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Money Personalities


In the last article, we looked at what money is and why understanding what it is matters so much to our own personal financial situation (read it here). This week, we are going to look at money personalities , and help you figure out what YOUR money personality is. We all recognize that people have different personalities. Some people are very outgoing and funny – others are more reserved and serious. Personalities help make each of us unique, and each personality has strengths and weaknesses to it. The same is true of money personalities – read on and take the quiz at the end to see where you fall on the matrix.

 This matrix and the following descriptions are summarized from Bert Whitehead’s book, Why Smart People Do Stupid Things with Money: Overcoming Financial Dysfunction.

Understanding the Matrix

Along the left side of the matrix is the level of risk you generally take, from an attitude of fear (very low level of risk acceptance) to an attitude of greed (very high level of risk acceptance). Along the bottom of the matrix is your level of spending, from a high saver on the left side to a low saver on the far-right side. 

The Types

Extreme Types


Scrooges are at the top left of the matrix. Scrooges are highly motivated to accumulate wealth and are very good savers. This personality type tends to be very distrustful of others and uses money to control others. Scrooges are susceptible to making big mistakes when it comes to taxes (because they may try to take shortcuts to save money on taxes) and investments (because they can be overconfident in their ability to select investments). 


Gamblers are very motivated to get rich, but tend to be extreme spenders. Many times, the gambler has addiction problems. The gambler often swings from over-optimism in his ability to “strike it rich” to deep regret and depression. Gamblers are susceptible to financial schemes that promise quick riches. They are also susceptible to becoming involved in whitecollar-crime because their spending is unsustainable. 


Misers are at the bottom left of the matrix. These people are very good savers, but base financial decisions on fear. Misers keep most of their savings in very low-return investments such as bank savings accounts or certificates of deposit. They are very afraid of losing what they have saved. Misers are susceptible to being taken advantage of by financial salesman who exploit the miser’s fear. Misers also generally do not allow the money they have saved to be a blessing to them or those around them. 


Shopaholics tend to be fun people to be around! They enjoy spending on themselves and others – they always pick up the tab. Most of the time, spending has become an addiction for the shopaholic, and they are very disorganized with financial records. 

More Typical Types


Entrepreneurs are risk-takers that generally start businesses. Much of the time, the entrepreneur’s financial resources and relationships are all tied to the business. Money is an important motivator for the entrepreneur. This person is typically susceptible to having too much of his or her assets tied to the business and not having enough cash available to weather down turns in the business. 


Nesters are good at saving, and put much of their savings into their home. Nesters are very community and family-focused. Nesters do well with money, but tend to make a couple financial mistakes. First, they typically try and pay off their mortgage as quickly as possible instead of being diversified with their investments. Nesters are also susceptible to the time-share and vacation home salesman.

Bon Vivant

Bon vivants are the “work hard, play hard” crowd. Bon vivants work hard because of the status that money can bring them. Bon vivants like to spend money on things that save them time and showoff their success. Bon vivants may be susceptible to salesman who exploit the bon vivant’s desire for status.


For the traveler, money is not a huge concern. Travelers tend to be minimalistic and spend money on experiences rather than material things. Travelers enjoy being in the moment, but tend to neglect financial planning for the future.

Take this short quiz to determine your money personality:

1. How would you describe your level of accepting risk?

  • The most important thing to do with my money is keep it safe. (1 point)
  • I believe a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush. (2 points)
  • Risk-taking often makes me worry. (3 points)
  • I am generally conservative when dealing with risk. (4 points)
  • Sometimes I take risks and sometimes I play it safe. (5 points)
  • I am generally aggressive when dealing with risk. (6 points)
  • Sometimes I take risk on impulse. (7 points)
  • I take big risks, but choose them carefully. (8 points)
  • I'm willing to take a lot of risk for the chance of a big financial reward. (9 points)

2. How would you describe your saving/spending inclinations?

  • I squeeze every penny I can out of my budget. (1 point)
  • Use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without. (2 points)
  • I am a very careful shopper and use coupons. (3 points)
  • I buy quality and rely on brand names. (4 points)
  • I save 10% of my income. (5 points)
  • I like to pamper myself with little things. (6 points)
  • I love to really splurge once in a while. (7 points)
  • Life is short. Eat dessert first. (8 points)
  • I spend every penny I get! (9 points)

Calculating Your Money Personality

Take your score from question 1, and locate this on the left side of the grid below. Then, take your score from question 2, and locate this on the bottom section of the below grid. Your money personality is where the two scores intersect in the grid.

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