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PERSONAL FINANCE
How Your Personality Affects Your Finances
written by Mike Ballew December 13, 2020
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There are two types of people in this world: those who mow their lawn on Saturday morning and those who wait until Sunday night. Which one are you? Like it or not, your personality affects your finances.

This is not a trivial matter. When it comes to success or failure in your personal finances, your personality is the most influential factor. It’s not how much you earn, it’s not how smart you are, it’s not how many hours you work – it's your personality. There is a lot to unpack here, but let's begin by looking at five different personality types as they relate to personal finance.

Savers

No tube of toothpaste sees the inside of a trashcan until a death grip has been placed on it. In the shower, every bottle of shampoo and conditioner is turned upside down. When asked about cable TV shows, they have no idea what you’re talking about. They have never taken an Uber, they steadfastly believe private school is a luxury for rich people, and their cars are so old they belong in a museum.

Every penny that does not absolutely have to be spent goes into the bank. On the rare occasion that they do spend money, even if it's for something they enjoy, they don't really enjoy it because they would have preferred to save the money. They are the savers.

Spenders

"There is only one time and it is right now. Tomorrow never comes. Save for retirement? Only nerds do that. Besides, I'll never live that long."

Their cell phones are always dead, they’ve never made it to a meeting on time, and their email has hundreds of unread messages. They can't afford their home or their car but it's time for another vacation. They routinely take cash advances to make minimum payments on other credit cards. They're on a first name basis with every DoorDash and Uber Eats driver and the only thing in their refrigerator is cold air. They are the spenders.

Shopaholics

Technically a variant of the spender, these folks use shopping to make themselves feel better. They tell themselves they’re just going to the mall to get some exercise. The next thing they know they need help carrying all the bags to the car. 

Long ago they filled their closets to capacity and new arrivals lie atop heaps of clothing and shoes. It's gotten so bad their family is planning an intervention and the producers of Hoarders have them penciled in for an episode. They are the shopaholics.

Givers

Like a moth to a flame, if someone is standing beside a pail ringing a bell, they are putting money in it. They regularly leave tips larger than the bill, they've never passed up a donation jar, and every bum gets a handout. If someone is at a stoplight holding a sign, they can't roll their windows down fast enough. They give and they give and they give till it hurts. They are the givers.

Risk-Takers

Their minds never stop working – every problem is a potential goldmine. They've read countless biographies on successful people like Steve Jobs and John D. Rockefeller. There is no idea they won't consider, no opportunity they let slip. They hold fast to the notion that money is meant to make money, not spend.

While the other kids were reading Mad or Cracked, they had their nose buried in Business Week. They get emotional when they think about spreadsheets, they have entire Tony Robbins seminars committed to memory, and every episode of Shark Tank on DVD. They are the risk-takers.

How Your Personality Affects Your Finances

Of the five different personality types, which do you think is the most likely to succeed? If you said the savers, you are right. Their way of living is like bumper bowling – you can't lose. People who live beneath their means and save the money left over are 100% guaranteed financial success.

Which type has the most potential to become rich? If you said the risk-takers, you are correct. Many people think of movie stars and professional athletes as being rich, but by far the biggest constituent of the wealth class are risk-takers – entrepreneurs and business owners. For those with the right combination of ambition, creativity, and perseverance, it is their destiny.

However, unlike the savers there is no guarantee of success. For every successful risk-taker there is a flop – someone who ends up worse off than when they started. Ambition and hard work do not always equal success. Other factors play a role such as the viability of an idea, timing, and some luck or divine intervention.

Which personality type wins the prize for least likely to succeed? It's a tie between the spenders and the shopaholics. They do not have two nickels to rub together and they never will. What can we say about them? Anything we want, because they're not reading a blog about retirement planning and personal finance.

Then there are the givers. How can you fault such kind-hearted people? It's nice helping others and it feels good doing it. There is nothing wrong with being charitable and the world is a better place for it. However, it can be taken to extremes. Each of us is responsible for our financial future. Givers need to recognize that over-giving can put their financial future at risk.

Closing Thoughts

None of us are purely this or that, we are all unique in our own way. We are forever evolving and changing, and the same applies to our attitude toward finances.

Photo credit: Pixabay Eggstack News will never post an article influenced by an outside company or advertiser. Our mission is to help you overcome uncertainty about retirement planning and inspire confidence in your financial future.
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MIKE BALLEW
Eggstack founder, Financial Planning Association member, engineer, and software developer.