finance

There are 4 types of spenders. Working out which one you are can be a game changer

Too often I talk to people who feel out of control financially.

They’re not certain if they have enough or if they are enough. 

They’re frustrated by their lack of knowledge, time, self-control and their unwillingness or inability to do something about it. 

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They’re desperate for a templated one-size-fits-all plan and often just want someone to tell them what to do. 

Or perhaps someone to walk around slapping their credit card out of their hand. 

This feeling leads us to believe we can’t do money well. That the problem lies with us. Whereas, I believe the problem lies with our financial system and the archaic (and lazy) one size fits all approach to money. 

In other words, you’re not broken, the system is. 

Instead of forcing people into a one-size fits all financial approach of restrictive budgets and categorising people into spenders and savers (or bad and good behaviour), it’s about accepting people for who they are and designing a system for where they’re at. 

If we understand the usual financial approach doesn’t work, what’s the solution? 

I believe the answer lies in discovering who we are and why we behave the way we do with money and designing a system of financial habits that is right for us. 

How we do that is through understanding something I call our unique Financial Phenotype – the combination of our Money Story & Environment (the influence of our environmental factors and life experience) and our Money Type (how you intrinsically behave with money or your money personality) and curating a bespoke suite of financial habits that are right for you. 

There are four parts to creating a financial solution that’s right for you. 

1. Your Money Story 

Your Money Story is the collection of your unique money scripts, money messages or money beliefs. 

It’s the stories in your head about whether you believe money is good, bad or okay. 

It’s created from your memories about money—whether that’s from your parents, your family and your peers or from the media and society in general. 

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Most importantly, just because you hold them doesn’t mean you should believe them or that they’re true. 

That’s because, for many of us, our Money Stories are in fact made up of money myths. 

Just because we’ve been brought up believing something to be true doesn’t make it so. 

Questions to ask to discover your Money Story include: 

  • What Money Stories did I learn from my parents, my peers, the media and those around me? 
  • How do these Money Stories differ from my Money Story as an adult? What Money Stories do I hold today? 
  • Is that Money Story serving or sabotaging me? 

2. Your Money Environment

Not many people are able to choose their environment growing up. 

But as we get older, too few of us are consciously curating environments that will enable us to flourish in our lives today — whether financially or otherwise. 

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Think about the following questions in relation to your Money Environment. 

  • How does my social circle influence my finances? Are these positive or negative influences? What is the evidence from my behaviour that they are positive or negative? 
  • What are some ways that I’m spending and investing in alignment with my values? What are some ways that I’m spending and investing out of alignment with my values? Who or what is influencing these decisions? 

3. Your Money Type

One of the hurdles we face when it comes to money is that we’re not used to recognising or observing our financial behaviours so, in the absence of this, sometimes having a system or catalogue to guide us is helpful. 

I’ve identified four different Money Types to help you define and recognise how you innately behave when it comes to your finances. 

These Money Types are: 

  • The Worker: Hard work will get you everywhere. 
  • The Creator: If you dream it, you can do it. 
  • The Discerner: You can think your way to success. 
  • The Relator: Success comes through collaboration.

4. Your Money Habits 

Recognising your Financial Phenotype is simply the first step. 

The most important step is to use that information to create great financial habits that are right for you. 

That’s because I don’t want this to simply be a cute concept or a fun thing to do. 

The best Money Habits for you will depend on your Money Story, Environment and Type.

They may involve financial challenges, gamification, money mantras, manifesting, extreme automation, group accountability, creating emotional goal, locking up your investments so you’re not tempted to touch them, using debt, setting up particular bank accounts and automating and so many more. 

You’ll know if a Money Habit isn’t right for you because it will seem jarring or wrong and conversely you’ll know if it’s right because it just makes sense. 

If we’re wired a particular way, we need to embrace that, not fight against it. We’ve rejected one size fits all approaches for most other parts of our life – from food to fashion to fitness to relationships to schooling and so much more – now it’s about embracing a personalised approach for our finances. 

Feature Image: Getty.

To discover more about your Financial Phenoytpe and the habits that are right for you, make sure you grab a copy of Melissa’s new book, Budgets Don’t Work (But This Does).

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