If you tend to be a money Amasser, you are happiest when you have large amounts of money at your disposal to spend, to save, and/or to invest. If you are not actually spending, saving, or investing, you may feel empty or not fully alive. You tend to equate money with self-worth and power, so a lack of money may lead to feelings of failure and even depression.
Life balance can be a challenge for you, taking time to smell the roses instead of monitoring your money to make sure it is growing can be a frustration for those closest to you.
Surprisingly, you may be perceived as being stingy. You don’t see the point on spending money on what you deem unnecessary, you tell yourself when you reach a certain target, (income or investments) all that will change.
If you hire an investment advisor or financial planner, your major concern will be finding investments with high rates of return, since you hope to make as much money as you can, as quickly as possible.
You probably enjoy making your own financial decisions, so it may be quite difficult for you to give up much control to money professionals. If, on the other hand, you tend to be a worrier too, and if you are tired of being overly obsessed with your money, you may actually welcome the opportunity to assign some of the details of your money life to a trustworthy financial advisor.
If you tend to be a money Avoider, you probably have a hard time balancing your cheque book, paying your bills promptly, and doing your taxes until the very last minute. You may avoid making a budget or keeping any kind of financial record. You won’t know how much money you have, how much you owe, or how much you spend. You may avoid investing money, even if you do have some, because it seems like too much trouble to attend to such details. What fuels this avoidance? You may feel incompetent or overwhelmed when faced with the tasks of your money life.
If you are an extreme money Avoider, you may even feel a kind of money anxiety or paralysis when faced with money tasks that resemble the feelings associated with math anxiety. Some money Avoiders share with Money Monks the belief that money is dirty. Others have a kind of aristocratic disdain toward the boring, seemingly unimportant details of their money life. But most Avoiders are more prone to feeling that they are inadequate or incompetent in dealing with the complexities and the details of their money life, rather than feeling that they are above such dirty work.
If you tend to be a Hoarder, you like to save money. You also like to prioritize your financial goals. You probably have a budget and may enjoy the processes of making up a budget and reviewing it periodically. You most likely have a hard time spending money on yourself and your loved ones for luxury items or even practical gifts. These purchases would seem frivolous to you. You might very well view spending money on entertainment and on holidays – and even on clothing – as largely unnecessary expenses.
If you think about investing your money, you tend to be concerned not with liquidity but with future security, especially during retirement. “Saving for a rainy day” appeals to your orderly nature. If you are an extreme Hoarder, you may want to keep your money so close to you that you avoid putting it even in conservative investments such as money markets, bonds, or mutual funds. Some hoarders have been known to keep their money hidden under mattresses and in other secret places rather than put it in a bank. However, these cases are relatively rare. Depending on how extreme your Hoarder tendencies are, you might exhibit some, most, or all of these traits.
The Money Monk
If you are a Money Monk, you think that money is dirty, that it is bad and that if you have too much of it, it will corrupt you. In general, you believe that “money is the root of all evil.” It stands to reason that you identify with people of modest means rather than with those who amass wealth. If you happen to come into a windfall somehow (through inheritance, for example), you would tend to be uneasy and even very anxious at the thought of the influx of so much money. You’d worry that you might “sell out,” becoming greedier and more selfish, and losing sight of positive human, political, and/or spiritual ideals and values.
You would probably avoid investing your money, for fear that it might grow and make you even wealthier. If you were willing to invest some of it, you would most likely be comfortable only with socially responsible investments that reflected your deeper values and convictions and that contributed to causes you would like to support.
If you are a Spender, you enjoy using your money to buy yourself goods and services for your immediate pleasure. You probably get satisfaction from spending money on gifts for others. The odds are that you have a hard time saving money and prioritizing the things you’d like in your life. As a result, it may be difficult for you to put aside enough money for future-oriented purchases and long-term financial goals. You may spend most or all of the money you earn, and you may even be in debt.
Now, it is important to realise that some people who are in debt are not spenders; they may simply not make enough money to meet their basic needs. If your own income is insufficient to meet your expenses, you are facing a real money crisis. You will have to come up with strategies to generate more income.
The members of this group make wise financial decisions. They enjoy managing their own money, but they also trust their advisors. They’re satisfied with what they have achieved financially.
They make logical decisions. They’ve learned to take the time and not let their emotions run away with them. They understand their values and make decisions that fit with those values both financial and personally. They are proud of what they have achieved but don’t feel the need to brag about it.
They haven’t got where they are by applying some amazing money making scheme. It’s understanding their relationship with money and aligning their values, beliefs and behaviours that has led them to financial success. They have high self-esteem, feel secure, and are content with life.
About Olivia Mellan – Clinical Psychologist, Psychotherapist
Since 1982, Olivia Mellan has been a ground breaker in the field of money psychology, couples communication, stress management, and conflict resolution. Her monthly column, The Psychology of Advice appears in Investment Advisor, and she has appeared on Oprah, the Today Show, and ABC’s 20/20, and other nationwide media. Olivia also speaks all over the USA to businesses, professional groups, and to the general public.