You’ve probably heard of love languages and how they can help you connect with a romantic partner, friends, and coworkers. Many financial experts say there’s a language you use with your money, too. It's often called your money personality — a term that Ken Honda coined in his book "Happy Money: The Japanese Art of Making Peace With Your Money." And there’s not one, not two, not three…but seven. So we did the legwork to break down each one to help you figure out which personality you fit.
Back up, what’s a money personality?
According to Honda’s book, it’s the way you interact with money — which has a lot to do with your comfort level with budgeting, investing, and everything in between. Example: You’ll probably struggle with investing your extra income if you’re an expert at saving cash. Knowing your money personality is a huge step in the right direction if your goal is financial stability.
How do I figure out my money personality?
Start by thinking about how comfortable you are with handling your finances, and what makes you feel financially successful. Next, take a look at Honda’s seven money personalities to see which one you resonate with the most.
The Compulsive Saver
The details: Saving money is your main source of security in life. As in, you pour most of your income into savings, with no specific goal in mind.
Pros: You know how to save a buck and cut back on expenses. Whether that’s scoring the cheapest plane tickets or negotiating bills.
Cons: You might skip out on things you would really enjoy, like that fancy dinner or beach vacation. All because you’re only focused on the amount in your bank account.
The Compulsive Spender
The details: Hey, big spender. Buying new things gives you a rush of serotonin. You might even enjoy treating others to something special — no special occasion needed.
Pros: You have no problem treating yourself. Hello, Renaissance tour ticket.
The Compulsive Money Maker
The details: Nothing makes you happier than earning more money. If you’re addicted to side hustles or having multiple jobs — even though you can live and save comfortably without the extra money — you’re a good fit for this category.
Pros: You can crush your financial goals with your eyes closed. Even FIRE might not be a big enough challenge for you.
Cons: You might have a tendency to put money before everything else in life. Don't be surprised if that comes with strained relationships with a partner or friends.
The Indifferent-to-Money Personality
The details: Money is not top of mind for you. That could be for a number of reasons: You have so much of it you're not worried about it, you follow the 'out of sight, out of mind' mentality, or you believe having too much money is a bad thing.
Pros: Like the compulsive spender, you’re pretty good at enjoying the moment. Unlike the compulsive money maker, you’re determined not to spend the bulk of your time chasing extra dollars.
Cons: Since money isn’t on your radar, you could find yourself being too dependent on others if or when you run out. Remember: If you aren’t tracking your finances, it’s easy to overspend.
The Saver Splurger
The details: Consider this a hybrid of the compulsive saver and compulsive spender. That’s because you’re constantly in cycles of saving up, then splurging all your savings.
Pros: You have the discipline to build a big F-you fund when it’s needed the most. You also understand how necessary it is to reward yourself for a job well done.
Cons: The major imbalance in your financial health can lead to financial anxiety.
The details: There’s no reward without risk. If you’re a gambler, you might find yourself constantly searching for risky investments.
Pros: You’re probably really good at bringing in extra income in emergencies. Like the compulsive money maker, you might be into the idea of a side hustle to rack in more cash.
Cons: Remember the risk involved in this personality type? You might have suffered some devastating losses because of bad investments or other money moves. Savings is probably non-existent for you if you’re focused on the thrill of gambling.
Pros: You keep a close eye on your finances. You’re in charge of the family budget, and you know where every penny goes.
Cons: Your anxiety around money might be keeping you from enjoying the wins. If your constant focus is losing it all, safe to say you’re a worrier. And definitely not a gambler.
Can I change my money personality?
Making adjustments to your money personality can be a real challenge. That’s because, according to money coach Carrie Casden, you’ve probably had your money habits since you were around seven years old.
If you’re up for a challenge, focus on balancing your finances if you want to make sure the cons of your money personality don’t take over. Make an effort to save with a purpose — and spend on the things that spark joy. If you need budget help, the 50/20/30 method could be a good start. That way, even if gambling is your money language, you’re only risking what you can actually afford to lose. That shouldn’t include the money you need to cover bills or emergency funds.
If you’re struggling to meet your financial goals, or constantly finding your savings balance at zero, it might be time to think about your money personality. Knowing where you fit might give you insight into why you seem to be running in place — and how to start getting on track.
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