You’ve probably been taking personality quizzes since you were a teenager. You may have even figured out your Meyers-Briggs personality type (and been creeped out by how eerily accurate it is). But have you considered that you might have a money personality as well?
After all, money distills the essence of our thoughts, hopes, wishes, and dreams down into one tiny, tradeable package. It’s only natural that your attitude towards money falls in specific categories, depending on your own situation.
Knowing your money personality doesn’t mean you need to focus on the weaknesses, however. It gives you a place to focus on, so you can do better. It also means you have specific strengths, too.
4 Money Personalties
With the countless number of financial personalities out there, we decided to focus on four of the most common—spender, saver, maverick, and planner.
Are you curious to learn more about your money personality? Which of these four sounds most similar to you?
Money Personality #1: Spender
It’s tempting to think of a spender as someone who goes shopping wantonly, without regard to the consequences. And that’s true. Some spenders do fit that type.
But ask yourself: do you ever buy things without thinking about whether you have enough money for it? Whether that purchase will derail your savings goals, or throw you off budget? Even if it’s as small a thing as buying lunch out occasionally?
If so, you might be a Spender. Spenders often (but not always) embrace the YOLO lifestyle. They either don’t have a budget, or if they do, they don’t follow it regularly. Spenders often find themselves in debt. But in truth, most people are probably Spenders.
Still, Spenders have strength. They’re driven by rewards. And if you know what those rewards are (Cars? Cupcakes? Vacations? Fashion?), you can harness them for better.
If you’re a spender, the key is to first come up with long-term goals, and then introduce an extra step between the see-buy cycle. If you see an item you want, stop. Take a second to consider it. Think about your long-term goals: will this purchase throw that off? Is it something you need? Would you be able to trade this item in today, for something of better value later?
Try practicing this the next time you’re out shopping. If you see a cute blouse or a fun DVD you’d like, for example, ask yourself: would you trade this thing today for something you want more later on?
Money Personality #2: Saver
Savers, on the other hand, are driven by the opposite. If you’re a saver, you’re more comfortable with a large bank account than a large room full of nice things. You consider yourself frugal, even though others (likely Spenders) might call you a cheapskate.
Your strength is that you can save money. It’s a tough thing for most people to do, after all. While most people don’t have enough savings to cover even a small emergency, you’re probably set for several months (if not more) if anything happens. And that’s a fantastic thing.
At the same time, you might struggle to actually let some of that money go. If you have family, they may resent you for holding them back from things they love to do. You might find it tough to make friends if you’re always obsessing over the cost of things, or if you’re unwilling to go out and socialize at all.
That’s why your best bet is to give yourself permission to spend money every once in a while. You don’t need to loosen the purse strings entirely. But spending money — even beyond what you usually might do — is a great thing too, as long as you make sure you stick to your budget and don’t derail your long-term goals.
Even the most hardcore dieter still needs a good dinner of pizza and beer every so often, after all.
Money Personality #3: Maverick
If you’re a Maverick, you’d be pleased that someone called you one. That’s because the name fits perfectly: you’re bold, you love the chase, and you love being recognized as such. You may gravitate towards entrepreneurial opportunities like founding start-ups, buying real estate, or otherwise building your empire.
Such a daring personality means you’re primed to earn big rewards. You take risks, and risk-takers obtain the biggest riches. That means you and your family could be set up for a prosperous future as well.
But the flipside of risk-taking is that you also stand to lose a lot. It’s not something you might pay much heed to, even though you know you probably should. Mavericks can fly high, but they also occasionally crash and burn. And that’s when you need a good parachute.
If you’re a Maverick, remember to secure your foundation. You need a proper estate plan, a suitable emergency fund, retirement savings, and a Plan B, in case things go totally wrong. It’s easy to get lost in the chase, and these things will serve as your fallback if things do go wrong. Don’t put it off, either: make plans to start putting these things in motion today.
Money Personality #4: Planner
If you’re a planner, you’re definitely in charge of your finances more than any other type.
Your strength is that you’re not drawn to any one extreme. You’ve carefully measured and weighed your long-term and short-term goals. You know precisely what you need to do and how much to spend and save to get there. And you likely have a written plan with all of your details, right down to the T.
You probably have the best long-term chances of financial success than any other person on this list because of your well-laid plans. But still, they’re only that: plans. Things can (and will) go wrong. There will be bumps as you move into the future. When they do, you need to be adaptable.
You need to incorporate unknowns into your plan and keep it flexible. If necessary, you need to scrap your plans entirely and start over with new strategies. And that’s OK: life isn’t always linear, and so you shouldn’t be too bothered much if you have to take a detour.
Truth is, no one is entirely one money personality type or another. Everyone’s a mixture of all of these, and more.
Still, chances are that you identify more with one type than the others. And that’s a great thing! You can use the strengths of your money personality for the better, and even use those strengths to improve your weaknesses when it comes to money.
Finally, take your time. Changing your financial life doesn’t happen overnight. Being self-aware and knowing your money personality is the first step in the process. If you know what you need to do to improve, you can focus on taking steps to get there, like learning to budget or opening (and funding) an investment account.
You can perfect these things as you go. And over time, if you’re diligent and committed despite having setbacks, you’ll be able to look back and realize you’re exactly where you want to be.