By James Battiston | Published February 2, 2023
For the fifth year in a row, Canadians viewed money as their biggest source of stress, according to the 2022 FP Canada survey. Last year also brought more pessimism about money, with two out of five Canadians saying that they felt less hopeful than they did in 2021.
While times are indeed tough, your relationship with money might be making things a lot worse.
Ken Honda has spent years studying how people relate to money, and has pinpointed the seven most common personality types. We sat down with the “Zen Millionaire” to learn more about how your money personality might be helping or ruining your financial well-being, plus what you can do about it.
The seven types according to Ken Honda:
Your money habits say a lot about you, and can be hard to break. Honda has spoken to thousands of people about their money over his career, and has seen the same traits appear time and time again.
“When you get together with [moneymakers], they always talk about cryptocurrency or whatever the thing is they do,” says Honda. “They love to make money.”
Moneymaker’s are fueled by external validation. They want approval and recognition from others. In romantic relationships, they are generally attracted to spenders, which can be a dangerous combination.
If this sounds familiar, you’ll benefit from finding a balance between making and saving money, but also enjoying it. You may find fulfillment by giving money to charity or by taking up a hobby that doesn’t require money at all.
This personality feels anxiety about finances regardless of how much money they have. Honda says that worriers are generally pessimistic and lack self-confidence.
Worriers have a fear about life in general, one that they project onto money. Without addressing what the real route of your fear is, you’ll be unable to make peace with your finances.
Bring a positive perspective when saving money by imagining the fun things you can do with it. You might focus on a vacation you would like to take, or something fun you can do for your family to bring them joy.
The Compulsive Spender:
Compulsive spenders, no matter the situation, dispose of their money as quickly as they get it.
In his book, “Happy Money: The Japanese Art of Making Peace with Your Money,” Honda suggests that this personality needs to feel in control, and often suffers from low self-esteem.
If this feels like you, take time to consider the reason behind your purchases.Pause for a moment before acquiring things, and ask yourself if you really need it. Question why you are purchasing something, and if it is not essential, reconsider buying it.
The Compulsive Saver:
These people are the polar opposite of spenders. The saver will take any money they get and immediately stash it away.
Honda writes that savers generally come from households that faced financial troubles. This creates anxiety about money, which prevents them from enjoying things like hobbies.
To overcome this, explore where your fears about money come from. Confronting your anxiety allows you to let go of your fear of losing money, and therefore enjoy a fuller life.
Whether it’s going to a casino or betting online, gamblers are addicted to the thrill of risk. The danger gets drowned out by the hope of a big win.
In order to reset your relationship with money, Honda recommends finding a healthier outlet for your addiction. Putting your power into a hobby provides a different way of spending your energy. This will allow you to see the source of your addiction and find a healthier balance in your life.
This personality gets by without giving much thought to money. Honda cites one of his friends as an example.
“He didn’t know he lost his wallet for a week,” said Honda. His friend only found out when police returned it.
The indifferent-to-money personality is often regarded as a happy personality, and is generally focused on non-material goods, like academic success.
You may rely on others to take care of financial matters, such as letting your spouse take care of your expenses. This can be risky if something happens to your partner, and you’re unsure of how your money is managed.
Start engaging more directly with your accounts, and become aware of where your money is going and how to manage day-to-day financial affairs.
Honda recognizes that there are grey areas in personality types, and sometimes individuals will demonstrate more than one trait.
The seventh personality he identifies are saver-splurgers. This personality will be highly regimented and serious, but then be prone to impulsive spending.
Honda believes this personality is trying to control their life through their relationship with money. You can work relentlessly, save your money and then make an extravagant purchase you regret.
“If you’re a spender,” Honda says, “you have the biggest fear of missing out, whereas worriers, they have the same fear but they’re worried about money.”
In order to overcome the anxiety you feel related to spending, Honda recommends confronting your fear head on. Identify where your fear comes from, and discover positive ways to face it.
Your money blueprint
In “Happy Money,” Honda argues that your relationship with money is born from how your parents related to their finances, creating a “money blueprint.”
For example, if as a child, your parents tell you they can’t afford to get you something you want, you may feel like you aren’t worth it. How you internalize this over time can define your money personality.
But this doesn’t mean you can’t change your habits.
In Honda’s experience, when people worry about money, they are, in fact, worrying about a future without money.
Honda acknowledges that in North America, having open conversations about money with friends and colleagues is a bit taboo. But having a support system of friends and family that you can discuss your finances with, lets you discover other perspectives on how to relate to money. Having strong friendships and interpersonal relationships is one way you can achieve a healthier relationship with your finances.
If you learn to be vulnerable and ask for help when it comes to your issues, you can reduce your anxiety and stress and gain more control over your money, instead of it controlling you.