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Personality dictates all aspects of your life, so it should be no surprise that personality significantly affects the way you deal with money. Understanding your money personality is the first step toward financial health, helping you uncover your approach to spending, saving, and investing, and where you need to take action.

Understanding your money personality is the first step toward financial health, helping you uncover your approach… and where you need to take action.

So what’s your money personality? The five major profiles are:


  • Big Spenders: Big spenders love nice cars, new gadgets and brand-name clothing. Big spenders aren’t bargain shoppers; they are comfortable spending money, don’t fear debt, and often take big risks when investing.
  • Savers: Savers are the exact opposite. They turn off the lights when leaving the room, shop only when necessary, and rarely make purchases with credit cards. Generally, they have no debts and are often viewed as “cheapskates.” Savers are conservative and don’t take big risks with their investments.
  • Shoppers: Shoppers derive great emotional satisfaction from spending money. They often can’t resist spending, even for items they don’t need, or which puts them in debt. Shoppers are eclectic in terms of investing: Some invest regularly through 401(k)/403(b) plans, and may even invest a portion of any sudden windfalls, while others see investing as something they’ll get to eventually.
  • Debtors: Debtors simply don’t spend much time thinking about their money, and don’t keep tabs on what they spend or where. Debtors generally spend more than they earn, are deeply in debt, and don’t put much thought into investing. Similarly, they often fail to even take advantage of the company match in their 401(k)/403(b) plans.
  • Investors: Investors are consciously aware of money. They understand their financial situation, and try to put their money to work. Their actions are driven by careful decision-making, and their investments reflect the need to take a certain amount of risk in pursuit of their goals.

Advice for your personality

Once you recognize yourself in one of these profiles and have put some thought into how you approach money, it’s time to see what you can do to make the most of what you have. Remember: Small changes can yield big results!


  • Spenders: Shop a little less, save a little more.
    If you love to spend, consider long-term value. Before you splurge, stop and give yourself 24 hours to “cool down.” Ask yourself how much that purchase is going to mean to you in a year; if the answer is “not much,” skip it. This will help you limit your spending to things you’ll actually use, give you extra funds to channel into saving, and force you to think long-term. If you really want to challenge yourself, start scaling back. (Find more spending tips here!)

Before you splurge, stop and give yourself 24 hours to “cool down.” Ask yourself how much that purchase is going to mean to you in a year.

  • Savers: Use moderation.
    Don’t skip all the fun stuff just to save a few pennies: Plan your savings so that you can enjoy life and capitalize on your personality. And rather than hiding your savings under the proverbial mattress, grow it by making smart investments.
  • Shoppers: Don’t spend money you don’t have.
    Shoppers need to take control of their credit cards. Unchecked credit card interest can wreak havoc on your finances, so think before you spend – and only use cash. Instead of shopping, take up a new hobby that doesn’t require additional spending. Try to refocus your drive to spend into saving.
  • Debtors: Climb out and start investing.
    If you are a debtor, you need to get your finances in order and set up a plan to get out of debt. Fortunately, there are free debt calculators (like this one) and planning tools (like this one) available online that can help you face your debt and tackle it methodically, with great results.
  • Investors: Keep up the good work.
    Congratulations! Financially speaking, you are doing great. Keep doing what you are doing, and continue to educate yourself.

The bottom line

While you may not be able to change your personality, you can acknowledge it and address the challenges that it presents. Managing your money involves self-awareness; knowing where you stand will allow you to modify your behavior to achieve your desired outcome.

Adapted from this article on


On budget planning
My new money goal worksheet (Consumer Financial Protection Bureau)
Debt payoff calculator (
My spending rule to live by (Consumer Financial Protection Bureau)
Not sure how to handle your finances and student aid (grants, scholarships, loans, work-study) while you’re in school? (Office of Federal Student Aid)
The 8 best budgeting apps to download in 2018 (The Balance)
8 best personal finance apps (Investopedia)

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