Your personality influences the way you handle money – knowing your MBTI type could be the key to building good financial habits.
Money is such an intricate part of our lives that we all have our own particular habits and rituals around it. However, where do these tendencies come from? Why do some of us have a hard time saving money, while others have no idea what to do with the wealth they so easily seem to amass?
Not surprisingly, our personality types influence the way we approach and handle money. Thus, learning about our personality also gives us clues about our money attitudes.
Among the most popular personality tests today is the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI). The MBTI measures your personality along four axes - extraversion vs introversion; sensing vs intuition; thinking vs feeling; and judging vs perceiving. Your results for each of these 4 axes are then combined, resulting in one of 16 possible MBTI types.
To investigate how our MBTI corresponds with our money habits, we first take a look at what each of the 4 main axes says about the way we handle money.
Extraversion versus Introversion
The first axis in the MBTI is labelled Extraversion - Introversion, or the E-I pair. It describes how each of us sources our energy. If you tend to become energised the more you interact with people, or find social activities uplifting and refreshing, you probably fall towards the E end of the scale. Conversely, introverts regularly need to spend time by themselves to ponder and reflect, recharging themselves in the process.
Money traits of E-I
Because of their sociable nature, Extraverts can find themselves overspending on social activities, pulling out all the stops for their annual vacation with friends. This can lead to regrettable impulse buys, and even credit card debt and/or little to no savings.
Introverts - who rely mostly on their own judgment - can tend to take too narrow a view, which can cause them to miss out on good financial opportunities. They could also be locked into a repeating pattern of sub-optimal purchases or investments because they simply lacked a different viewpoint.
Both Extraverts and Introverts would benefit from seeking the advice of trusted close friends when making important money decisions. Doing so will give Extraverts a chance to lay out and examine their thoughts - thus saving themselves from risky or wasteful purchases. Meanwhile, Introverts will benefit from alternative viewpoints they may not have considered on their own.
Sensing versus Intuition
This next axis - aka the S-N (N for iNtuition) pair - describes how you take in information, and how you arrive at decisions or conclusions. People who fall on the S end of the axis tend to seek information that is detailed, specific and sequential. Conversely, people who fall on the N end of the axis tend to display a preference for the ‘big picture’, so they can intuit for themselves what it all means.
Money traits of S-N
Sensers often display a knack for managing detailed data, which means they are most often the one who remembers what each person ordered at dinner, and what they owe. However, it is this hyper-focus on details that can cause them trouble.
Extraverted Sensers tend to have a “right here-right now” approach towards money, which means they can have trouble seeing how their money decisions affect long-term plans.
Introverted Sensers might become too invested in their own data, becoming unable to consider alternative ideas. This can prevent them from making meaningful progress towards their money goals.
People falling on the N end of the scale have no trouble coming up with future financial goals - but they might flounder in how to get there. If this describes you, grab your Senser friend and sit down together to work out a detailed plan.
Thinking versus Feeling
The third axis - or the T-F pair - describes how you evaluate the information you receive. People who are Thinkers tend to think about the task at hand. The decisions they come up with are often objective and logical.
Feelers are aware of how their decisions and actions affect the people around them. As such, they tend to weigh their choices against the possible consequences on others.
Money traits of T-F
Thinkers are rational, including when it comes to financial matters. Although this is generally good, Thinkers might find themselves over-analyzing even small financial decisions. They could also end up delaying or sacrificing personal financial goals.
The trick, then, is to give yourself regular opportunities to do what you feel like doing, instead of what you think you should do.
Because Feelers place other’s feelings highly, they may run the risk of making bad financial decisions just to please others. Or, they may let their emotions override logic - which can lead to some questionable financial choices.
Feelers should regularly challenge their money decisions, perhaps by seeking out logical arguments for and against. They could also practice making Pros vs Cons lists.
Judging versus Perceiving
The fourth and final axis - the J-P pair - is concerned with how we organise the world. Simply put, people tend to fall into two camps: those who seek tidy conclusions, and those who prefer having things more open-ended.
People who are Judges like closure. They like making decisions, and would happily tick things off as they go through their To-Do list.
Those who are Perceivers prefer not to rush into decisions. They are more comfortable with leaving things open-ended, and tend to take a more spontaneous approach to life.
Money traits of J-P
Because Judges feel a sense of satisfaction from closure, they are also prone to rushing into decisions - even if they do not have the full picture. This could result in a gnarly financial situation that could cost them to take a loss.
Restraint is the name of the game here - waiting even just a day or two could allow you the time to reconsider a risky investment.
If Judges tend to make decisions too quickly, then Perceivers tend to do so too slowly. Because of their more casual and flexible attitude, Perceivers tend to drag their feet when it comes to financial matters. This could cause them to miss good opportunities, or worse, never get down to putting important money matters in place.
The solution? Try setting more boundaries around important topics, such as a deadline by which to make a decision or take action.
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By Alevin Chan
A Certified Financial Planner with a curiosity about what makes people tick, Alevin's mission is to help readers understand the psychology of money. He's also on an ongoing quest to optimise happiness and enjoyment in his life.
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