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Why you handle money the way you do

Last year, I attended the 2019 Annual Wimbiz Conference and listened to a discussion topic ‘Developing a Wealth Mindset’. As I listened, I realised that our money habits are largely related to our life experiences. Our life experiences form our mindsets and if we do not actively deal with negative and unhealthy mindsets, they can affect our lives in more ways than we can imagine.


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Often when people think of and define wealth, it is over-focused on Money & Assets. One of the panelists, Sanyade Okoli (CEO, Alpha African Advisory) defined it as an abundance of many things, not just money. Many people think wealth is just about money, assets and such, while the truth is you could have lots of those and be far from wealthy in many other important areas, such as relationships, health and more. 

Another panelist, Kai Orga (Managing Director, ARM Investment Managers) spoke about the different types of money personalities which was such an Eye Opener for me! The personalities are Amassers, Hoarders, Spenders, Money Monk, Avoiders and Worriers. When I left the conference and took a bit more time to study it, I realized how true those different categorizations are because people’s experiences are actually foundational and most times unknowingly to how they treat money. 

For instance, I have a friend who once lost a lot of money and because of that she has become a Spender. How? You may ask – Well, her mind has been programmed in such a way that it believes she will always lose money and this has led her to be a Spender. Another person who has lost money has become a Worrier, because he believes you will always lose it and is constantly fixated on that! Someone who has always had their bills paid by either their parents, loved ones or someone else and has never really dealt with money may have programmed their mind to avoid it and can become Avoiders. In other cases where people have been cared for by others People who also grew up in environments that are gender biased towards finances could become an extreme of personalities – Avoider or Amasser.

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The first step to freedom is being able to diagnose what your issue is, and then you can administer the right medication and treatment. Being able to diagnose what your money personality is and realizing what the weaknesses of that personality type is will help you towards freedom.

Do you know your money personality type? (Below is culled from Olivia Mellan & Dr Kathleen Gurney)

There are six main different money personality types and an additional one which is the Money Master – Hoarder, Spender, Money Monk, Avoider, Amasser and Worrier. 

Bear in mind that each type has both good qualities and shortcomings, and that most people are in fact a combination of types.

The Amasser 

  • Finds fulfillment and happiness in having money to save, spend or invest and as such constantly feels the need to have large amounts of money under their control. 
  • Derives satisfaction from making financial decisions and feels powerless, depressed even, without having money at their disposal.

The Avoider 

  • Feels incompetent and overwhelmed when faced with the task of handling money; paying bills, investing and managing details of their financial life. 
  • They face a form of anxiety when it comes to money and would rather not bother with the details of taxes, budget making, account balance, debt, income investment and more.

The Hoarder

  • In contrast to the Avoider, loves to immerse themselves in the detail of their financial life. 
  • They enjoy creating a budget and saving their money, mostly as close to them as possible. 
  • A money hoarder would avoid spending because they view it as simply entertainment and mostly unnecessary, investment doesn’t come naturally to them either as they would rather keep money under mattresses and in secret places.

The Money Monk

  • Generally thinks money is dirty, bad and having too much corrupts. 
  • They would rather live modestly, avoiding investment for fear of increasing their wealth.
  • If for some reason the money monk amassed wealth, through inheritance for example, they are more likely to donate to social causes.

The Money Spender 

  • Loves to spend on themselves. 
  • They can’t put away money for future goals and are constantly in debts. 
  • They derive joy from spending on themselves and even others.

The Money Worrier 

  • Constantly thinks and talks money, obsessing over the details. 
  • A worrier frequently comments on how much things cost and always wants to know where their money is being spent. 
  • As the money worrier accumulates money, they tend to worry about losing it.

The Money Master

  • The members of this group make wise financial decisions.  
  • They enjoy managing their own money, but they also trust their advisors.  
  • They’re satisfied with what they have achieved financially. 
  • They’ve learned to take the time and not let their emotions run away with them. They understand their values and make decisions that fit with those values both financial and personally.  
  • They are proud of what they have achieved but don’t feel the need to brag about it.

Here’s a quiz you can take:

So, which are you? (You could be a combination) Remember, the first step to freedom is diagnosis… Know yourself, your habits and create a plan to improve areas that need it.

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