I’ve recently been diving deeper into the fascinating yet rarely discussed topic of how our underlying money personalities shape our financial behaviors and attitudes.
Let’s discuss the four main money personality types first identified by preeminent financial psychologist Dr. Brad Klontz.
The first is "money vigilant" - people who tend to be guarded and anxious around finances. They find security in saving and distrust spending or sharing money details openly. Pros include actually being vigilant, which is often financially prudent. But taken too far, vigilance can verge into detrimental miserliness and cynicism.
Next is "money worship" - folks who view money as paramount and equate it with success. On the plus side, this group tends to be ambitious and charitable. But the shadow side manifests in workaholism, overspending, and hoarding.
Third is "money status" - those who see money as a marker of status and self-worth. They revel in accumulating outward symbols of wealth. However, such materialism can fuel dangerous levels of risk-taking and problematic social comparisons.
Finally, there are "money avoidant" types. This group finds money stressful or distasteful to deal with. They shy away from budgeting, planning, and tracking finances. Sadly, avoidance often exacerbates money disorders.
None of these types are inherently better or worse than the next, but being aware of your inclination is essential. For me, I've always been naturally "money vigilant." I have also seen how a "money avoidant" mindset can seriously impede financial health. Over the years of working with clients, I've discovered techniques to gradually help avoidant types become more financially vigilant, like automating transfers to savings accounts and calendarizing regular check-ins to review money matters. Even small, consistent actions like these can slowly shift money behaviors for the better.
Money personalities also impact couple dynamics. Partners may clash if they have opposing tendencies, like one being a spender and the other a saver. I suggest agreeing to schedule money talks instead of reacting in the heat of the moment to ease money tensions.
Again, there are pros and cons to each of these money personalities. The path forward isn't judging yourself or others but identifying your type so you can play to its strengths while tempering its pitfalls. If you're interested to learn more, contact me anytime to chat. This stuff is endlessly fascinating!