Six Types of Financial Personalities
When the Super Bowl is on this Sunday, you’ll be watching it as much for the game as you will be the advertisements that run during the breaks. The brains behind them only have a short amount of time—and are blowing through millions of dollars—to get their point across to you. “Advertisers and marketers trying to tempt us to spend money are well aware of [financial psychology]—yet consumers will increasingly benefit from taking the time to understand it,” notes the Financial Times. The daily newspaper recently interviewed psychologists on the topic of financial psychology, and all agreed that there were six specific types of “financial personalities.” RealClearLife has listed them below (with a few minor tweaks), along with a short explanation. Which one are you?
The Anxious Investor: You’re the financial version of this slackliner; you thrive on risk, trading frequently, overly confident that you’re not going to fail. But you’re also the type that tends to get hosed by the market more often—and whose costs start ballooning because of your frequent moves. “Trading fires up the pleasure centers in the brain,” says Greg B. Davies, former head of the behavioral finance unit at Barclays, to the FT. “The longer you stay in an addictive environment, the more prone you are to bad decisions, which causes anxiety, which leads to overtrading and therefore more anxiety.”
The Hoarder: If you’re this financial personality type, you’re the exact opposite of the Anxious Investor: risk is the enemy, and having mountains of cash on hand makes you feel secure. “If you were raised in a family where money was tight, you may tend towards the type that needs a lot of security,” notes Claudia Hammond, a psychology professor and author of the book Mind Over Money.
The Social Value Spender: Everybody knows this type: a big spender, who does it to boost his or her own self-esteem. And unfortunately, these folks often fall into debt. Professor Adrian Furnham, professor of psychology at University College London explains:
“You feel loved when you give a gift. You feel like you will be more accepted in a group if you own the right things. But the effects of retail therapy do not last. Once you have returned home or received the package the buzz has often worn off.”
The Rain Maker: A relative of the Social Value Spender, this type is often a man and spends in a rather ostentatious manner—as in, that guy sitting next to you at the club in Vegas who just “made it rain.” “People who recognize these traits should realize that ‘spending does not make you happier if it is being done to show off,’ explains author Claudia Hammond.
The Fitbit Financier: You are constantly on your smartphone or tablet, checking your account balances, savings, stocks, and other financial concerns. “But one underlying reason for wanting such strong control of your finances is that you may have lost control of other areas of your life,” notes the FT.
The Ostrich: These are the folks that do everything except checking on (and organizing) their expenses. Per the FT, the wealthy version of this investor
“… hands their finances to an adviser or discretionary manager but does not check what is being done with the money, or the investment charges that may be eating into their returns.”
Being just a little more proactive over time will have a snowball effect on the ostrich type. The more confidence they get in know what they’re doing, financially, the better educated (and less ostrich-like) they’ll become.