Successful people come in a variety of types, but a common denominator in successful people is that they have a good awareness of their own personality with money. Money personalities affect the way we behave when making financial decisions and how we go about spending, saving and investing. It really helps to know our own money traits.
Most behavior changes begin with having self-awareness. This is no different when the behavior change is desired to improve our financial outcomes and progress towards good financial health. I have learned that the happiest and most successful people learn how to balance spending and savings to become financially peaceful. But like many examples in life, finding balance is not always easy.
A few common money personalities are:
- Spenders seek emotional comfort in spending. They find social status to be important and part of their self-worth. They feel they deserve to spend and like the attention it brings them.
- Savers see money as a means to obtain security. They can be a bit too frugal, focusing on the scarcity of money and unable to enjoy financial success other than the satisfaction of savings towards it. They tend to think in terms of interest.
- Avoiders/Shoppers are not comfortable with the subject of money. They often use the act of bargain shopping to avoid the topic of investments and instead focus on attaining bargains. This gives them great satisfaction for having gotten a good deal and fostering the sense of being good with money in spite of having spent it.
- Debtors do not have a sense of budget and oftentimes spend more than they make and miss opportunities to save.
- Investors are the “ideal” state. Investors are aware of money and tend to seek a day when passive investments provide them with “independent wealth.” They have found balance and enjoy how money can provide both security and opportunity for the enjoyment of life.
Having an idea of our personality with money is a good starting point as we seek to find an ideal state where our financial life is balanced.
A spender would be wise to focus on things they will use and need rather than on the things they desire or want. Spenders should set a budget and consider using cash rather than credit.
Savers might seek to live a bit more in moderation and acknowledge the fleeting nature of life and how there can be a lot of positive memories created while spending money. Also, with today’s low interest rates, a saver may find it impossible to attain financial goals with only conservative investments. It is difficult to save your way to retirement.
Avoiders/Shoppers can benefit from learning more about the day-to-day management of their finances and financial plan. Setting priorities first before seeking a deal on a new purchase will help change the state of mind. Shoppers should learn that a sense of satisfaction and happiness can be found in so many other pursuits that do not involve money. Exercise, spending time with friends and family, and self-improvement are all ways to cultivate a sense of purpose and meaning.
Lastly, debtors should re-consider their future and set up a plan. Seeking assistance is imperative if you are on an unsustainable path.
I suggest we all consider what traits influence us and how gaining that awareness can improve our financial outcomes. Knowing where we stand and how to modify behavior is vital to achieving security and attaining life’s goals. We are here to help you.
Rick Manske, CFP®, BFATM
Chief Executive Officer