published Thursday, September 30th, 2010

Upton: Personality shapes money habits

Wondering when you’ll save enough money to buy something you really want? Can’t explain why you’ve maxed out your credit cards yet again? Wishing you didn’t feel so guilty every time you bought something?

Chances are the reasons for these internal conflicts are more complex than you might think.

Though income, job security and the economy may play a role in how you’re doing financially, more research is pointing to something a little more personal. Your personality itself may be one of the biggest factors in your money-management situation.

There’s no reason to feel guilty, however. We are all a complex mixture of temperament and life experiences. The good news is that once you figure out what’s steering your financial life, you can choose to venture down a new route.

At a recent conference, Clarksville, Tenn.-based psychologist James Dodson gave participants personality tests to help them see its impact on their relationships with money. There were exclamations of surprise as people resonated with many of the tendencies predicted in the results of the test.

Deborah L. Price, founder and CEO of the Money Coaching Institute, has created simple categories for how individuals view and manage finances. These money personalities are listed below:

* Innocents — These people live in denial about money, are easily overwhelmed and rely heavily on advice from others.

* Victims — These people often live in the past and blame their financial woes on external factors. Many “victims” have been abused, betrayed or have suffered some great financial loss. Until a “victim” faces his or her pain and releases the past, they may experience life as a self-fulfilling prophecy.

* Warriors — These people set out to conquer the money world and are usually seen as successful in the business and financial worlds. “Warriors” are adept investors, focused, decisive and in control. They will listen to advisers, then make their own decisions and rely on their own instincts and resources to guide them.

* Martyrs — Financially speaking, “martyrs” usually do more for others than they do for themselves. They often rescue others. “Martyrs” tend to have a history of self-sacrifice and suffering and sometimes find it difficult to receive from others.

* Fools — These people really are a combination of “innocents” and “warriors” (but without the discipline). “Fools” are eternal optimists regardless of the circumstances. “Fools” are gamblers by nature and act on impulse.

* Artists — These people are usually on a spiritual or artistic path. They often find living in the material world difficult and frequently have a conflicted love/hate relationship with money. They struggle with money due to their inner conflict that it is either bad or lacking in spirituality.

* Tyrants — These people hoard money, using it to manipulate and control others. Although “tyrants” may have everything they need or desire, they never feel complete, comfortable or at peace. The “tyrant’s” greatest fear is loss of control.

* Magician — The “magician” is the ideal money type. “Magicians” are fully awake and aware of themselves personally and financially. Magicians are armed with the knowledge of the past, have made peace with their personal histories, and understand that their power exists within, in their ability to see and live the truth of who they are. They are who we all should strive to be.

Becoming aware of your money personality is the first key to improving one’s attitude and behavior toward it. In a culture where the vast majority of individuals report feeling some level of money stress, it’s well worth the effort.

Tabi Upton is a therapist at Richmont-CBI Counseling Center and founder of www.chattanoogacounselor.com, a self help resource website. Email her at tabiupton@bellsouth.net.

about Tabi Upton...

Tabi Upton, MA-LPC is a therapist at New Beginnings Counseling Center.

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