Whether you spend more or save more, you’re probably already aware of your tendencies — but you might not have determined your financial personality. The term refers to your attitude toward money management. It’s like a Myers-Briggs test for your spending strategy.
So, where did these financial personality categories come from? Unlike other personality tests, there’s no definitive list of results. HSBC UK, for example, recently created eight different financial personality categories based on survey research. And this Forbes article will help you find even more tests that financial institutions have worked on over the years.
You can find interesting resources all over the web, but to get you started, I’ve based this article on just four different categories determined by your overall goals in life. Whether you appreciate freedom, opportunity, relationships or security, here’s how you can find the strengths in your own financial personality.
1. “The Freedom Finder”
You’ll identify a freedom finder by their relaxed demeanor and spontaneity. They aren’t as concerned as other personality types are with saving. Instead, they like to spend on new experiences in the pursuit of “living life to the fullest.” Whether they’re focusing on a hobby, traveling or going on a new adventure, the future isn’t a concern.
My sister is a definite freedom finder. She loves traveling, venturing out for new restaurant experiences, and buying all the coolest poetry books she can find. While this is all fulfilling, she also struggles to keep enough savings for the times when emergency strikes.
The carpe diem approach to finances has its downsides. If you invest too much of your time and money in fashion, art, trips to the movies, and other forms of recreation, you might be putting your focus on work and future needs on the backburner. That said, freedom finders are excellent at discovering new ways to make money management more convenient. Those who fall in this category are resourceful, and my sister has found a few ways to automate her savings and limit how many decisions she can make on a whim.
Try using a budgeting app or immediately allocating a portion of each paycheck into envelopes — or savings accounts — with designated purposes. You can put money in your travel fund while also tending to your emergency fund. This way, you’re planning for experiences while making sure some money is set aside for later.
2. “The Relationship Protector”
The relationship protector is often family-oriented. They’re careful decision makers who are aware of their responsibilities, and they consider their loved ones a high priority. If they can support them emotionally and financially, it gives them their own sense of achievement at having helped. This personality is admirable, but relationship protectors are sometimes too empathetic. Harmony is awesome, of course. But if there’s potential for confrontation, they’ll often avoid broaching a sensitive subject. It can prove particularly damaging when that conversation includes finances.
My best friend has been dealing with this problem in her relationship. While she budgets carefully, her fiancé grew up in a rougher financial situation and never learned to manage money the same way. She sometimes sacrifices the best budgeting practices to prevent any friction in their new home. She’s happy that her fiancé is in a good place, and doesn’t want to lecture him about finances, even if this leads to more frustration on her end. She, and other relationship protectors, can learn to overcome this with honest communication. Talking about money doesn’t have to be confrontational, and your empathetic nature will help you navigate this conversation. While it’s easy to focus on your loved ones’ needs over your own, remember that caring for your own happiness will only make the relationship stronger.
There are great perks to being a relationship protector, too. You’re far less likely to make spontaneous investments when others depend on you, and your conservative approach to saving prepares you for retirement. If you consider yourself like my friend, you’re one of the more sensible financial personalities that exist.
3. “The Opportunity Seeker”
An opportunity seeker is driven and independent. They’re always looking to expand their options, and every financial decision is carefully calculated to maximize growth. This is the career climber, the person looking to retire by 40, or the small business owner putting everything into taking ownership of their goals. Financially, they’re some of the most future-oriented planners you can find.
I ran into opportunity seekers every semester in my college’s economics department. These were the students staying after class to ask a professor about Bitcoin or giving presentations about the newest investment opportunity. While I was still figuring out my major, they had a 5-step plan to land their dream career.
What an opportunity seeker has to watch out for is their independent streak. While you’re always prepared for the future, you naturally take on a little more risk with business initiatives or investment opportunities. Spending time with a professional to seek a second opinion can help you assess whether the newest opportunity is really the best one for you. I learned a lot just from being in the vicinity of opportunity seekers, and their enthusiasm for financial planning inspired me to branch out from my financial comfort zone. But if you consider yourself an opportunist, remember to rely on other people’s insight, too.
4. “The Security Keeper”
Last but certainly not least, we have the security keeper. If you track every dollar you spend, are a bit of a perfectionist, and always need to know what the plan is, this might just be your financial personality. Security keepers work hard to protect their hard-earned savings and make decisions with the greatest care. This is me. I like to sit down every week and copy all of my spending into my color-coded spreadsheet. I can usually resist the temptation to order takeout when I have pasta in my pantry. And if I do splurge? It’s a decision that takes more than a little contemplation.
While it’s great to feel like I’m on top of my budget, being risk-averse has its downsides. Considering investment options gives me anxiety, and my retirement funds inch along without a solid plan for growth. Unlike the opportunity seeker, a security keeper focuses more on the day-to-day than future financial freedom. If you’re like me, keep doing what you’re doing. Just remember to seek out sound advice to help you step outside of your financial comfort zone. Credit and risk can feel uncomfortable now, but if handled responsibly, can help you take advantage of important opportunities. Your future self may thank you.
Finding Your Strengths
It isn’t always easy. You have to pay your bills, cover groceries, gas and clothing, add to your emergency fund, and still have money left over to enjoy. That said, budgeting doesn’t have to overwhelm you. If you identify your financial personality, you can work toward better balance in your spending and saving.
Again, the terms in this article aren’t the only ones you can find online. But no matter what you identify is, your only limitation is how much you’re willing to adapt your worse habits. You can turn your weaknesses into strengths with a bit of work.
Start with a little self-reflection, and build from there.
Holly Welles believes anyone can learn to make the most of their space. She’s a real estate writer with her own blog, The Estate Update, and a frequent contributor to Homes.com, Porch and other websites. Find more of her tips on Twitter @HollyAWelles.
Image via Unsplash