Kathleen Gurney is a US-based psychologist who specialises in money-related matters. Having worked with hundreds of men and women from all backgrounds and income levels, her research showed that, besides the physical, emotional and social self, we humans also have a financial or money self.

Meet the 9 Money Personalities

Since 1981 Kathleen has researched the reasons why people earn, spend, save and invest in the ways they do. Nine distinct financial personality groups were identified, whereby members from each group shared similar attitudes about money management and investing.

You may identify most closely with one of the nine money personalities. Your style is like a balance sheet, where some traits serve as assets and some as liabilities. We make better use of our money when we use our personal assets and work with our style.

These are the second-highest income earners, usually tertiary education graduates and usually married. They feel hard work, diligence and effort will pay off better than anything else. They are proud of their accomplishments, but tend to distrust others' honesty with money. They are conservative and not interested in risking assets they have worked hard to accumulate. Protection is a primary consideration. Being take-charge types, they have a strong need to control their money.

The most male-dominated profile, driven by a passion for excellence and commitment, which helps them achieve their goals. Despite being the highest income earners, they are workaholics who are not motivated by money alone (it is used as a scorecard to measure their achievements). They enjoy the power and prestige money brings. They are proud and reward themselves with the best cars, homes, wines, etc. Investing in the stock market is their favoured strategy.

Money presents infinite possibilities. They are thrill seekers who enjoy the ride of financial risk but are only mildly interested in where it takes them. They seek power. Money brings them instant power and recognition. They are creative, extroverted, and competitive. They work hard and play hard; for them, money is an emotional release. They prefer to risk their assets rather than sit back bored by financial security. If they do not learn how to manage their styles, they end up with low pride and contentment.

They are usually highly educated, with a live-for-today financial style. They are often women and average to above-average income earners who make purchasing decisions with their hearts, not with their heads. They use impulsive spending as a way they reward themselves. They have a strong work ethic, like the Entrepreneurs, but lack the Entrepreneurs' confidence. They attribute success to luck rather than ability and judgment. Once they understand their traits, they can make dramatic financial progress.

They balance their finances with the degree of contentment and security they derive from their money. They are the No. 1 wealth accumulators even though they don't necessarily earn the most. They rank first in degree of desired involvement with their money and enjoy participation. They trust the recommendations of others and act on sound advice. Pure luck has little chance here. Success through determination is their philosophy.

They are so afraid of making a mistake that they often avoid making a decision. They forever try harder, but lack self-esteem, especially about their money. They have the least pride in handling financial matters. They have tunnel vision, consider every angle and find fault with the potential of practically any risk venture. Finding suitable investments is difficult for them.

They rank high in work ethic but lower in earned income due to lack of self confidence in money management skills. This leads to some real frustrations: they work hard, desire more and feel they have difficulty getting ahead financially. Financial investment/education can be very rewarding since they often don't understand how the money system works. They do not evaluate risks carefully and rarely profit from them. They lack confidence in making financial decisions.

These are the people to whom money has brought peace of mind. They have the fewest anxieties and tend to be proud and content. They are the least reflective, and their money decisions are somewhat impulsive but not risk-oriented. Often in or near retirement, they are more interested in enjoying their money than making it grow. They are not highly involved with their money, taxes or investments, which could cause them stress and impinge on their enjoyment.

They score the lowest in self determination. They are average earners, and most of their money goes into safe and secure investments. They lack the confidence and motivation to reap more growth by taking more calculated risk (even though well educated). They take the path of least resistance, feel they are doing just fine, and repeat whatever investment strategies seemed to work for them before.

© Kathleen Gurney, Ph.D.

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