After getting up close and personal with the finances of hundreds of different business owners—all with definite money habits and philosophies—I can safely say that there are 5 different money personalities. These money personalities explain why some entrepreneurs never seem to spend money; whereas others never seem to save money. They explain why some are engaged and excited about investing their money, while others close their eyes and let others do it.
Identifying your money personality will help you understand how your habits and philosophies are sabotaging or enhancing your business and your wealth building. So let's take a look at the 5 different money personalities to see if you can spot yourself.
The saver is great at putting money away, but not great at enjoying life along the way. They find it difficult to spend money and focus on reduction—cutting back and sacrificing—as a method for building wealth. They also focus more on worry and scarcity than abundance and production, and this leads to stunted business growth.
Dale Clarke, Wealth Factory's Cash Flow Optimization specialist, told me this was his money personality before he started working with us. He told his wife they couldn't "afford" to go on vacation, even though they had more than enough money to do so, and he found himself buying his kids presents at a cheap discount store.
The saver is less likely to get into debt, but also less likely to have financial fulfillment. A good way for the saver to overcome self-sabotage is to allocate a percentage of their income—maybe 3%—into a "Living Wealthy Account" every month. This account is purely for guilt-free spending.
Spenders get into debt very easily. They are focused on enjoying life, not just at any cost, but at all costs. I can always tell when I'm working with a spender because they typically have 5-10 credit cards with 12 other loans and little savings. They tend to fund their consumptive expenses with credit cards, which is a recipe for going into debt.
If you are a spender, I recommend reading The Richest Man in Babylon. Pay special attention to paying yourself first. Set 10-15% of your income aside before you pay your bills, and then don't touch it for consumptive expenses. You can spend every penny of the rest of your paycheck, but putting that first 10-15% away every month will lead you to wealth.
Avoiders don't want to pay attention to money. Money is a source of frustration for them, so they avoid looking at it. Dale and I once worked with a guy who was so much of an avoider, he'd sign checks without looking and rarely open bills. One day, while eating with his family around the dinner table, he got a knock on the door. Two gentlemen were standing on his porch, so he asked, "How may I help you?"
"You can start by getting out of our house," one of them replied. The man's home had been foreclosed on and sold the day before.
The best thing an avoider can do is to find someone to keep themselves accountable. That might be a business partner, a supportive spouse with a different personality, or maybe hiring a bookkeeper to help track their money.
Givers enjoy helping others and being charitable. Many times this comes from an internal belief system that if they have too much money, then others don't have enough, which economists refer to as the Fixed-Pie Fallacy.
Being generous and/or charitable can be a strength, but if overdone, it can work against the giver and severely damage their finances. It's a good idea for givers to focus on getting their financial foundation set before they start giving money away. And once their finances are stable, set up an automatic transfer to move a set percentage of money into a designated charity account each month. This money can then be given away without undermining the giver's own finances.
This is my money personality today: the amasser. It's Dale's money personality, too. For the amasser, building wealth creates confidence. We want to do everything all at once. We want to make money every month, save money every month, invest money every month and give money away every month. And if we can't do that, it weighs on our confidence.
The strength of the amasser is that they have a strong desire to produce value—which leads to wealth. The weakness is that the focus on money can turn into scarcity. For example, Dale Clarke once shared a story with me about enjoying a walk with his wife, but he spent the entire time discussing their financial goals until she finally asked, "Do you ever talk about anything other than money?" And I can tell similar stories about my wife and me.
That's a good reminder that business and living wealthy is about more than just money—it's about living rich in all of your values, first and foremost of which is your family.
Did you spot your money personality?
If you see yourself in any of these descriptions, make a plan to utilize your strengths and balance your weaknesses. If not, ask a business partner, spouse or someone who knows you well to help you identify your money personality. They may be able to see more clearly from the outside what you do not see.