Most people can’t help but let their emotions affect their financial management decisions, even if it’s subconscious. We learn many of our attitudes about money and finances in our formative years through observing how our parents handle finances.
Part of becoming financially empowered is knowing your financial personality. Your personal financial planning is influenced by your own goals, priorities, and relationship with money. The more you understand about your financial personality, the better you’ll be able to make the best decisions for you!
In This Article
Your Financial Management Personality
The Financial Times identifies six financial personality types based on financial psychology. Let’s look at the different personalities and their approach to personal financial management.
Investment gamers (which The Financial Times refers to as anxious investors) love risk and enjoy trying to make money through crypto, day trading, and other high-risk/high-reward avenues. They tend to be overconfident and run up high charges due to frequent trades. They’re always looking for the next big score.
Investment gamers often have a bias toward acting, which can lead to rash decisions. The fast pace and intermittent rewards of this type of investing can feel similar to gambling, and can even be addictive.
This type of financial personality gets a great deal of satisfaction and fun through investment, which is certainly a positive thing. The key is to manage your risk and make smart decisions. Investment gamers can find balance by carefully budgeting to manage their risk and working with a financial advisor to ensure they’re dividing their funds appropriately between savings, short-term and long-term investments, and spending.
Hoarders are very risk-averse and often stockpile cash rather than take the risk of even conservative investments. They’ll keep money in savings accounts instead of investing in an Individual Retirement Account (IRA) or 401(k). It’s important to have some accessible savings for unexpected situations, but most experts advise investing with excess funds so that your money is working for you.
Hoarders may have grown up in families that suffered financial hardship or had a deep distrust of financial institutions. This often predisposes individuals to need the reassurance of accessible cash that isn’t at risk. For hoarders, experts recommend working with a financial advisor at a hometown bank or credit union that provides peace of mind due to proximity and an individual business relationship. Even just being aware of the tendency is important; if you know you’re predisposed to hoard cash, you can set reasonable goals such as having a few months’ worth of expenses saved up and easily accessible. Then put your funds over and above that goal to work!
Social spenders spend money on themselves or others as a proxy for affection or social standing. For example, they will pick up the bill at a restaurant, enjoying the status and reputation for generosity it gives them. They enjoy spending money visibly in order to gain social capital. They often prioritize social media-friendly purchases or gifts since the end goal is to gain status and popularity.
The desire to be–and appear–generous is not a bad thing. But this personality type often leads with emotion, untethered from a longer-range financial plan. For social spenders, establishing and sticking to a budget is key. If you set aside money for social spending each month and stick to it, you can still have the satisfaction of picking up the check or buying gifts for friends on occasion without derailing your own financial wellbeing.
Very similar to social spenders, big spenders gain self-esteem from shopping or from owning the right things. They are especially susceptible to peer pressure to have the right things for social status, like the newest iPhone or hot pair of shoes. Big spenders are prone to debt problems if they aren’t careful to stay within their means; they’re often able to justify purchases to themselves based on social benefits or self-worth even if it’s outside their means.
The truth is that new clothes or even a new car can give you a boost, but it’s temporary. Ways to help make smart decisions as a big spender include budgeting, tackling any high interest debt, and working with a financial planner, as well as seeking advice before making major purchases. You can even make a strategic plan that accounts for your desire to have the latest and greatest stuff; for example, you can get yourself in a bind if you buy cars and trade them in too often. Leasing may be an option to get a new car on a regular basis.
Financial preppers have their financial management ducks in a row! They use financial apps, track their spending and budget, and make adjustments as necessary. They often have spreadsheets to organize their spreadsheets. This is a good thing within reason, but some financial preppers get obsessive about the subject.
Financial preppers are often people who have a hard time with unpredictability or who substitute tight control of their money for overall control of their life. And that’s OK; it’s certainly better to spend too much time managing your finances than not enough! However, if you find yourself spending more time with your spreadsheets than enjoying the opportunities your financial empowerment offers you, you may want to consider scheduling time every week for financial management and sticking to it so you have time for other pursuits.
An ostrich would rather bury their head in the sand than think about their finances. Some people would rather make no decision than risk making the wrong choice. Others just avoid the whole subject entirely. Some ostriches may just hand their financial control to an adviser or financial manager but never check on them, while others just let bills pile up unopened and do nothing until they have to.
It’s not uncommon to be overwhelmed when it comes to finances. Many ostriches haven’t had the opportunity to gain a strong foundation in personal finance and don’t want to make the wrong choices. But if you’re reading this blog, congratulations, you’re already getting yourself educated in financial matters! Set aside time each week to learn more about personal finance and consider retaining a financial advisor to help you get your finances in order. Once you’ve gotten a good grip on your situation, you’ll find it’s much easier to maintain!
Financial Management And You
These six personalities are broad archetypes, and of course, the examples given are extremes. None of the qualities associated with each type are necessarily bad in moderation. And the reality is, that most people are a mix of types–developing good and bad money habits over complex upbringings and rich lives.
Knowing your financial personality, however, may help you examine your decisions and ensure you’re making the best choices for your situation. And that’s an important part of the path to financial empowerment.