We all have a Money Personality. This is our behavioural style with our money. It doesn’t define us for life, it is just how we are with money right now. If you want to change you can.
Money personalities are just about us. For us to be successful with money, we need to understand our own money personality, and if you’re in a relationship, our partner’s as well. Once you have children, they will have their own money personality.
We have two money personalities, a primary and secondary and it’s important to know them both. When it comes to dealing with children and money, there could be six different personalities in the mix, yours, your partner’s and your child’s (primary & secondary for each).
Don’t assume that your children are going to be a mini You. Many parents who have two or more children say they all have different money personalities.
It is much easier to understand the behaviours of a mini you, but if your child is your polar opposite, you can be in for some fun and games.
Here are a few tips to help you recognise the money personality of your child. Remember that you aren’t likely to be able to identify a particular behaviour until your child has a grasp of numbers, so maybe from about 5 years old.
I want to acknowledge Scott and Bethany Palmer (the Money Couple) for the amazing work they are doing with parents and children’s money personalities.
Does your child love to collect things? Shells from the beach, bottle tops, or anything else that takes their fancy? They are good at delaying gratification. You can see this trait coming out at Christmas time. They will diligently only eat a chocolate a day from their advent calendar, and save the Christmas chocolate well into the New Year. They love to save and may get anxious or even a little grumpy when you suggest they spend some money.
They love to plan ahead, even if it is for the family holiday, they will be packed and ready well in advance. They will ask lots of questions so they can be totally prepared for what is ahead of them. But if things don’t go according to plan, they can seem a bit indecisive because they hadn’t planned and aren’t prepared for a different outcome.
These children can also be seen as selfish. They don’t like to share, and are reluctant to spend money on going out with friends.
They need encouragement to spend, so they don’t become too focused on saving and not enjoying themselves and their friendships.
No matter where you are, the supermarket, your local café, these children are constantly asking for something! Whether it is your money or theirs, they don’t care. At this age, it doesn’t really matter how much it costs either, it is all about getting something.
They can’t delay gratification, they want it now and will probably burn through their pocket money quickly. They can also suffer from buyer’s remorse after they have splurged as they don’t have the money for the next shiny thing. These children are very generous with their friends, and are often happy to pay for the outing with friends.
When they get an after school or holiday job, at the end of the holiday they probably won’t have any money left.
They are relentless and persistent at asking for something all the time. Not only about spending but anything. “Can I have a biscuit?” No. “Can I have a muesli bar?” No. “Can I have an ice cream?” No. As a parent, how many rounds of this can you handle before you cave?
Children who are Amassers also have a lot of the traits of Spender children, with a few subtle differences which you may not spot until they are a little older.
Amasser children are fearless and love projects; they have big ideas. Anything from camping expeditions in the back garden to trading toys. They aren’t as attached to ‘stuff’, so are happy to trade what they have for something else. They will be the ones setting up businesses at a young age, the budding entrepreneurs of the future
They make decisions easily and know what they want. This can also make them a little careless as they don’t necessarily have the skills at a young age to think through consequences, so trips to the doctor for stitches when plans don’t quite work out are to be expected.
They are happy to go with the flow. Relationships are more important to them, than money. If you tell your Avoider child not to buy that they will acquiesce and not purchase it.
They aren’t motivated by money or ‘stuff’. So, punishments like withholding pocket money or restricting screen time won’t worry them, whereas cancelling a playdate with a friend will upset them.
They don’t really think about money, so this personality can be a little hard to spot in a child as they all start out this way until they get a clearer understanding of maths and how that relates to spending and saving money.
You can try setting up systems for them to manage their money, but they just won’t stick to them which can make them seem a bit flaky, they just don’t stick to anything. Relationships are paramount and will divert their attention from anything else they should be doing.
For these children, it is all about the here and now. They are trusting and will do anything for a friend.
The other types
Some of you will know that there are five Money Personalities. The fifth type I haven’t mentioned is a Money Monk, however, this type doesn’t generally surface in children. There is a sixth type, a Money Worrier, but you will know if you or one of your children is that type.
Now that you have read through the Money Personalities and how they relate to children, work out what you think your children’s prime and secondary personalities are.
If they are opposite to you, you may be in for a few struggles. If you can understand their Money Personality type, then you are well on the way to raising a Financially Healthy Child.
We hope that these points will help you better understand your children as they discover the world of money.