Whatever you’re trying to save for, whether it’s a new car, a house deposit or that once-in-a-lifetime wedding, some people find it harder than others to squirrel money away and build up that all-important nest egg. Geoff Beattie, a professor at Edge Hill University in Lancashire, UK, told the Financial Times that he believes technology advancements have seen a generational change in behaviours around money.
If you’re struggling to understand why you’re unable to stick to your savings plan, identifying your financial personality type can help explain your spending habits and help you manage your personal finances more effectively. Let’s take a look at some of the common personality traits that can influence your ability to save money.
What type of optimist are you?
If you consider yourself a glass-half-full kind of person, it’s likely that you’re an optimist. However, there tend to be two different types of optimists: realistic optimists who enjoy meeting targets but are sensible enough to set a realistic target in the first place and idealistic optimists, who fail to take necessary precautions and don’t consider the fact that anything can go wrong for them. The latter is dangerous as these types of people can rack up debt without a sense of how they will pay it back.
This tends to describe those people who prefer to have money stored away for a rainy day rather than spend every penny they have. As a risk-averse individual, you’ll be someone that doesn’t like to be in debt and can even become somewhat paranoid by the thought of taking out credit – money that’s not your own. The downside to being conservative with your money is that you may well inhibit your potential to have a good time, as you’re storing away money that may help you to lead a happier, more enjoyable lifestyle.
At the other end of the spectrum are the risk-taking individuals with significantly more aggressive financial traits. If we take the analogy of personalities at the poker table, a risk-taker would be considered the maniac – someone who makes incredibly bold moves and gestures without really considering the consequences. This type of person doesn’t feel the need to sit and wait for acceptance or approval from others to justify their actions and will take the leap in the belief that they will always land firmly on their feet whatever the outcome.
Deep-thinking personalities will take the time to take a step back from their finances and develop strategies to manage their money to the tiniest details. The problem deep-thinkers have when making decisions with their money is that they run the risk of getting caught in “analysis paralysis” – an inability to make crucial decisions due to the fear of making the wrong choice. Undoubtedly, deep-thinkers tend to not fail financially as they are exceptionally risk-averse, but that fear of uncertainty means they won’t always make the best possible decision for their personal finances either – even if they want to!
Those emotionally conflicted about their personal finances tend to not make good savers. They feel a sense of guilt about the resources they may have – particularly those who inherit money – and become overly generous to others when the reality is they should use their inheritance to invest in their own future. Although emotional spenders will spend lots of money on others, they still tend to feel unfulfilled emotionally, leading them to splash out on themselves too. However, little do they know that each purchase they make only brings short-term relief, ending up in long-term pain. It’s a vicious circle that’s hard to put an end to.
If you’re in the process of reviewing your personal savings and wondering why it’s not as much as you thought, take the time to consider what type of personality you fit into and whether you can change your spending habits and work towards a brighter future for you and your family.