Money personality quiz: Learn how your beliefs affect your budget

Take this money personality quiz to learn how your subconscious beliefs about money impact your day-to-day spending decisions.

Ted Klontz knew he should save for retirement. He claimed he wanted to save, and he even hired a financial advisor to help him create a plan. But when the time came to direct funds into his retirement account, he didn’t do it.

Frustrated with himself, Klontz—researcher, author and co-founder of an organization focused on the psychology of financial decisions—asked a friend for advice. The friend asked what retirement would mean for Klontz, and he instantly responded: It means you quit.

“In my family history, people who retired never did anything related to their entire work career—that part of their life just stopped. I loved what I was doing and couldn’t imagine ever quitting,” Klontz says.

After saying it out loud, Klontz, who has a doctorate in psychology, realized what had been holding him back. His internalized beliefs about retirement didn’t reflect his true vision for his future, but they shaped his actions in the present. By making that realization, he was able to imagine his dream retirement. In that dream, he would do work that inspired him, complete it on his schedule and live where he wanted to live.

Once this vision was clear to Klontz, he began catching up on his retirement savings. He put a plan together for selling his business so he could create the retirement he imagined for himself and his family.

“Evolving my belief about retirement shifted everything for me,” he says. “Sometimes those massive changes happen just by getting another piece of information, either from inside you or from somebody from the outside.”

Try this money personality quiz

A desire to understand how money shapes people’s beliefs and actions has informed the last 25 years of Klontz’s career. He has come to realize the importance of decoding people’s money beliefs—the subconscious ideas, typically learned in childhood, that drive their actions. Along with a team of researchers, he has developed a rigorous assessment to help people determine which money belief they are most impacted by.

What’s your money personality? Uncover how your own beliefs are shaping your financial behaviors by taking this money personality quiz, inspired by Klontz’s research.

Let’s explore why it’s important to understand your money beliefs and dive into the most common financial personalities:

What’s the value of knowing your money personality?

As a leader in the emerging discipline of financial psychology, Klontz—along with others in his field—has made the case that in order to improve your financial outlook, you need to understand your underlying financial beliefs.

Once you understand what your financial personality is, you can begin to change your behaviors, whether that’s your everyday spending habits or your long-term savings plan, Klontz says.

“The best financial plan, or the best investment advice in the world, isn’t a substitute for understanding one’s own relationship with money,” says author and business executive Deborah Price, CEO and founder of a financial coaching firm.

Understanding your relationship with money means digging deep into your money patterns and behaviors as well as what you learned growing up, where most behaviors are formed, Price says. The problem is that many people have blind spots and cannot easily understand these dynamics without guidance and support, she adds.

Maybe you say you are focused on building up your emergency savings, but you still overspend on clothes or travel instead of diverting that cash to your emergency fund. Or perhaps you want to prioritize saving for long-term financial goals, but you’re leaving extra cash in your checking account instead of transferring it over to your online savings account.

Learning to understand your financial behaviors can help you to spot ways in which you may unconsciously undermine your best efforts to improve your financial life, such as by saving or investing, Price says.

As you learn what your financial personality is and reflect on what type of spender you are, you can begin to understand why you spend a certain way, even though you say you want to do otherwise.

You can also transform your beliefs into steps that will help you manage your finances.

“The best financial plan, or the best investment advice in the world, isnʼt a substitute for understanding oneʼs own relationship with money.”

Deborah Price, CEO and founder of a financial coaching firm

Uncover the most common financial personalities

It’s this gulf—the difference between what people say and what they do—that has motivated Klontz in his research over the years. He has worked with fellow researchers to collect data from thousands of people to analyze their subconscious beliefs about money. From that data, Klontz says they identified four primary financial behavioral patterns.

No one person will match one of these belief systems 100%. But by learning about the attributes of the common financial personalities, you can reveal your own tendencies and be able to answer the question: What’s my financial personality?

Here’s a rundown on these four behavioral patterns. You can see which one resonates with you by taking the money personality quiz above.

Money Avoidance

People with this pattern tend to believe money itself is bad and that people with too much money are ostentatious, Klontz says. “They don’t even bring the subject of money up,” Klontz adds. Money Avoidance may also mean not checking in on your bank account and avoiding a regular review of your bills, Klontz says. If you’re this type of spender and saver, you may believe there’s virtue in living with less money.

Money Worship

If you relate to Money Worship, you may feel that more money will mean greater happiness, Klontz says. You might believe that money can help solve the problems you encounter. Someone with this trait may be wary of other people managing their money. This type of spender is also more likely to carry credit card debt if they are spending to find fulfillment.

Money Status

With this pattern, people connect their self-worth with their financial success, Klontz says. While there are similarities with Money Worship, people with this trait focus more energy on outward displays of wealth. This type of spender may buy more than they can afford as a result.

Money Vigilance

Money Vigilance is defined as being careful about finances and being focused on saving. These beliefs can lead to positive behaviors, such as saving for a rainy day and planning for your financial future. At the same time, however, this type of spender may be anxious about money, Klontz says, and potentially even embarrassed by their financial success. These feelings may limit their ability to enjoy the benefits of financial security.

A man carries his bicycle up a flight of stairs.

Tap into your own money personality to reach your goals

As you examine your deep-seated beliefs about money, you’ll learn a lot about yourself and be able to answer: What is your financial personality? This process will help you understand what type of spender you are today, and also shape how you spend and save for your future.

Once you’ve taken the money personality quiz, continue your journey with a financial vision board, which can help you align your financial decisions to your priorities in life.

Learn how creating a financial vision board can empower you to realize your major life goals—and even have some fun along the way.

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This content is for illustrative and informational purposes only and may not apply to your individual circumstances.