to limit grocery expenses, and auto-transfer $300 to savings each week.
- Make sure you leave yourself a little money to enjoy right now. Be intentional about budgeting for this.
- Consider seeking help from a financial coach to help you create a realistic plan.
- The Risk Taker:
- Identify your core values. Use those to guide the risks you take! Create a rule for yourself: If an opportunity is not directly aligned with at least 2 of your core values, you pass.
- Budget for your risks! Create an “opportunities” category and consistently set aside money for that purpose. Then, when a high-risk venture presents itself, commit to only using the money you’ve saved up.
- Go back to the basics – make a pro/con list. It’s critical that you carefully evaluate the potential outcomes of your financial decisions.
- We can’t offer investment advice, so we would highly recommend seeking advice from a certified financial advisor. They can help you create a balanced investment strategy.
- The Materialist:
- Make a list! Identify the next 15 expensive things you want to purchase. Commit to only purchasing those things if you can pay for them outright. AKA not make payments or put them on your credit card. Establish a savings plan and start crossing items off your list.
- Create boundaries for yourself to reduce material spending.
- Limit the number of trendy items you purchase per year. Use previous years to gauge a realistic goal. For example, if you bought 20 designer items last year, limit yourself to 10 this year.
- If emotions are a big trigger for you, avoid shopping when you’re angry, tired, stressed, etc.
- Before buying something new, tell yourself you have to sell or donate 3 items you currently own. Bonus points if they are the same type of thing as what you want to buy (ie. shoes).
- Consider prioritizing experiences over possessions. These can be solo experiences or something with a loved one.
- If you’ve built up debt, learn how to pay it off. You can attend a class or work with a financial coach.
- The Giver:
- Take intentional time to identify your needs, wants, and goals. Then focus on taking small steps to start prioritizing you, first.
- Think of “future you” as someone you need to give to and make a plan for that. Get really specific if you need to. Create a whole persona and story for future you. For example, “65 year-old Anita is enjoying retired life. She takes 3 vacations a year and enjoys hobbies like pottery, yoga, and birding. She also loves to enjoy a fine dining experience once per month. She’s especially proud of buying her 3-bedroom, 2-bath dream condo to enjoy retirement years.” The story should then inspire you to create specific goals in order to take care of future you.
- Consider ways that you can give that are not strictly financial. Volunteering your time is a common option!
- Budget for your giving, especially around the holidays! Create a gift list. Each person on that list gets a price limit. Find a way to keep yourself accountable to only spending that $ amount. For example, each person gets an envelope and you set aside cash each month. Commit to only spending what is in each envelope. Don’t take your credit or debit card with you when shopping!
Can my money personality change over time?
Yes, your money personality can change over time based on life experiences, financial situations, and personal growth.
Can I have multiple money personalities?
Yes, it’s possible to have multiple money personalities or to exhibit different traits at different times. It’s important to understand your dominant money personality and how it impacts your financial decisions.
Can my money personality impact my relationships?
Yes, money personalities can impact relationships, especially those involving shared finances. It’s important to understand your partner’s money personality and work together to create a financial plan that honors you both.
Is one money personality better than others?
No, there is no one “best” money personality. Each personality has its own strengths and weaknesses, and it’s important to understand your own personality and tendencies when it comes to money. The key is to use your personality traits to your advantage by creating a financial plan that works for you and aligns with your goals and values. Ultimately, financial success comes from understanding and managing your own money personality, rather than trying to conform to a specific ideal.
As you can see, understanding your money personality is crucial for improving your financial wellness. By identifying your strengths and weaknesses, you can make better financial decisions and achieve your financial goals. Remember, there’s no one-size-fits-all approach to money management, and it’s essential to find a strategy that works for your unique situation. With patience, perseverance, and a willingness to learn, you can achieve financial stability and peace of mind.
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