With thousands of South Africans applying for debt counselling each month, the issue of bad debt is becoming personal for many people. We all know someone who has suffered the consequences of mismanaging credit, but could debt be linked to someone’s personality?
How Personality Affects Our Financial Attitudes
The link between our personalities, which are so different, and our attitude toward money has fascinated financial advisors for a long time. Why do certain people save faithfully each month while others run up debts? According to the American financial advisor and author Ray Linder, the link between personality types and financial behaviour could help us to understand the different financial decisions that we all make.
Linder’s theory about the different types of financial personalities out there is based on the different personality types that are used in the Myers-Briggs test – a questionnaire that was widely used by psychologists to divide the population according to the type of personality each of us has. According to Linder, there are four types of financial personalities: Protectors, Planners, Pleasers, and Players.
- Protectors are stable and reliable people. They tend to shop at the same store, follow a set schedule, and have a low appetite for risk.
- If you are a protector, you are less likely to apply for and use credit, and are likely to have sufficient savings for your retirement. However, sudden changes may take you by surprise, making you less adaptable in turbulent times.
- Planners tend to see themselves as intelligent and ambitious people with big plans for the future. They often enjoy successful corporate careers and have a strong set of life goals which they plan to achieve.
- If you’re a planner by nature you probably have your financial future mapped out over the long term. However, make sure that you don’t miss short-term opportunities while you keep your eye on the future – this includes avoiding debt.
- Pleasers tend to be emotional when it comes to money. They want the best for those around them and won’t hesitate to spend money if it means making someone else happy.
- If you’re a pleaser, you may need to keep an eye on your financial decisions. The satisfaction you get from making others happy could result in a heavy debt burden if you don’t monitor your spending carefully.
- Players are impulsive, live for the moment, and hate to be held back or restricted when it comes to living life to the fullest. Unlike Protectors and Planners, these people often prioritise the present over the future.
- If you find yourself making impulsive financial decisions quite often, you may be at risk of accumulating bad debts. By limiting your impulsiveness to activities that don’t require too much spending, you should be able to manage your debt situation as you enjoy life to the fullest.