Discover Your Money Personality

Did you know that how you manage your money, just like other behaviors, is strongly influenced by your personality? We all handle money differently, and sometimes our choices seem to defy logic. So taking some time to think about and understand your “money personality” is an important step on the road to becoming financially capable and reaching your financial goals. If you’re a college student, understanding your money personality will help you make better day-to-day spending decisions, form healthier financial habits and reinforce the importance of saving for emergencies and other life goals such as buying a car or home.

Many of us learn about money management at home, but that doesn’t explain why there are spenders and savers in the same families; or why some people who grow up in wealthy families end up broke, and some less fortunate end up very wealthy. Part of the difference may be in the way we are wired. Researchers in the growing field of neuroreconomics are beginning to “crack the code” of how brain chemistry affects how you interact with money.

To help people learn more about their relationship with money, psychologists and behavioral economists have also developed a number of “money personality” models ranging from more simplistic spender/saver categories to more complex and distinct types. The type of personality you may fall into is based on responses to questions and/or situations involving money. In a recent study of 65,000 college students sponsored by Higher One called Money Matters on Campus, for example, students were categorized into one of seven categories such as Cautious Financial Attitudes (in which students strongly agreed with statements such as “you should always save before making a purchase”) or Spending Compulsion (“enjoyed spending money on things that were not practical”).

Determining your money personality requires you to be very open and honest with yourself about how you actually feel, act and behave when it comes to money. If you are interested, try taking a quiz at themint.org or moneyharmony.com. Once you have a better idea of where you fall, you can develop some strategies to understand your money triggers and change your ways.

If you discover that you tend to be a compulsive spender, for example, try asking yourself these questions before you make a purchase:

  1. Do I really need this item?
  2. If I don’t need it, why do I really want it?
  3. Am I sure that I’ll use it? Wear it?
  4. If I buy it now, will I have enough money for other things I might need later on—this week, this month, next month?
  5. Will this purchase take money away from paying my other bills or any debts I owe?
  6. Is there any risk in delaying this purchase in order to think about it longer?
  7. What are the chances this item might go on sale soon?
  8. Could I find this item somewhere else cheaper?
  9. Could I find an item like this, but without a brand name to save money?

Another great strategy is to wait at least 24 hours before making a purchase of more than $50. You would be amazed how much your perspective changes by waiting just a day.

If you tend to be more of a “deer in the headlights” type or an “avoider,” make a pact to balance your checkbook and check your banking transactions more often by setting aside 15 minutes each week to take stock of your money. Learn how to set up a budget and set up automatic reminders for your regular monthly bills.

What to learn more about the psychology of money and how to develop more positive financial habits and behaviors? CollegeInColorado.org has great, interactive lessons and it’s free to use!


StartwithChange.com: Discover Your Money Personality

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