Over the years, attempts have been made to figure out just how money personalities work for different individuals. In order to understand how to target consumers for their businesses, the financial service and retail industries continually research differences in people’s behavior when it comes to handling money. In more recent times, groups of behavioral specialists and economists have also worked hard to try to explain how money decisions are made.
Most experts who have studied money personalities name four main categories, as follows:
3. Risk Takers
4. Security Seekers
Some also add a fifth category called “Flyers”. Let’s try to define and understand these personalities as they relate to money.
Spenders – this is pretty easy to define and identify in people. Spenders, presumably, can’t hold on to a penny. When money comes to them, spenders find a way to dispose of it. That’s not to say that some spenders aren’t also able to manage money pretty well and even save effectively; however, they love spending, and a bit of a “high” often occurs when spenders take that item to the counter to pay for it.
Savers – the saver is pretty much the opposite of the spender. The saver is typically an individual who gets a penny and stashes it away for the proverbial rainy day. Whether this behavior comes from some past lack or fear of not ever having enough, savers often hate shopping and spending even if it’s for things that are needed. But suffice it to say that some savers are also generous in their own right and are able to maintain balance in their use of money.
Risk Takers – some individuals are highly prone to take chances with money regardless of how much they have or don’t have. These people aren’t just spenders. They often take unnecessary chances hoping for good results. Some investors and certainly heavy gamblers could be framed as risk takers because where there’s a challenge or interesting opportunity (in their own view), these folks can’t help but go after it, hoping for success “this time”. There’s probably less chance that a risk taker will ever develop a balance or a plan of action that is doable given their propensity to jump at the shiny object so often throughout life.
Security Seekers – the security seeker, as opposed to the risk taker, is usually scared to death to take a chance with money. They aren’t necessarily savers either. They just see money as something that will provide them a safe landing place and therefore may see a need to make more and more money, rather than saving and spending more effectively in order to provide a more secure future.
Flyers – Flyers are people who really don’t care about or think very seriously about money. Whether they have it or not, it doesn’t really occur to a flyer to consider personal habits and behaviors and how they might impact financial goals or aspirations. One would hope that, at some point in life, this type would realize the importance of having some kind of plan to manage finances.
Obviously, being obsessively one money personality or another may render individuals unsuccessful in attaining money goals over a lifetime. Finding a way to balance out the four (or five) money personalities described here gives any consumer the best chance to succeed at personal money management.