PERSONALITY AND MONEY

By Wendy Olson-Brodeur, CFP, CFDS, CSC, Mediator

When it comes to dealing with money why are people so different in the way they look at, treat and use money? I am not trained in physiology but over the years of dealing with people, reading books and attending various courses a few things, I think, are interesting.

4 BASIC TYPES

It was actually many years ago when I attended a Harv Eker’s course, “Millionaire Mind”, when I first heard the concept of money personalities. It made so much sense. He introduced the concept of four types of money personalities; savers, spenders, avoiders and what he called monks. People might be significantly one type but often you can also be a combination.

WHY SHOULD YOU CARE?

If you take the time to understand not only who you are but the people around you, it can be very enlightening. Understanding the different types also helps with dealing with situations and looking for strategies that work for that type. The understanding can shed light on why we do what we do. It can help you prepare for life, the good, the bad and the ugly. You can develop a great financial plan so if/when you go through stressful situations you can be less stressed and can even save your marriage from divorce.

SAVERS

Savers are people who are often analytical and track where every penny goes. They know what’s going on; they usually understand their financial situation in detail. There are positives to this but the down side is they can be seen as frugal because they just don’t want to spend money on anything. Sometimes they don’t have balance in the fun department because they just don’t want to spend. Although you do not need money to have fun, you know what I mean?

SPENDERS

On the polar opposite are the spenders. They take great pleasure in spending money on themselves and others. Giving can even become a big problem. Retail therapy can cause major issues. They are often big credit users and if not kept in check can be a candidate for bankruptcy. They use overdraft with no thought of the cost or implications. They very much live in the present and have little regard to the negative consequences of their over spending.

AVOIDERS

These folks usually operate from a place of fear – the fear of money, finance, details and more. They think if they just don’t look, everything will be OK. This can sometimes work out but too often the avoiding behavior will eventually catch up. They are the type of people who just pile up the statements and avoid looking at them. Education can be key because as we understand, get involved, fear can eventually dissipates.

MONKS

The fourth type was coined “Monk”, as they often lead a simple life and feel that the universe will look after them. They very much believe in karma and the term “what goes around comes around”. When it comes to dealing with money they prefer simple concepts. There is no problem when they do their part, but sometimes they are more likely to not do any planning.

WHAT TYPE ARE YOU?

Do you see yourself in one category? Maybe a combination? Once you think you have identified yourself, ask your spouse, partner, or close friend, who they think you are. Are they the same? What type are they? What type do you think they are? There is no right or wrong type. It just is what it is. Your type can be a result of past, present, family, environment and more. Your type can cause issues, but then there are always strategies to deal with the issues. This makes for interesting conversation. Some may even need professional consultation to address major issues. In the long run, it is worth doing the work.

WHY DOES IT MATTER?

If you can identify your behavior, then dealing with strategies around money can be easier because you understand why you are doing what you are doing. If you are following this series, we introduced getting conscious about where your money is not only coming from but where is it going. What are your needs, goals and wants? Go back now and look at the trend based on what type of money personality you think you are.  If you are in a relationship, how does that compare?

WHAT ARE THE IMPLICATIONS?

The challenges of this can be minor or it can be major. If you are a spender, then that can impact your life in a major way if something significant happens and you do not have money to take care of the situation. If you are a saver it too can be major if it is causing relationship issues. If two spenders are together, yes they are having fun…for the moment, and then what?

STRATEGIES

Understanding who you are can be empowering, because you can now build a financial plan that makes sense to you. If you are a spender then that’s okay, but your plan should be set up to be automatic because we know you will spend whatever is left. You might need to use a cash envelope system instead of using credit or debit for a while. It feels different when you have to use your “money”.

For an avoider, once we understand why we are avoiding, through knowledge this too can change.

For a monk, they do understand that as long as they do their part, then the universe will continue to look after them. The difference is, they have now done their part. The feeling that they have things in place for the present and looked after the future is comforting.

Planning also helps the savers. It helps them set goals to save the money for a specific project and then spend the money on that project when the time comes. They know in advance that the money will be spent and that can help conflicts in relationships with other personality types.

A REAL LIFE EXAMPLE

Real life stories always illustrate the power of the concept. By nature, I am a spender, yes even though I am a financial planner. My spouse is a saver. It comes from our past, our education and more. In our marriage it has been known to cause conflict. I want it now; he never thinks we can afford it. I have wanted a new deck and backyard makeover for a few years. I could have easily put it on our Line of Credit (and I do know I should not). He said it was good enough and we could not afford it. What happens is we sit down each year to discuss our needs, goals and wants. Our budget all has to work out. Yes it has taken longer than I first wanted but I could see that all of our other needs and goals were looked after and yes I even had money to spend! It also helped my spouse as we saved for the project. This year we are finally doing our backyard. We both worked together for a common goal with the sensitivity of both personalities considered. This strategy has also h elped keep our marriage together.

Our financial plan is balanced. We look after our needs first, our goals next and we usually have a bit for our wants. We have protected our assets and income with various insurances so that if some day we are the next statistic, we will have money to deal with the issue, and that will help take off some of the stress, whatever that might be.

WHAT’S YOUR STORY GOING TO BE?

I hear all too often from people; “I wish I would have taken the time”. “I wish I knew that.” “Why didn’t anyone tell me that? “ “Why didn’t I make the time to do a plan?”

Well, it is up to YOU. Make the time. Make the hard choices. Do the work. Get help. Have a Financial Plan.

It is never too late!

About the Author:

Wendy’s mission is to Educate Enrich and Empower the people she serves!As a Certified Financial Planner (CFP) she is trained and educated on all aspects of money.  She also specialises in Financial Divorce (CFDS), sometimes a reality for many.  To learn more about Wendy and her work, visit – www.wealthwellness.ca and www.tfds.ca.

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