Our personality traits are the “adornments” that make us the unique person we are. They drive our thoughts, feelings, responses and actions.
Early research into our personalities identified a large number of common personality traits. Over time these traits were condensed into the BIG 5 personality factors. These factors, are Openness, Conscientiousness, Extraversion, Agreeableness and Neurotism.
Once we understand how our personality traits influence us we can understand why we do the things we do, especially when it comes to money, and how we can mitigate the negative drivers.
Research has found the following Big 5 factor money traits:
Openness to new experiences
This personality trait looks at a more adventurous personality versus a routine one.
Those driven by routine can be at either end of the spending spectrum, being either very frugal, good savers or routine over spenders. An audit of their cash flows will quickly uncover unhealthy routines and provide the opportunity for implementing new healthier habits more supportive of achieving financial stability.
Adherence to a routine means those with this trait are risk averse. Investing is a risky concept and outside their comfort zone. They tend to avoid putting their money to work in this way and may miss out on building real wealth.
Investing need not be risky or outside the routine. By understanding their own risk tolerance, gaining the necessary investing knowledge and following an investing routine suitable for their situation and goals the “routine” personality can become a savvy and satisfied investor.
The adventurous, being driven by novelty, creativity, imagination and innovation tend to be less concerned with the frugal aspect of their finances and are not particularly focused on the future. They are however open to new experiences and if they can establish a balance between their adventurous spirit and saving to achieve their financial goals they can exercise their sense of adventure by getting to know the investment market and participating in new offerings. The adventurous, to their credit, are hungry to learn and are likely to seek out mentors to learn from before diving thoughtlessly into risky ventures.
The conscientious are good savers who tend to accumulate less debt. They are patient and like to plan for the future.
They are organised, disciplined, careful and work hard to achieve career success.
They are however risk averse and if not well informed may find it daunting to invest. Similar to the “routine” trait, taking the time to understand their own risk tolerance and finding the most suitable investment strategy would set them up to reach their well planned life goals.
Those who are less conscientious and organised could get on top of their finances by determining their goals and automating their cashflows to achieve them.
Extroverts and Introverts
Extroverts live for the moment and thrive on instant gratification. They have a very social lifestyle which means they have a tendency to save less and spend more.
However the extroverts charismatic personalities attract powerful networks and opportunities which the risk taking extrovert is quick to seize. They are confident and don’t hesitate to take action and as a result attract abundance easily.
They are entrepreneurial and innovative go getters.
The introverts, are more contemplative and less impulsive. They are comfortable with delaying rewards and feel more confident once they have taken the time to think through their actions. They are good investors as a result of their ability to think deeply and commit confidently when they have made a decision.
Agreeableness is a tendency to be co-operative and easygoing. Those with this trait may be driven to spend more in company than they intend as they try to please everyone. The “agreeable” could mitigate this by learning non offensive ways to set boundaries.
They are trusting, forgiving and caring which can make them vulnerable to scams.
Building wealth and chasing money is not a key consideration for those with this trait. They are mainly concerned with others and their environment which means they are very altruistic and not generally prone to excessive consumerism.
When it comes to investing, the agreeable are risk averse and want to follow the example of the crowd rather than taking a contrarian approach.
A strategy of passive investment in pre-created portfolio’s would typically suit those with this trait.
Neuroticism and it’s polar opposite emotional stability
This trait measures how we experience emotion and our response to it.
Neuroticism refers to those with a low threshold for anxiety. The neurotic have a problem delaying consumption, they can be compulsive spenders as they fear missing out, and operate from a victim mindset thinking of themselves as the unlucky ones. They are more susceptible to risky behaviours such as addictions.
The neurotic are typically not entrepreneurial as it is to unstructured for them and requires two things they battle with, commitment and responsibility. In addition they typically lack the self confidence and self control needed for the entrepreneurial journey.
In the neurotics favour they are conscientious and fear others judgment which can make them extremely hard workers and ironically high achievers. When it comes to investing though their neuroticism and fear of missing out may lead them to making suboptimal decisions such as buying when the market is extremely high and selling when it is low.
They are extremely self aware and perceptive and recognise how their moods and responses may create challenges for them when it comes to their finances and investing. They understand the need to control their impulses and if supported by a well established financial plan, possibly with the assistance of a financial professional they can thrive.
On the other end of the spectrum, the Emotionally Stable are confident and responsible and typically have their financial vision planned. They tend to be good investors, acting less on emotional stimuli and more on well considered evidence and views.
Wherever you fall in the personality factors recognise the strengths you have which will help you in your financial journey and the weaknesses which you can learn to manage and diminish.