Phil WestBy Phil West, WCI Contributor

There are different schools of thought regarding a money personality or a financial personality, but it often boils down to spending vs. saving. Knowing what your tendencies are can help you with your overall financial picture—whether it’s to accentuate or curb your innate tendencies when it comes to money.

In an earlier article we wrote on financial archetypes, we cited Abacus Wealth for coming up with eight different money personality types, and we gave you a quiz to help determine which other money types you’re compatible with.


The Financial Archetypes

Abacus points out in the intro to its quiz:

“Most people have formed both helpful and harmful habits around spending, saving, giving, and investing. Many of us make financial decisions based not on our current financial situation, but on biases and tendencies that were formed many years ago.”

It also points out that there’s “no hierarchy” when it comes to these financial personality types. They’re not necessarily better or worse. They’re just different—though if you’re inclined to spend and you really need to save, that creates an obvious disconnect you’ll need to address.

They boil it down to these eight archetypes; we’ll provide very brief descriptions here from that earlier article:

  • The Saver: Self-sufficiency is a high priority for you. You seek security and sufficiency by accumulating or protecting financial assets. However, you can also be frugal, hoarding, or even obsessive about money.
  • The Pleasure Seeker: You prioritize pleasure and enjoyment in the here and now, which feeds your body and your spirit. While your pitfall is that your desires or impulsiveness can at times get the best of you, you also enjoy life to the fullest.
  • The Star: You lead by example, perhaps by heading a movement or company, being an early adopter or investor, or having an above-average relationship to social media (or other outlets). You may be motivated by the part of you that wants to be loved and accepted, a very natural human need. Or you may be entirely comfortable with yourself but want to influence others to move in a certain direction. Or both.
  • The Idealist: You likely intend to help solve one (or more) of society’s big problems—and you aspire to direct your resources and energy toward those causes.
  • The Empire Builder: You thrive on hard work and innovation to create something with enduring impact. At worst, you can be grandiose, dominating, or insatiable. But you also exhibit a great capacity for hard work, focus, innovation, and decisiveness.
  • The Caretaker: You give and invest money to express compassion and generosity, emotions which were very likely stirred in you by seeing or reading about suffering. This can sometimes lead to enabling behaviors, but your desire to alleviate suffering and help others succeed is admirable.
  • The Innocent: You're optimistic, trusting, and passionate. Inspiration is a key value for you, and your optimism can often be contagious. You're hopeful and adaptable, and you enjoy networks, trusting others with relative ease.
  • The Guardian: Your positive intention is to be careful, alert, and prudent. Safety is your highest priority. Concern for safety is a wonderful expression of your higher wisdom, which always has your and perhaps others' well-being at heart. But when your worry gets the best of you, the anxiety might become intolerable, or you might feel as if catastrophe is just around the corner.

More information here:

Apply Bruce Lee Principles to Your Financial Education


Additional Money Personality Types

If you’re looking for money personality types that are a little less esoteric, CNBC provided a key to the types of spending via psychologist Ken Honda. He listed these seven, which might be a little more direct—again, with some very truncated descriptions:

    • The Compulsive Saver: Saves money and views money as a source of security
    • The Compulsive Spender: Spends for immediate gratification; might feel buyer’s remorse after large purchases
    • The Compulsive Moneymaker: Believes life is better when you earn more
    • The Indifferent-to-Money: Tends to be well off; rarely thinks about money
    • The Saver-Splurger: Is smart with money at times, and then might give into spending impulses
    • The Gambler: A hybrid between Spenders and Moneymakers; plus might take risks with money
    • The Worrier: Constantly worried about losing money; always in preparation mode

More information here:

Behavioral Finance with Morgan Housel


Apply Your Type to Your Advantage

money personality

Figuring out what money personality you have allows you to really examine what your attitudes toward money are and how they impact your spending and saving.

Knowing your financial personality also gives you opportunities to improve your financial situation: You can check your tendencies and emotions against your financial goals and see if they’re at odds with each other. It’s important to have financial goals, but it’s also important to know where the obstacles lie and if any of those obstacles come from you simply being who you are.

If you’re married or in another kind of lifelong partnership arrangement, knowing your partner's money personality is as crucial as knowing your own financial personality. If you have a complementary money personality to the person you’re making financial decisions with, you probably arrive at decisions that you find mutually agreeable and ultimately beneficial. If you don’t have aligned money personality types, you’re possibly in for some friction down the road when it comes to saving and spending. That said, the more aware you are of how you differ, the better equipped you’ll be to have those discussions and arrive at workable compromises.

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