Identifying your Money Personality

I came across this concept of Money personality recently. I kind-of knew that there are certain traits that can be identified as common between some people. But that there exist a study and categorisation on this, is something new to me.

It is all over the internet and you can read about it. I am going to talk about my own categorisation, from my own experience with myself and people around me.

I first realised a certain money personality I have when it actually went through a change.

To be honest, I never really thought anything about money till after post graduation. I don’t come from a rich family but I was privileged. All credit for that to my parents. They did not spoil us with all we wanted, but they gave us all that mattered.

I talk to people around and see how they remember what was not perfect about their childhood. And I feel so blessed that I find my childhood absolutely perfect! It went like a breeze, a beautiful breeze.

Then I grew up.

Money Indifferent-ers

When I got possibly the “highest” salary in campus, till then also money did not mean much.

Then I informed my parents and in-laws of my placement. They have never ever sounded so happy before that. They started talking about how it was five times my previous salary and how the life was set and I have got a good place to launch my career etc.

Looking back, I find it funny how people around had no idea how little that salary mattered to me.

As weird as it may sound, I really did not have any concept of money ever. My friends can vouch for this.

I was always too free with my money and my things. Nothing ever was too expensive to care a lot for, to not share, to not give away.

My parents were breaking their back to ensure I had enough. But somewhere on the way, I lost value of their effort and the money they provided me with.

Because I had such an approach, I ended up not saving anything from my “highest” salary, my own hard earned money.

And that’s why I double quoted the “highest” all through. Because I managed to degrow it to Zero.

So here’s some gyaan – it really does not matter where you start from. What matters is how far ahead or behind you go from where you started. That is what will shape your life.

Identifiers :

  • You are the first one to offer and pay on a group lunch. For entire group.  
  • You tend to buy good stuff and then are more than happy when you can share it with someone, or better yet give it away to someone. (Sharing & caring is great, but you will know when it is abnormal. Mostly your closest friends will tell you. At least my friends did)
  • If you have Rs 100 on you, you can give away Rs 95 in a blink of an eye if you know someone needs it. You will figure out a way to live with Rs 5. (Again, as noble as it sounds, this is very, very dangerous.)
  • You get uncomfortable if someone else pay your bill, even if you have paid all previous ones.
  • You can never ask for money.

The Money Watchers

Things changed as I landed in Mumbai. I saw a change in my money personality.

The flow of money from parents and “highest” salary had stopped. We were on our own. I started caring about money. About how much we were spending and why?

I changed from Money indifferent-er to Money watcher.

Let me tell you, the intrinsic personality, I doubt, ever changes. You can only make an effort to not let it come out, to control it once you know that it is doing you more harm than good.

And so I started keeping check. To first of all save, even if some 5-10k per month.Back then, I did not know as much as I know now, and so I started a Recurring Deposit.

I also started curbing my urge to pay entire bill, learned to split the bill and to buy good stuff but not go out of my way offering everyone to take it away from me!

Identifiers :

  • You tend to keep an eye on every spend by yourself or your partner
  • You only want to pay for what you had. If you are the only vegetarian and teetotaler in a group, carrying this personality is your worst nightmare.
  • You check a place’s menu and rate card before stepping in for dinner.
  • You restrict the movie outings to only watch the ones that have good reviews. That too morning shows.
  • You don’t care if the money is invested or where it is invested, till it is not being spent. That is all you care about.

The Money Renouncers

And then came those turns that led us to pursue our “passions”. And we embraced the passion and renounced the money! Because money is for rat racers, not for people who walk an off-beaten path. Right? Well, nothing can be more wrong.

To not be able to fund your own passion is the worst way to treat it. And yourself.

To think that others are obligated to do that for you, your parents, partners or friends, is the worst way to treat them. And yourself.

And therefore, when you don’t have as much money as it requires, you become a renouncer. Because otherwise it does not give you a very good feeling about yourself.

And so we stopped shopping and travelling and going out and watching movies.

We renounced everything that would cost us money.

And we renounced money too, with the same old “it is a rat race and we don’t want to run it.”

Identifiers :

  • You think money is not important.
  • You secretly feel superior to everyone else who work 9 to 5 to earn money.
  • You think your passion entitles you to favors by people close to you.  
  • Your defence to anything money is that you will not mind helping others WHEN you have it.
  • If someone was to ask, “When will you have money?”. Answer is “who cares!” or some variation of it!
  • You think no one understands you.

The Money Respecters

And then we were thrown a curveball. Not a great timing I must say, we were not prepared. Saw some tough times and then after a while settled back in jobs with salary coming in every month.

And dayum! I was not a renouncer any more.

I understood money is important and I was on my own two feet again. I liked how money could let me do things.

Like just sit and do nothing on weekends. And not worry or feel guilty about idleness too. I don’t know how many will identify with this feeling.

I started respecting whatever I got and neither overspent nor renounced the money. I learned to  use what is required, without compromising on impulses, and keep rest of it away.

Identifiers :

  • You value money for what it does to your quality of life
  • You don’t feel superior or inferior based on the quantum of your earning. You are just thankful it is there.
  • You look to educate yourself about how you can manage money better.
  • You get disciplined with your money management.
  • You don’t compromise on entertainment, luxury or impulses but you budget that in your expenses.

I am here now. But I do have two more personalities I have identified.

Money Flaunters

This is the most easy to recall. We all know someone who play the status game, right?

I find these people very cute really. They end up somehow making sure you know what they have is for how much? Where they are splurging next? The brand they are wearing etc .

Money flaunters mostly end up flaunting much more than they actually have. You know how I know this. Because I have seen money makers up close.

And they are exact opposite.

Money Makers

This person makes money and is rich. Wealthy as fish.

But she lives such an obscure existence, you won’t be able to tell her in the crowd. She wears branded clothes but the brand name does not scream out of the clothes. She carries a simple looking expensive bag that in all probability she will keep out of your sight, under the table. Or you may just find her with a backpack on both her shoulders, with looks of a woman on a day job.

But this person makes money. Has money. Makes so much of it that it has become a lifestyle now. She is less bothered about how much she has and more bothered about what her money is doing for her.

Money makers employ their money and make sure they get best performance out of it.

Don’t be confused. They don’t hide their money. On the contrary, they will be very forthcoming on how much they have, if you were to ask them. But they don’t flaunt it either. They don’t see a sense in that.

It helps to know

Having gone through some of these phases myself and with a desire to go through last two as well (to own something worth flaunting is a dream!), I realised that it is not about a good personality or a bad personality.

It is about knowing how you behave with money.

To just be aware.

And, to play your strengths and work your weaknesses.

Now, good luck with trying to not judge every person you meet!


Also published on Medium.

4 Comments

  1. When I started my first job, I had this dream to earn enough to never look at the price tag of the item I liked. Fortunately, my love revolves around books, so I achieved this quite easily. But I also agree with the fact that flaunting wealth is really crass. Another great article here.

  2. I identify with many traits you described. I think it is uncouth to flaunt money. At the same time I should have enough so that I can spend when I want. Most of the time when you have the freedom, the desire vanishes. I also should be able to give to the needy, a certain amount at regular interval. I do not like anyone paying my bill. I don’t know what this make me. But these are the traits I could recognise from your post.

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