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How To Figure Out Your “Money Personality”

Does anyone else love taking personality tests online? I sure do. Whether it’s learning which Myers-Briggs type you are or analyzing your zodiac sign, these fun, quick tests can reveal a lot about who you are. However, there’s one quiz I bet you haven’t heard about yet: the money personality quiz, which breaks down six main types of money “personalities” based on your financial habits. Read on to learn why your money personality matters, and how understanding your “type” can help you navigate finances in college and beyond. 

What is a “money personality?”

To learn what money personality you are, I recommend taking this fun quiz, which was created by the financial technology company Empower, Professor of Psychology Dr. Christina Villarreal, and financial experts Tiffany Groode and Michelle Masters. They discovered that most personal finance tips can be pretty tough to follow, since they’re highly rational — when, in fact, our relationship with money tends to be emotional, and our money habits can even be formed during childhood!

According to a 2020 study published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, a person’s spending habits can actually reflect their personality traits, as well as the personality traits around them. In other words, money habits aren’t one-size-fits-all. So, knowing your money personality can reveal helpful info about your own habits while recognizing additional factors may be at play.

Understanding your money personality type can drastically change how you view your own financial attitudes and behaviors — for example, your spending, saving, or the way you approach investing. After you’ve taken the quiz, make note of your “type,” and read on to learn what it means for your college money habits.

1. The Idealist

If you identify as an idealist, you understand money as an important and necessary part of life, but you don’t want to spend too much time thinking about it. To put it simply, idealists just aren’t that interested in financial success — chances are, you’d rather spend your time developing in creative ways and connecting with others rather than moving up the career ladder or obtaining the traditional idea of “success.” 

Diana*, a student at Williams College and a self-proclaimed idealist, tells Her Campus, “To be honest, I don’t really like thinking about money. It stresses me out a lot, and I tend to get overwhelmed super easily. I obviously try to be practical but I also don’t want thoughts about money to control my life.”

While financial idealism seems like a nice philosophy, in theory, there might be a few drawbacks. First, if you’re on a budget or struggling to make ends meet, you likely don’t have the luxury of not caring so much about money. Plus, your journey to financial independence may not be the easiest, and according to Empower, you may find yourself in sticky financial situations on occasion. The good part is, though, you believe there’s more to life than money alone, so you may understand the concept of balance more than others.

For Erica, 21, being an idealist represents exactly that. “I try not to go completely off the rails with my spending, and I’m pretty responsible about saving up,” she tells Her Campus. “But after getting my first credit card, I found myself spending so much time overanalyzing whether I was getting the maximum amount of points — or if I was spending too much — that I finally just had to let it go and let myself buy what I want within reason.” 

2. The Stockpiler

If you’re a stockpiler, you always want to make sure you have enough money saved for a rainy day — hey, you never know what could happen — and you tend to be extremely financially literate (I wish I could relate). You know how to find a great deal, and while you may have plenty of money to spend, you don’t see the point in wasting it on things that aren’t totally necessary. You may even struggle with anxiety when it comes to money matters — most likely because you want to be prepared for whatever financial hardship might come your way in the future. 

“I am definitely partially a ‘stockpiler’ type,” says Tara*, 26, a Columbia University graduate. “When I first got to college, I was so anxious about money I would rarely spend it, and I even felt super guilty when it came to buying a $5 coffee or meal in the student center. Even though I was financially okay and had support from my family, it felt overwhelming to think about money, nonetheless spend it on my basic needs.”

Stockpilers never want to just kick up their feet, relax, and enjoy their hard-earned money; instead, they want to plan and prepare themselves for what’s next. And while I’m certainly impressed by the stockpiler’s financial conservatism, sometimes it’s okay to let loose and get comfortable spending within reason. 

3. The Hedonist

Remember how I said stockpilers rarely want to enjoy their money? That’s certainly not the case for hedonists. Hedonists are pleasure-seekers — so if you identify as a hedonist, your main goal is to enjoy life, and you view money as a way of doing just that! 

That being said, hedonists aren’t the most frugal (or practical) when it comes to finances. You tend to be mainly interested in finance as it relates to your personal happiness, so, when it comes to things like savings, retirement, and other fiscal matters, you may not be the most knowledgeable. 

Think about it: money can help you obtain things that will bring you joy in life, like food, clothing, vacations, and more. If you’re a hedonist personality type, you believe that your money is only as good as the things you spend it on; in other words, your wealth is only valuable if it truly brings you joy. And while some people might see your spending habits as irresponsible, often, you adopt a “work hard, play hard” mentality — even if others might not necessarily see you working hard behind the scenes!

4. The Celebrity

“Fake it till you make it” pretty much describes the celebrity’s entire financial philosophy. If you’re a “celebrity” type, showing off your wealth and impressing the people around you is your favorite thing. However, being a celebrity type doesn’t mean you’re rich, and having a regular habit of buying things you can’t necessarily afford can get messy quickly. 

In some ways, the celebrity is less concerned with how much money they have and more concerned with how much money other people think they have. If this sounds like you, you might be prone to splurging on expensive items in front of friends, family, or co-workers while counting your pennies behind closed doors. 

Interestingly, the celebrity type tends to use money as a way of gaining respect in certain social or professional circles, hence making themselves appear more glamorous, successful, or even “famous.” You might even be well-connected as a result, and your money habits can be a disguised way of connecting with people who can get you access to a private party or get you front-row tickets to your favorite music festival.

If you’ve worked hard for your money and want to show off a bit or treat yourself, go for it! But remember: you don’t need to break the bank to have a good time.

5. The nurturer

The nurturer is probably the most selfless personality type on this list, since they use their money to (you guessed it!) nurture and care for others. If you identify as a nurturer, chances are you’re a very caring, generous person — you love giving a helping hand to those in need, and tend to see your money as valuable, because you can financially support people you care about. 

In college, you might be seen as the “mom” of your friend group, or maybe you were the “responsible one” growing up. According to the money personality quiz, you’re probably the person “others can always rely on” during good times and bad. 

Sammi, 27, identifies as a combination of a few different money personalities, and says the “nurturer” type certainly comes into play on occasion. “I try really hard not to touch my savings account, but I know it’s there if I need it, and I definitely offer it up when my friends are struggling,” she tells Her Campus. 

While helping out those closest to you (financially or otherwise) can be a beautiful thing, it’s important to make sure your own needs are being met, too. Yes, there is such a thing as being too selfless! Remember: you can’t take care of anyone else if you’re not taking care of yourself. 

6. The Conquerer

“Work hard, play never” is the conqueror’s motto. If you’re a “conqueror” type, chances are, you’re a money machine — productive, ambitious, and successful. You’re super smart about managing your money and you tend to value financial security above all else. 

Conquerors are also very opportunistic — they’re always looking for new ways to earn big bucks, whether that’s through a smart investment or a cool new job opportunity. However, when it comes to their career path, conquerors tend to play it safe. If you identify as a “conqueror” type, you might be concerned about whether or not your profession will earn you respect — and, of course, lots of moolah. Think: doctors, lawyers, engineers, or jobs that are traditionally thought to promise a big paycheck.

Ashley*, an undergraduate at Williams College, who definitely falls into a “conqueror” mindset, tells Her Campus, “I’ve always been super ambitious, so I’ve always aspired to find a career path that can ensure I’m financially stable in the future.”

Of course, there’s nothing wrong with having a strong work ethic and bringing in the big bucks, but it’s not always the best idea to make your career your entire life, right? If you identify as a “conqueror,” remember, taking a step back to rest on your laurels for a while isn’t such a bad thing. Finding fulfillment in other areas of your life (aside from your profession and school) is key.

Why your “money personality” matters

Hear me out: learning about your money personality just might be the most important step in your financial journey, especially as a college student. After all, how can you think critically about your financial decisions if you don’t know what’s actually motivating those choices? As the quiz mentions, many of our money habits stem from childhood and the people around us. When you go to college, your setting will change drastically — so why not take some time to learn about your unique personality and how you can make confident decisions in the future?

Whether you’re a first-year student or a senior about to graduate, don’t be afraid to explore your money personality and figure out how your unique type can help inform your money habits. Remember: knowledge is power! The more you know about yourself and your money habits, the more successful you’ll be in college and beyond. 

Diana*, Williams College
Erica, 21, Barnard College alum
Ashley*, Williams College
Sammi, 27, Siena College alum
Tara*, 26, Columbia University alum

*Names have been changed.

Ebert, Tobias*, Friedrich Götz*, Joe Gladstone, Sandrine Müller & Sandra Matz (2020). Spending reflects not only who we are but also who we are around: The joint effects of individual and geographic personality on consumption. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. DOI: 10.1037/pspp0000344

Tran, A. G., Lam, C. K., & Legg, E. (2018). Financial stress, social supports, gender, and anxiety during college: A stress-buffering perspective. The Counseling Psychologist, 46(7), 846-869.

Elizabeth is a student at Williams College majoring in English.