Know thyself: the 5 financial personality types

GSE Money in the Making

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Didn’t know that a “financial personality” was a thing? Well, it is, and you’ve got one. And while it’s not something that’s likely to make it into your dating profile, it says a lot about you.

Think of it like this: if you’re an actor, you don’t just study your own character. You take time to understand the other characters too, their motivations and backstories. That way you can figure out how give an authentic performance.

Well, the same goes for your finances. By understanding which financial personality type you are, and which ones you aren’t, you can take control of your money and create a financial story that's worthy of a standing O.

A woman writing

1. Spenders: the YOLO mentality

“Hey, you can’t take it with you, right?” So says our first financial personality type: Spenders. This personality type is pretty self-explanatory. Spenders aren’t searching for a bargain. They’re looking to make a statement. And if that means taking on some debt or some risky investments, so be it.

Wondering if this is you? Well, if you’re reading this article on the latest and greatest laptop, sitting back in your massage chair with your noise-cancelling headphones around your neck and your designer shoes kicked up on a one-of-a-kind leather ottoman—then yes, you might fit into this category.


Pro tip:

Because Spenders are more likely to become OVERspenders—consider setting a budget, tracking your expenses, avoiding high-interest debt, and building an emergency fund to protect yourself from unexpected expenses that may pop up down the road.

2. Savers: "I'm not cheap, I'm frugal!"

Savers are the yin to the Spenders’ yang. They're the coupon-cutters, the deal finders, the ones who never pay sticker price for anything. They may take shorter showers to save on water. They pack a lunch instead of eating out. They don’t need flashy things, because saving money gives them a sense of satisfaction that no designer clutch could ever match.

If you’re reading this and thinking “Wow, Savers are such cheapskates!”—then you probably aren’t one. On the other hand, if a voice in your head is saying “a penny saved is a penny earned”—then you might indeed be a Saver.


Pro tip:

Because Savers tend to shy away from risk when it comes to investing, remember that playing it too safe can potentially be a risk in itself. Consider diversifying your investments and exploring different asset classes to help ensure that you’re inflation-aware and getting the most out of your money.

3. Shoppers: “I came. I saw. I bought.”

Everyone likes retail therapy, right? Maybe. But for Shoppers, retail therapy is a way of life. These folks get a rush from spending money, even if it's on things they don't really need. It's all about the emotional satisfaction.

Does the Shopper personality type sound similar to a Spender type? They are similar, but the key difference is that while Shoppers live to buy, they also love a good deal. That’s because unlike Spenders, Shoppers are more mindful of their long-term financial goals and may actively try to avoid debt. But let’s be real, when push comes to shove, is a little credit card debt going to keep them from making a purchase? Probably not.


Pro tip:

Pro Tip: Because Shoppers can find it difficult not to spend money, consider setting up automatic contributions to your retirement account each month. This way, a portion of your paycheck is going toward your long-term future without you having to think about it.

A cell phone and a credit card 

4. The debtor mentality

This financial personality type in three letters? I.O.U. Yes, Debtors tend to focus more on their spending than their saving. Now, Spenders will sometimes take on some debt too. But here's the thing: while Spenders may have a carefree attitude with their money, Debtors can sometimes be carefree to a fault. And sometimes to a default. It's not always about extravagant purchases; their financial literacy (or lack thereof) can also play a significant role.


Pro tip:

Because Debtors are often burdened with high levels of debt, investing might be the last thing on their minds. But don’t leave free money on the table! Take advantage of your company's 401(k) match, even if it means sacrificing a little bit in your paycheck. Over time, that match can add up and help you get back on track.

5. Investors: “My portfolio is my plan”

You know what they say: “money talks.” Well, Investors make it sing. These are the people who know that their money should be doing more than just collecting dust in a savings account. They aren't just saving for a rainy day; they're aiming to reach a point where their investments generate enough income to potentially cover all of their bills.

Sure, they might take on some debt along the way. But they are likely to be doing it for a calculated investment that has the potential to yield a high return. Sound like a snooze-fest? Then you probably don’t fall into this category. But then you might want to consider hiring someone who does to help you manage your money. Your retired self could thank you later.


Pro tip:

If this sounds like you but you're just starting out, one good entry point into the world of investing might be low-cost index funds. These funds can offer a simple and cost-effective way to start making your money work for you.


So, which financial personality type are you? Don't worry, there's no right or wrong answer (well, except for maybe the Debtors). The key is to be aware of your spending habits and make sure your money is working for you, not against you. And if you're still not convinced that managing your money is important, just remember: Rome wasn’t built in a day, and your empire won’t be either. So, start taking control of your finances today.