Here’s the thing. You can read every personal finance book and learn every budgeting trick and cut up your credit cards and decide you’re really going to commit this time, but if you’ve never examined why you treat money the way you treat it, you’ll always end up back where you started.
First, take this quick money personality quiz:
Question 1: Which phrase do you relate to more:
A. I think more about what I have in the bank now, it’s not real until it’s in my account.
B. I’m usually spending the next check in my head before it hits my account.
Question 2: Which phrase do you relate to more:
A. I tend to plan ahead.
B. I tend deal with things as they come.
Then find yourself in the matrix:
(orange letters correspond to Question 1 and blue letters correspond to Question 2)
For Question 1:
If you answered A: In general, Complicators and Contemplators tend to be more concerned about what they have in the bank now, or their net worth. Whether or not they're actually looking at their bank account balance, how much they have in the bank is what they're thinking about the most.
If you answered B: In general, Paper Chasers and Money Monks tend to be more concerned about what's coming in and going out, or their cash flow. They are also in figure-it-out mode, whether it's an Amasser wanting something and figuring out how to get it or a Money Monk figuring out how to make do with what they have.
For Question 2:
If you answered A: In general, Complicators and Paper Chasers tend to do more planning ahead, at least in the short term.Complicators are concerned about having enough, so they overanalyze every decision, and Paper Chasers are thinking about what they want next and how to get there. They are more proactive about money situations.
If you answered B: In general, Contemplators and Money Monks tend to let things happen as they come. Contemplators will wait until someone is literally knocking on their door to handle something and Money Monks go with how they're feeling for the day. They are more reactive to money situations.
AA - The Complicator: More Money, More Problems!
You’re always concerned about your money, no matter how much you have. You spend your time wondering if you have enough and think about how much you should have by now. You never feel settled in your finances and you keep very close tabs on your inflows and outflows. Every bill is checked meticulously and every letter and email is filed carefully so you don’t miss a thing. (Hopefully.)
AB - The Contemplator: I'll take care of it tomorrow...
There is a stack of unopened envelopes somewhere in your house with your name on it. Thinking about money is so stressful, you’d rather not deal with it right now. Or even tomorrow or the next day. You keep your bank account balance in your head (but never look at the actual statements), you hope to remember to pay the minimums on your credit cards, and you keep meaning to open your mail, but somehow it always piles up.
BA - The Paper Chaser: More Money, NO Problems!
You're so focused on the income you're making (or could be making) that you don't think about what you're spending. You figure that if you spend your time making more money, it will solve all your money problems. When you want something, your first thought is where can you make some extra money to get it? You often find yourself chasing a series of short term goals vs. planning for the long term. Your long term plan is to keep making more money.
BB - The Money Monk: Money changes people, man...
Money has always been a dirty word for you. You don’t know why (or maybe you do), but you have an aversion to having it and judge people’s character based on how they feel about it, and often, how much of it they have. You probably don’t own a lot of things and make just enough to get by, sometimes relying on others’ kindness and flexibility to help you get by. When you do have a windfall, you always have an itch to get rid of it as quickly as possible.
Don't feel bad about your money personality!
There is no such thing as a “good” or “bad” money personality and you don't need to change your personality. It’s more about recognizing what your tendencies are when it comes to money and becoming more self aware of your actions when it comes to saving or spending it.
The best part about knowing what your relationship to money is, is that you can now choose what tools and strategies you think will actually work for you and which ones you know you can stick with. You give yourself control over how you're going to handle financial situations.
Now that you've taken the quiz, answer these questions in the comments below:
- What money personality are you and how do you feel about it? Do you agree with the quiz?
- How do you feel your money personality helps you and how do you feel it hinders you?
Here are more resources:
PODCAST: Your Money Personality on a budget
PODCAST: The psychology of money