In this episode you will learn about the four psychological money profiles, the strength and weakness of each profile, and how you can move forward in improving your financial wellness.
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Money Talks (Part 2) – How Knowing Your Psychological Money Profile Can Set You Up For Financial Success
Welcome to the show. This is part two of our Relationship with Money discussion. In this episode, you will learn about the four psychological money profiles, the strength and weaknesses of each profile, and how you can move forward in improving your financial wellness.
Welcome to part two of Relationship with Money.
This had to be part two because somebody was very excited about what they found. I’m all about being excited and having the energy flow and I’m like, “Let’s do it.”
I’m so excited because when I did my show notes originally and I knew that we were bringing Myra on, I delved into this thing about our relationship with money, specifically the psychology behind it. I know that in part one, we talked about how our financial relationship stems from our childhood. There is a financial psychologist, Brad Klontz, that basically says that these instances develop money scripts. These money scripts are shaped by our direct experience, family stories, and parental attitudes. Not shocking that these four psychological money profiles are deeply steeped in our childhood. When I came across this, I was like, “This might have to be its own episode because it is fascinating.”
Here we are and here you are. You’re going to learn about these four different types, and then we are going to share with you if you are one of these types, what you can do moving forward as well. I’m looking forward to this conversation.
Let’s go. I’m going to let you take the lead on this.
We’re starting off with the spender profile, which you might be a spender if you get a rush or a high when you’re purchasing items. You purchase items for family and friends to demonstrate how much you care. You might be an impulsive shopper. You may have accumulated some considerable debt and always waiting for payday. Those are some indicators that you might fall into the spender profile.
I’m piecing this together. If you are watching on YouTube, you’ll see me pointing at Siria because as I was compiling these, I saw where myself, Siria and a few other people fell. When we’re talking about being a spender and if you identify as a spender, what I was interested in was the psychology behind it like, where did this stem from? If you’re a spender, there’s a good chance that you either grew up in a home where you may have been spoiled. Your parents gave you presents. You never went without. You felt so loved and supported through these gifts.
You chase that high by continuously spending on yourself to continue that feeling of support and love, or you grew up in an extremely frugal household and you felt denied of things. You overcompensate by treating yourself to anything and everything. What was interesting about this though too is your emotion of remembering what it felt like to go without, so you demonstrate that you care for others by buying them something so that they don’t feel as if they’re going without.
What I would say is those are too black and white for me because I do think there’s another element on here, which was we were poor working class. There were times when my parents would buy and spend on things and not care. They spent a shit ton of money on my quinceañera. They should not have. I’m judging them for that decision that they made at the same age I am now. I’m dating myself and them with that.
At the same time, it’s feeling like there were certain things that you couldn’t do because, for example, I was a cheerleader in high school. It took quite a bit to be able to get the uniform but I didn’t have the full uniform. There are pictures that I have from high school where I’ve only got bits and pieces. I was definitely denied. It was like, “You did well. We’re inviting you to go to this other competition or parade or other things,” where there were other opportunities where I could do more because I’m so good at all things and super humble.
It’s one of your strong suits.
It was like, “We can’t afford to do that.” That was a constantly recurring theme in my childhood like, “It’s nice that you’re being considered but we can’t afford to do it.” It was what happened with my ballet lessons and my piano lessons. At some point, my dad entered me into a beauty contest. I would get into all these things so it would dangle then it would be like, “That’s nice. That’s too bad we can’t afford it.”
How do you think that has influenced you as a spender?
The way it’s influenced me is that I don’t necessarily think about the long-term consequences. I will do things. I’m an impulsive shopper. You put some of those little things in front of me at the cash register, I’m that target audience. I’m definitely there, but I do think that sense of denial of, “I can’t do that.” I got to a point where it was like, “I don’t have to deny myself anything. I’m fairly well off financially. I’ve done well for myself career-wise and done all those things.” I had to learn that I need to not be in this mindset where I’m constantly waiting for payday. I may have started off as a spender and I still mostly lean towards being more of a spender, but I have adopted some other items from my other half who I’m curious as to which one of these profiles you think it is.
You’ll figure it out once get there.
Once you start going through different things.
The second money psychology profile is the saver. You might be a saver if you tend not to buy anything new. If you find yourself shopping at thrift stores or haggling for items on offer, this might be you. You’ll also tend to argue an extra dollar on your receipt if a cashier forgets to honor a sale that’s going on. You eat at home every night rather than spending money going to a restaurant. You’ll have several household items broken all at the same time, yet you refuse to have it fixed because it still “works.” Who does this remind you of?
It sounds vaguely like Matt, just a little bit. He does have these tendencies. Here’s where it’s interesting. He will buy things brand new and won’t go thrift shopping. He hates yard sales. It’s an interesting thing because when we first met and we’re starting to date and we started talking about money, one of the things that impressed me about him was he was not looking for the cheapest shoes at the store. He needed to buy some tennis shoes. He was looking for what was comfortable, and when he found it, he bought two of them and he wasn’t sweating it. I think that when there are things that are going to provide more comfort or are going to be long-term investments, he has no problem buying the top-notch item.
How long does he hold onto those shoes?
He will wear them down.
One tennis shoe might last five years.
No, but there’s a nice little stockpile under the bed.
The psychology behind savers can stem from perhaps you grew up in an environment where you felt every penny needed to be pinched and accounted for. Perhaps your parents lost their job or had their car repossessed. That might have stuck with you or your parents may have been extremely frugal and showed you that, “You don’t have to have a lot of money to live on.”
His parents have the same pairing that we do. His dad is the spender and his mom is the saver, and he learned from his mom. He’s so aligned with all of it. It’s funny because one of their family jokes is their dad came home one day and bought a second house as one does. She flipped out, which why wouldn’t you? This was I think in the early ‘80s.
What’s funny is that now that has built their wealth because that is what they did. They ended up buying a bunch of properties and are essentially landlords. They have all of these different houses enough to give each grandchild one in their will. It started off because the spender did something impulsive, came home, bought a house, and the saver was able to use that and go, “How are we going to do this?” It became the foundation of the generational wealth that they’re building.
You spoke about this earlier. One of the strengths of a saver is that they stretched the dollar as far as it can go, they often have a pretty healthy nest egg for themselves, and are well set for retirement which you said Matt is.
Matt can retire in the next couple of years. He could probably retire sooner had he not started dating me. That is the running joke at the house.
He also is one of the rare people that love his job.
It’s funny, we were talking and I asked him. I was like, “What would you do if money was no object?” I asked that question because it’s a good one to ask from time to time. He’s like, “I would probably do the exact same thing I’m doing now.” I was like, “You would still show up to work and do all this stuff?” He’s like, “Yes.”
It didn’t surprise me that much. He was like, “What about you?” “I would be doing different things than what I’m doing now, which included a whole lot more travel,” but that’s another topic for another day. We are going to be fine in retirement because I’m very fortunate to have this. Even though we have rough patches and I’m joking about that stuff. If you’re following us on social media, you know that there are some funny things that we’re throwing out there. Overall, we’re going to be fine for retirement because of him. If it was just me, I don’t know. I’d be working until I was dead.
The problem that savers specifically experienced. I don’t see the first one being an issue with Matt, but if you are a saver to the extreme, sometimes you will forego purchasing. Maybe healthier foods or higher brand foods or maybe you neglect to go to the doctors because you’re like, “It’s just funny. I’m fine. I’m healthy. I don’t need to go to the doctor.” That frugalness can creep up later and cause more problems for you down the road because you’ve been neglecting yourself now. The one that I found to be slightly interesting is that savers’ frugalness often bleeds into other facets of their lives, and they could be stingy with their emotions, feelings and energy.Frugalness can actually creep up later and cause more problems for you down the road because you've been neglecting yourself. Click To Tweet
That’s not Matt at all.
I’m going to leave that there. Others can perceive you as holding back rather than giving. Fascinating.
Totally not Matt. Now that we’ve spent half the episode on Siria and Matt, let’s go ahead and turn things around, shall we? The next psychological profile is the security seeker. If you are a security seeker, you hate debt of any kind. Your retirement investment accounts are very non-aggressive because you hate risk. Yay for cost bonds, I’m sure. You stay in a job you don’t like because it’s stable and you avoid risks at any cost. Does that sound like anybody that we might know?
That is me. I can hit off all of those. Why don’t you delve into the psychology behind that?
The psychology behind the security seekers comes from growing up in an environment where your sense of security felt threatened. Maybe your house was foreclosed on or your car was repossessed. Myra mentioned the lights being turned off at her house like those kinds of things. Whatever the experience was, it scarred you. You got some money trauma is basically what it comes down to. It left you believing that money equals security and that you needed to keep your assets liquid, just in case. I know that this was something that even Vince had mentioned to you about the fact that you have a lot of cash in your checking account.
I do. Even my financial advisor told me, “You’re holding on to too much cash.” I think that’s because I’m always like, “What if? What if this happened?” You look at the pandemic and my husband lost his job. I was taking on the bills and everything like that. It felt so nice not having to worry because I had this ridiculous emergency fund. I’m a security seeker.
I remember in the first episode when we were talking with Myra, I shared stories of my mom divorcing my father and she was left with nothing or the fact that at sixteen, I’m having to learn how to budget to feed my family for the month with $300. It’s terrifying and I remember telling myself like, “I will never be in that spot. I will always make sure that I have enough money to take care of myself no matter what happens.” Now I might go a little bit to the extreme. My financial advisor is trying to get me to take on stocks with higher risk but I’m so risk-averse because I’m terrified of being vulnerable. That goes with my money as well.
That makes total sense and yet, here I am buying cryptocurrency and being okay with some of the things. Although that’s a topic for another day. You have that risk-averse but the strength of that is you’re super stable and prepared for an emergency.
I am but there is a problem though with security seekers such as myself because we are so risk averse and so fixated on security that we miss opportunities for growth, new investments with large returns, and careers that are more fulfilling because we like to stay with what we know. You talked earlier about staying in jobs that you may not be happy with but they’re stable. They’re providing me with an income. I identify with that because I’m at a point now in my career where I have several avenues of opportunities available to me, yet I’m very much comfortable with keeping one foot in with my current job.
I’m curious, how much of it do you think is your security seeker versus your perfectionism?
It’s security seeking. I didn’t realize until we started talking about this or decided that we would be talking about this on the show that I realized how deeply rooted my money trauma stemmed from, and how many instances and experiences I could recall as a child that reaffirms the sphere. There you go.
We got that one. The final profile is the avoider. You might be an avoider if you have a stack of bills on your counter and you don’t know what’s in them. You have no idea what your credit score is. “Retirement? Who? What?” You’re not even thinking about that and you are afraid to look at your bank balances.
If you’re an avoider, there is a very good chance that you came from a family that struggled with some abuse, whether it’s alcohol or drug abuse. As an avoider, you interpret this message as a young child that escaping is a valid way to avoid problems and conflict. Avoiders typically in these types of households have grown up where money was not something that was talked about. You may not even feel comfortable about addressing it at all. We talked a little bit about this in the first episode about money. It’s that as a culture, we put money as taboo. You don’t tell people how much you make. You don’t tell people where you spend your money. That is something private.As a culture don't, money is a taboo thing. You don't tell people how much you make or where you spend your money. That is something private. Click To Tweet
This profile can be encouraged even with businesses. I have a lot of friends who are accountants like actual accountants. Their clients may not even look at their books and stuff until the end of the year. This was me with the business side of myself. I wasn’t looking at any of this stuff, and then when I had to sit there and go over it with my accountant, it felt vulnerable to look at all these things and realize the mistakes that I was making.
I knew that things weren’t going how I wanted because I hadn’t adjusted, but I have adjusted now. I’m doing all of the things and you know that. We’re moving this and changing that. We’ve changed things with production. I’m radically changing things because I know that I can. I feel like the avoider, one is one that I identify with right now but I know it’s not my main source of drama or my main psychological profile. With any of these, you could probably have a little bit of all of them, but especially in our society, we don’t talk about that.
You might think as an avoider, there can’t possibly be any strength behind this but they typically are optimistic because they believe that everything will work out in the end. They also live in the present moment and find anything and everything else about life more interesting than money.
That’s interesting. I identify with that because I do think there are so many things that are much more interesting. The saying, “Money can’t buy you happiness,” is true to a certain extent because there is a certain income level. It used to be 75. As we were researching for these, I came across a different number saying that now the number’s 95. I’m not sure.
When you make anything more than that, you don’t become any happier with it. There are things that money can help buy in terms of experiences that can increase your happiness. You may have more access to tools, education, travel, and all these other things. Money may not make you directly happy but it can help you have other things that would make your life more fulfilling.Money may not make you directly happy, but it can help you have other things that would make your life more fulfilling. Click To Tweet
I think that the obvious setback or problem with being an avoider though is that you might temporarily avoid problems by avoiding them but you’re delaying the stress that you’re going to have to deal with. The longer you neglect a situation, the bigger mess you’re going to have to clean up.
That’s true for anything that you’re avoiding. Not just your money issues. How do we move forward if you have identified yourself in one of these?
If you are a spender, here are two ways that you can move forward. One, stop using a credit cards. I mentioned this in episode one. There was a study conducted by MIT that found that shoppers spend up to 100% more when using a credit card rather than paying with cash. Knowing this, it might be better to implement things like what Myra mentioned about the envelope system. Cash out your paycheck. Start putting the cash in various envelopes and only spend what’s in that envelope on rent or groceries.
I’m going to throw in something here as a spender.
As a person that identifies as a spender.
As a self-proclaimed spender, which no one is surprised by this, here’s what helped me. It was starting off with looking at everything. That’s what started my saving habits. It was writing everything down to figure out, “Where the fuck is my money going? Where is it going?” That act of it, and there are different apps out there that can help you out. I started off using the Mint app on Mint.com. You link your bank accounts to it and it shows you where is all your money going.
You can then get percentages like, “30% of your money is going towards housing and you’re spending 50% on entertainment.” You can be like, “That might be a bit too much,” and then you can start adjusting things. The biggest thing with the spender is like it would be for an avoider, you got to look at it. You got to do it. As painful as it can feel, you have to do it because you cannot change it if you do not know what it is and if you have not brought awareness to it.
I love that you’re bringing that up because as we mentioned in the previous episode, talking about automatic subscriptions that we maybe forget to cancel and are being charged. Looking at your bank and your credit card statements not only puts a number figure to whatever it is that you’re purchasing but you might say, “I no longer need that subscription.” It helps to be able to visually see where your money is going.
If you are a saver, enjoy the fruits of your labor. You have the opportunity to do this. It’s okay for you to spend a little bit of money on yourself.
I like that you’re saying that because as you talked about your father and these concerts and experiences that you two were building together, it wasn’t a tangible item. It was an experience. My family would always say like, “You can’t die with your money,” because I do have some people in my family that are super frugal and we could never understand why. It’s like, “You can’t die with it. Use it. Enjoy it.”
What’s interesting is knowing that I have lots of savers in my life now. I want them to experience their stuff. It’s funny because Matt sees his parents taking another cruise. He sees his inheritance going down and I’m over here like, “Do it. Go for it. Go enjoy life.” My mom tries to be a saver but she’s not. It’s like, “I don’t want any money from you. Not that you have any to give me but I don’t want any.” I’d rather you use it than somehow think that you’re going to give me something, and then deny yourself in the present. That doesn’t make sense to me.
Also, savers need to realize that their time is valuable. The reason why I say this is my grandmother-in-law will literally drive all the way across from Las Vegas to Henderson to save $0.04 a gallon on gas.
We don’t go to four grocery stores on the weekends to shop for the ads.
This clearly will add at least 30 minutes to her commute each way, just to save $0.04 a gallon on gas. It’s not like she drives a semi where she has like, I don’t know how many gallons of gas they have. Let’s say $100. Hers is like a little Buick. It’s not worth it. Spend a little bit more on the gas nearby and enjoy the time that you’re saving and living life rather than commuting to save gas. I don’t understand.
What about security seekers? What advice do you have for yourself?
What helped me the most was connecting with a financial planner. That person I felt was an advocate and was able to explain things to me in a way that made sense. It didn’t feel like I was necessarily taking a risk because I could see the reward. It felt as if it was a smart but calculated risk that I was taking. A lot of the time I just felt overwhelmed because I didn’t understand the different investment opportunities and retirement options that I wasn’t exploring. By working together, I felt like I was able to take riskier investment options because I had more information to help me make that decision.
That makes a lot of sense. I have a friend who I believe is probably a security seeker. When she was looking to buy a car, we were talking about different things and she thought a $300 car payment was completely wild and way too much. After we were having the conversation, I was like, “That’s good.” Part of it is having people whom you trust that you can start talking to money about and realizing you may think something super risky, and when you look at it in the grand scheme or you have somebody who you can bounce the idea off of, they can let you know. You’re still safe with it and here’s how it’s still a good deal or here’s how it is something that is not going to completely make you go bankrupt and that kind of thing.
That’s one of the things that my financial planner taught me. When I bought my house, I remember my real estate agent was like, “If you pay an extra mortgage payment a year, this is how much it’ll take off your loan.” I was doing that thinking here I am making a smart investment decision and stuff. My financial planner was like, “Stop doing that.”
He’s like, “The interest on your loan is so low and what you can earn in the market can be like two to three times that.” He’s like, “Stop doing that.” My retirement as a result of that has grown substantially. Here I was thinking I was making the best financial decision for me and I wasn’t. It wasn’t until I connected with the financial planner that being risk-averse, I was able to change my retirement strategy to something that was maybe a little bit riskier but in the end will a greater payout.
The final one, if you are an avoider, get acquainted with the reality of your financial situation. Go look at it. Please do that. Also, do things like set up autopay. Do things that’ll make it easier for yourself and the bank notifications, which I talked about as well before. That way, you have an idea of what your balances are if you have some big large purchase that you weren’t looking around at. Money doesn’t have to be scary. We make it scarier than it is.Money doesn't have to be scary. We make it scarier than what it actually is. Click To Tweet
I like what you said earlier in terms of how maybe we’re a spender now but because of your partner, you were able to take on new habits and behaviors because of him. Like in anything in life, it’s fluid. I was grounded in security seeker but I’m also a saver as well at times and stuff like that. It’s understanding that you can move in between these different profiles, but the most important thing is that understanding and addressing your subconscious patterns and how you relate to money can help you develop a healthier relationship with money. One that works for your lifestyle. One that works for your comfort level so that you continue to live the life you want.
Also, realize that money can be a stressor. If you have this area of your life out of whack, it’s hard for the rest of your life not to be impacted by it. Make sure you’re taking care of yourself and that means taking care of your money.
That’s it for this episode. Find us on Instagram @Pivotal_Moment_HQ for all the BTS and sister-like banter you know and love. We want to thank our producer and music director Ron Johnson.