There are distinct correlations between a person’s financial sense and their personality. It’s not a stretch of the imagination to draw parallels. People can be divided up into spenders or savers. Most of us fall into one or the other category. Sadly, too many people are spenders and live a life of debt-fueled anxiety. Our personalities are inextricably intertwined with our finances. Strategic planners tend to be savers while hedonists tend to be spenders. These distinct characteristics impact our relationships with friends, colleagues, and family members in a big way. Our ‘money personality’ is revealed on a daily basis. For example, we may display our splurge tendencies every weekend, or on vacation. Some of us tend to count the pennies, or we may fail to put away for a rainy day. Our money personality is one of the most complex and intransigent aspects of our persona.
How Do Our Personalities Shape Our Perception of Money?
From an early age, we develop a unique perspective on the world. Children are exposed to their parents’ perceptions of money early in their lives. For the most part, children have absolutely no concept of how difficult or easy it is to acquire money, and associate it with something that is simply there whenever it is needed. However, there are situations where people constantly fight over money. In these situations, children perceive money as a source of power in life. The one who controls the money controls the decision-making processes. This leads to tremendous anxiety whenever money is involved in decision-making. In cases where families are required to cut back on their expenditure, the importance of money comes back with a vengeance. It becomes all the more important to acquire wealth, and personality adjusts to make that a focal point.
How Easy Is It to Manage Money for Spenders and Savers?
Money personalities are shaped at an early age. Once a person starts working it’s already too late to change that way of thinking. In much the same fashion, it is virtually impossible to change the money personality of another person who is used to an alternative way of behaving. Financial recklessness is incompatible with financial responsibility. When a spendthrift and a frugal person come together, problems abound. It is vital to manage the money personality of the couple from the get-go. It is often said that people change, or that they can change if necessary. Is this true with a money personality? The answer, according to psychologists is no. Our personalities are distinct, but our behaviour can change. Regardless, management of money is essential to decision-making. Emotionally-based decisions should be avoided whenever money changes hands. There are ways to safeguard the passage of money from one source to another, and one of those ways is to avoid handling cash. Cash money is a temptation waiting to be squandered.
Another way that money can be safeguarded is the use of debit cards as opposed to credit cards for purchases of everyday items. There is no point racking up debt and then paying interest on that debt if the money is available in a checking account. Savers out there can also make the mistake of putting too much away and not living their lives. Frugality leads to a miserable existence, albeit one with financial security. In order to enjoy life, money needs to be spent, not squandered. If money has been put aside for a vacation, that vacation should be taken at some point. Miserly behaviour has been the downfall of many a marriage, relationship and friendship.
A Lesson Learned from an Unlikely Source
Nobody wants to be with a penny pincher. It’s important to test where we stand on the personality-money spectrum. Everyday folks oftentimes receive the best advice when they least expect it. For example, Nicolau Villa-Lobos, a belligerent poker player has financial advice for the rest of us. According to him, aggression and dominance can push other players to submission. This aggressive personality type is conducive to moneymaking in poker. It says nothing of his propensity to spend more than he brings in. It makes sense that an aggressive personality would always pursue the money, while a passive personality would be accepting of whatever comes his or her way. In this vein, there are price makers (assertive personalities) and price takers (passive personalities). Poker mirrors life in more ways than one!
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