One of the best things you can do for yourself is to understand yourself. This advice is often given to those preparing to embark on a personal relationship with someone else.
However, this advice also applies to the way you deal with money. Your relationship with money needs to be divined by who you are, and that means that you need to understand your personal money style.
Beyond Saver vs. Spender
In many cases, we tend to label others – and ourselves – as spenders or savers. However, your personal money style goes beyond that. Scott and Bethany Palmer, authors of First Comes Love, Then Comes Money, identify five money personalities:
- Spender: Likes to spend.
- Saver: Pinches pennies.
- Risk-Taker: Is willing to take a risk if s/he thinks it will pay off big.
- Security-Seeker: Would rather make money moves based on safety.
- Flyer: Doesn’t really care about money (or managing it).
The Palmers believe that you have a primary personality and a secondary personality. I am a spender primarily, but my secondary personality is a security-seeker. My enjoyment of spending is tempered by other considerations - including making sure we have an emergency fund, retirement account and the means to support the lifestyle I enjoy.
However, I think your personal money style goes beyond even those five more nuanced categories. In order to understand your personal money style, you need to know what’s important to you, and what you consider “worth it” when you spend your money.
For example, I prefer experiences over things. I would rather go out to eat at my favorite restaurant than buy a new trinket. I would rather have a 32-inch TV and go on a mini-getaway than purchase a huge 60-inch TV. Understanding this about myself helps me make decisions that I am happier with.
Your personal money style also includes how you feel about the purpose of money. Is money itself an end? Do you define your status and worth by how much money you have amassed? Perhaps you believe that your financial resources should be directed at helping the less fortunate.
I think that it is important to help others when I am in a position to do so, but I also think that money can be a means to an end for personal enjoyment. As long as I have enough to do most of what I want to do, I’m not concerned about how much money others have, and what they do with it.
There is a lot that goes into your personal money style. It can be difficult to categorize your money style, but labels are less important than understanding your personal motivations for the way you spend — or save — your money. Take a look at what motivates you, and how that fits in to your future financial goals and your present spending.
Honestly evaluate how you feel about money, and how you think your financial resources should be used. Don’t answer with what others think is the “right” response. Instead, make and effort to look at what you are doing with your money, and what you would like to do with your money. If you don’t like what you see, you can make changes so that your personal money style matches who you want to be.
Which of the five money personalities would you say you possess?
Photo by Astragony