We all know how important an engine is for a winning race car. A successful racing team understands what’s under the hood of their car and how to make it perform to the highest level. In the same way, it is important we understand our own ‘financial’ engine and how it performs. We call this engine our financial personality. Discovering our financial personality and understanding how it affects our decisions is critical to financial success.
Many organizations will tell you that you need to behave in a certain way if you are going to be successful financially. Learning to work within your personality is the key to financial success.
In counseling singles and couples over the years, we have seen four universal traits that drive financial decisions and behaviors. The first two contrasting traits drive how we think about money. Most people are either spontaneous or analytical. Spontaneous people are more emotionally driven in their thought process. Analytical people like to think and ponder before making a decision.
The second two contrasting traits tell how we behave towards money. Cooperative people like to make sure all sides are heard before making a decision. Assertive people have no problem telling individuals what they want regardless of conflicting opinions. By combining these traits, we have found people generally fall into one of four financial personalities.
Read through the four personality types below and see which one you identify with the most. Remember, there is no right or wrong personality and each one has its own strengths and weaknesses.
Statesmen are a combination of cooperative and analytical traits. They are generally tactful with people and tend to be comfortable with their finances. They like to set goals but may be too passive when it comes to executing those goals. They easily adapt to other points of view. Statesmen are conservative savers and investors. They plan for tomorrow but not at the sacrifice of today.
Cruise Directors are both spontaneous and cooperative. They generally have a charitable heart toward others and are givers. They also tend to be somewhat impulsive and get pleasure out of spending money. They generally have no desire to get wrapped up in financial planning and are not driven by specific financial goals. Cruise Directors think about today and don’t worry much about tomorrow.
Litigators are assertive and analytical. They are calculated risk-takers and disciplined savers. They tend to set goals and plan for their financial future. Given their assertive style, they tend to take charge of their money. Family members may see them as overbearing or rigid. Litigators plan for tomorrow, sometimes at the sacrifice of today.
Race Car Drivers combine assertiveness and spontaneity. This allows them to multi-task with the ability to make ends meet. They tend to have an entrepreneurial spirit but can be emotionally drained by the challenge of juggling their personal finances. Race car drivers are generally risk takers. While very financially active, race car drivers tend to struggle with consistent financial progress. They tend to think about tomorrow but may not be able to get past the issues of today.
When you understand your financial personality and that of your spouse, if married, communicating about finances is easier and more effective. Better communication leads to a more solid financial plan that works long term and you will begin to make financial decisions that work for you!