Do you know what your money personality is?
I’m not simply talking about whether you’re a spender or saver. There are nuances between these two types of behaviors and seasons where you might experience each of the money personalities.
For instance, of the five personalities:
- Ostrich ‒ the Avoider
- Crow ‒ the Money Nut
- Peacock ‒ the Status Spender
- Owl ‒ the Super Saver, and
- Butterfly ‒ the Social Spender.
...I'm currently a Social Spender. Whether it’s a friend’s birthday or a family vacation, I enjoy spending money on and with people.
As altruistic as this sounds, it can wreak havoc on a budget. I can justify almost any expense so long as I am doing it "for the greater good."
But I wasn’t always a social spender. My personality has evolved over time and it still oscillates between a few different types.
Learn about the five different types of money personalities and see if you fall into any of these categories.
Ostrich - the Avoider
Before I became a Social Spender, I was the Ostrich.
Whenever the word "budget" or “bills” came up, my head would burrow into the metaphorical sand. I didn’t want to talk about money, think about money, or have anything to do with making a plan for my finances. I didn’t even think about saving or investing.
Then I married a Super Saver and everything changed.
It wasn’t without pain, but I developed some great money-saving habits, ones that I offer to anyone currently in Ostrich territory.
One of the best tools for people who don’t want to think about their finances is to automate savings and investing.
Before you even see the money, separate your savings from your paycheck. If the onus is on you to put money aside each month, then it’s just not going to happen. And if learning how to do your own investing is far from appealing to you, then consider investing with a robo advisor.
The fees are much more competitive than with a big bank, and the "set it and forget it" approach is perfect for this personality type. Of course, the first time you set up your accounts, you will need to put some thought into your financial goals, but it’s a fairly passive form of investing that requires little work on your part.
And who knows? You may get so excited to see your money grow, your personality might just evolve into a Super Saver.
Crow - the Money Nut
This personality type might be a stretch for an Ostrich, but there are people out there who constantly think about money: how to make it, how to save it and how to grow it.
I’m not talking about financial planners who are paid to think about these things…
I’m talking about the person who checks their bank accounts and credit card points numerous times a day. The person who is willing to jump financial institutions for the latest free gadget or 0.5 percent increase in their savings. Or the person who is willing to sacrifice time with their family to earn a few extra bucks as an uber driver for a bunch of college kids on the weekend.
That doesn’t mean there aren’t exceptions. If you think about money all the time because you have none and your family is going hungry, then do all the ubering and pizza delivery you can. These are hard times and hopefully this is a temporary season of life for you.
However, if your emergency fund is fully stacked and your retirement plans are going swimmingly, consider taking up another hobby.
Money is meant to be a tool to empower and provide freedom – not a means to hijack your life.
Peacock - the Status Spender
Perhaps it isn’t money that appeals to you, but the image money can buy.
Since it’s quite obnoxious (and just plain stupid) to walk around waving your cash, you do the next best thing: buy obnoxious material goods to prove just how "successful" you are.
You upgrade your vehicle every year simply because you want the latest model; continually renovate your monstrous home to keep up with the latest trends; and wear brands that scream "luxury" not because you enjoy them, but because everybody else is wearing them.
Basically, you spend your money to keep up with the Joneses and you care so much about what other people think that you’d be willing to go into debt to uphold a certain image.
With that said, buying nice cars and luxury goods doesn’t necessarily make you a Status Spender. It’s what goes through your mind when you acquire these items that does.
When purchasing a new item, think of who you’re buying this item for and whether or not you can truly afford these luxuries.
Owl - the Super Saver
Like my husband, these types of people spend very little money on themselves and tend to save a lot of their disposable income.
This might seem like a good thing, but not if you are a Cautious Super Saver.
The Cautious Super Saver might have a lot of money saved up, but they are so risk averse that they don’t invest any of those savings or do anything to help them grow. The most they might do is put their savings into a low-interest savings account, or worse, keep it under their bed.
Both options are terrible for reaching long-term financial goals as this stashed cash won’t be able to keep up with inflation. Worse yet, they will never reap the benefits of compound interest.
Perhaps there are deep-seated worries from a Super Saver’s past preventing them from investing their money, remembering what their parents said about the "risky stock market," but those issues need to be worked through if these people want to win with money long term.
Or they may need to marry someone who will challenge everything they think about money!
Butterfly - the Social Spender
Today, I am a Social Spender.
I love to put my money towards experiences with my loved ones and find it hard to say "no" to joining vacations and nights out with family and friends. Even if it’s not in the budget, I am more likely to move money around to make it work.
But of course, if my ultimate goal is to enjoy experiences with my loved ones for many years to come (which it is), then I do need to learn to say "no" once in a while so I can reach these goals.
When it comes to gift giving, instead of buying things for my loved ones, I am getting better at giving priceless gifts such as babysitting my friend’s kids, or baking a cake for my nephew’s birthday. (As a parent, having a friend offer to watch my kids so I can write is such a gift!)
Today, I am much more thoughtful in my gift giving and the best ways that I can serve my friends and family requires little spending.
What does this all mean?
How you deal with money is not limited to these personality types. But there is a chance you or someone you love has identified with one of these five personality types at some point in your life.
While everyone’s story is different and continually changing, the key to being in control of your financial goals is to be aware of your money personality and its corresponding habits. Only then can you curb any unhealthy behaviors and nip them in the bud.
At the end of the day, perhaps learning the tools to empower each of these different personality types will create the most well-rounded and thoughtful approaches to saving and spending your money.