I’ve long been familiar with the concept of figuring out whether I’m a spender or a saver. However, it has always seemed to me that few of us fit easily into one of those two categories. As result, I was intrigued by the assertion by Bethany and Scott Palmer (“The Money Couple“) that there are actually five money personalities. On top of that, the couple insists that every person has a primary personality and a secondary personality. I liked this viewpoint as it adds a little more subtlety to the whole “what kind of money person am I” exploration.
What I discovered, upon careful thought, is that my primary money personality is that of “spender.” My secondary money personality is “security seeker.” I enjoy spending money on things that are important me, and I like looking for gifts for others. However, at the same time, security is important to me, and I engage in long-term financial planning. I have an emergency fund, a retirement account, a 529 for my son, and we do not exceed our monthly household income. I like to spend, but I do it within well-defined limits so that I have a measure of financial security.
Photo by TFDuesing via Flickr
The Five Money Personalities
The Palmers describe the five money personalities in their book First Comes Love, Then Comes Money. These five personalities are:
- Saver: Penny pincher. I am definitely not this. I look for good prices, and I like to feel like I’m getting good value for my money, but I don’t go out of my way to pinch pennies. I’d rather look for additional income than slash my spending. Savers take pride in saving rather than spending, and love to see how far they can whittle their expenses.
- Spender: This is me! Spenders like to use their money to enjoy themselves, and they also enjoy giving gifts to others. The Money Couple points out that even though it is tempting to consider “spenders” as being in the wrong, they aren’t. This was a big comfort to me, and the spender personality isn’t an issue if you aren’t always spending beyond your means.
- Security Seeker: My secondary personality. A security seeker likes to play it safe. Before making a decision, a security seeker wants to make sure it’s the right move. Planning ahead is important so that the security seeker knows that everything will turn out in the end.
- Risk Taker: Even if it means losing everything, a risk taker is ready to go. Risk takers are willing to go out on a financial limb on occasion believing that a big pay off is worth taking a chance. Many investors and entrepreneurs are risk takers.
- Flyer: This is the money personality that most intrigued me, mainly because I’m pretty sure this is my husband’s secondary personality. (Like me, he is primarily a spender.) A flyer isn’t very interested in money matters and financial planning. He or she doesn’t think much about money, and doesn’t want to be bothered with creating financial plans.
Understanding your relationship with money is important so that you can examine your own habits. Additionally, it is a good idea to understand your partner’s money personality so that you get an idea of how to work together on finances. Since my husband and I like to spend, it’s up to my secondary personality (security seeker) to make sure that everything else is taken care of as well. My husband (flyer), who almost never thinks about money unless he wants to spend it on something, leaves the planning, tracking, and budgeting to me. Attempts to interest him in these items have proved fruitless, but at least he now calls to find out where we are at before making a big purchase, and if he wants to do something that requires planning, he tells me, and I create a plan.
What is your money personality? How do you make it work with your partner’s?
Miranda is a professional personal finance journalist. She is a contributor for several personal finance web sites. Her work has been mentioned in and linked to from, USA Today, The Huffington Post, The San Francisco Chronicle, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and other publications. She also has her own blog at Miranda Marquit.