What is Your Money Personality?
If you were like me 8 years ago when I first heard the term “money personality,” you would be wondering “what in the world are you talking about?”
I love talking about money all day long with my couples in therapy if they let me. In fact, I love talking about money with my spouse, even early on in our relationship. Though, many times, it did not go as well as I planned because my husband is a withdrawer and I am a pursuer when it comes to financial planning (I’ll tell you more on that later). So, if you find yourself and your partner stumbling along on a similar road, you’re not alone. My family has been there.
When you have trouble with money, one common piece of advice is for you to speak to a financial advisor or debt consultant. While this is necessary, I believe that most of the solutions your financial advisor offers you are behaviorally-focused. It’s okay if you’re feeling annoyed by my last statement and challenge me with the question “What’s wrong with a behavioral focus?”
Nothing’s wrong with that really. The only missing piece of the puzzle here is that your financial advisor is not typically trained to address the relationship side of money and its impact on your decision making when it comes to money.
While setting goals to help you change your spending, saving, and investing behaviors are essential, understanding the psychological component of your money habit is as important as its counterpart, if not more.
If you don’t believe me, think about a recent time when you set your financial plan, how long did you follow your plan before your old habits reappeared? Was it because it wasn’t a good plan? I don’t know. Was it because you’re not motivated enough? Maybe. Or was it because you’re just not that good with managing your money? I don’t think so.
My point is that money often goes hand in hand with expectations and meanings. Until you truly understand the value behind what you do, or the value behind your choice, it’s easy for you to lose sight of what exactly you’re in pursuit of. This is the psychological component of your money behavior that I refer to as your money personality.
So, What is Money Personality?
It is your worldview of money, so, think of it like what makes you tick. For example, to make your favorite chocolate chip cookies soft, chewy, and full of flavor, you need to understand all the essential ingredients that come with the recipe.
Same goes for your money. To accomplish your financial goals, you must grasp a full knowledge of your personality. It is a combination of the below characteristics:
1. Your Physical Interaction with Money:
It is your money habit. It is what you do with your money like spending, saving, investing, donating, and etc.
2. Your Emotional Attachment to Money:
It is how you relate to money emotionally. It is about how your money behavior creates a certain feeling for you. For example, giving/receiving money can make many of us feel loved, worthy, and/or “good enough.” For others, working two jobs and saving can make a person feel secure and certain in their relationship or about the future.
3. Your Thought Process associated with Money:
It is our meaning making machine. We like to make meaning out of everything surrounded us. It is how we function. The spending/saving habits and patterns we acquire over time are the result of our personal interpretation of money over the course of life. Many of these meanings were made in childhood when we witnessed how our caregivers dealt with money. Other times, our money behavior is learned through our interactions with our spouses or from significant figures in our life including our teachers, mentors, or coaches. Together, these form what I call a bundle of beliefs. This is the guy that sits behind the steering wheel and affect your ability to achieve your financial goals when left unchecked.
4. Your Social Habits with Money:
It is your money behavior when you’re around others. It looks at how you handle your money when being under pressure of peers or family members. Social characteristic of your money style often explains your level of confidence in dealing with fear of judgement and fear of rejection in a social setting. Ask yourself these questions: “Are you easily swayed by your friends because of the need of fitting in?” Are your social activities with money consistent with how you handle it when you’re alone? Has this social pressure caused you a great deal of financial stress?
Our money personality is a unique blend of our behavioral, emotional, thought-provoking, and social connection with money.
Knowing your money personality can help promote success in your wealth building. When treated with ignorance, it can be a nemesis that fools you into believing in something that is not true for you, such as compulsive spending or “empty buying” to fill the void vs. holding on dearly to your money and forgetting to live and enjoy life in the moment.
I hope you find something useful in today’s blog. Look out for my blog next week about “7 Different Types of Money Personality.” It’ll come with a fun quiz that you can do by yourself or with your spouse. Stay tuned!