Examine your money personality

Finding financial decision-making fraught with stress? Examine your money personality.

COLUMN Deborah Carlyon

Finding financial decision-making fraught with stress? Examine your money personality.  
Moving house or renovating is an exciting time, a big milestone. But it also ranks among the top stressors in life, up there with death of a family member, divorce, relationship problems, finances, health, and changing jobs.
While traumatic life changes are obvious stressors, good relationships can be sorely tested during a home renovation. How many conflicts are created when it comes to choosing paint colours or the use of new spaces? Is the new rumpus room for the kids or will it boast a bar and flat screen television for dad and his mates? Is the garage to be better equipped than the kitchen? Is the new loft space a study or a sewing room?
Careful planning along with sensible give and take is required. But to make the process go more smoothly, it is really important to understand where each partner is coming from and what motivates them. And I don’t just mean agreeing on the décor – how much to spend and how to finance it can be sources of conflict if relevant money attitudes are not discussed. You might want to save all the money for the renovation first, whereas your partner is frustrated because they want to get the builders in right away and are quite relaxed about increasing the mortgage.
Late last year, I met with Brent Kessel, a successful US financial adviser who has written a book on the different financial beliefs and habits he has come across in his work. He summarises them as eight main archetypes in  ‘It’s Not About The Money’, published by Harper Collins.
Think of the patterns and money attitudes you have developed through your life experiences as you review his list. Brent summarises the positives and negatives for each money type as  ‘gifts’  and  ‘pitfalls’.               
THE GUARDIAN is always alert and careful. THE PLEASURE SEEKER prioritises pleasure and enjoyment in the here and now. THE IDEALIST places the greatest value on creativity, compassion, social justice, or spiritual growth. THE SAVER seeks security and abundance by accumulating more financial assets. THE STAR spends, invests, or gives money away to be recognised, feel hip or classy, and increase self-esteem. THE INNOCENT avoids putting significant attention on money and believes or hopes that life will work out for the best. THE CARETAKER gives and lends money to express compassion and generosity. THE EMPIRE BUILDER thrives on power and innovation to create something of enduring value.
Brent goes on to say that aspects of each archetype are in all of us:  “For instance, we all worry to some extent when it comes to money, so we all have some Guardian in us. We all experience the pleasure of buying things, so all of us are familiar with the Pleasure Seeker. In real life, however, we usually lean too much in one direction. In addition, people are imbalanced to varying degrees within each archetype. Even though behaviours may manifest in imbalanced ways in our adult lives, there is something very intelligent at the source of each archetype’s coping strategy. For example, a dysfunctional Saver might be penny pinching or saving much more than he or she needs to, but at heart this person is focused on financial self-sufficiency, which is a reasonable goal.”
Recognising and understanding parts of yourself and your partner in these money personalities, and enhancing the strengths of each, will go a long way to smoothing not only your renovation project but also your financial future together. 
For a bit of fun, try the Retirement Commission’s quiz at www.sorted.org.nz. A warning though, Sorted has come up with a daunting list of 16 money personality types.

You might be interested in reading: Get your money working smarter.

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This article featured on page 56 of Issue 006 of New Zealand Renovate Magazine. New Zealand's first and only magazine solely dedicated to home renovations.

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*All information is believed to be true at time of publishing and is subject to change.

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