By Essie Bester
Your personality type can be determined by just looking at your account statements. This is according to research, however absurd it may sound.
“Now that most people spend their money electronically, we can study these spending patterns on a scale,” says Joe Gladstone, a London professor in consumer behaviour. “Our findings demonstrate for the first time that it is possible to forecast people’s personalities from their spending.”
Gladstone explains further that everyone spends money on material items such as food and housing, but that our extramural (or discretionary) expenses emphasise and highlight our unique priorities.
How some of the most common spending habits are connected to the most important personality traits:
- Travel – If you are inclined to spend large amounts of your money on aeroplane tickets and travel expenses, you are most probably open to new experiences and willing to think about things in a new and different way.
- Eating out and drinks – These are very much social experiences and people who are inclined to spend a lot of money on these, are often more extrovert.
- Invest in savings – If you put most of your extra money in a savings account, you are probably conscientious. People who are generally more careful and more responsible, do not display many spending habits apart from those for the basics and to save for the future.
- Charity and non-profit organisations – To give your money to institutions such as these on a regular basis, is associated with the fact that you are a more pleasant, friendly and easy person.
- Non-essential items – Those who spend a lot of money on items such as jewellery or clothes are more inclined to have a neurotic disposition (in other words, they are more inclined to experience emotions such as anxiety, negativity and loneliness).
Research also noticed that those who describe themselves as individuals with a lot of self-control, in actual fact spend less on banking fees. The more neurotic among us, spend less on down-payments for mortgages, possibly because they focus more on the short-term rather than the long-term advantages. The findings were the same across all income levels and age groups.
Change your spending habits
If you aren’t satisfied with what your money habits say about you, you needn’t panic – take a deep breath and start paying attention to that on which you are spending your money. The above findings indicate that it is important to think about how our spending habits reflect our values.
To change your spending habits so that they are more in line with the values you would like to display, you could consider a financial wellbeing plan – where attention is paid to the management of financial health and the balance between an individual’s short- and long-term financial needs is supported.
Begin by scheduling time during which you focus on your financial plan (weekly or monthly). It also helps to talk to good friends about money. Consider writing down your financial goals – in this way you will achieve them more readily.
And should you realise that your spending is still not in line with the values you wish to reflect, you have to establish a routine for yourself to which you can return time and again so that you can move forward, even when you suffer a setback.
By viewing such a financial routine as a way of life, you can learn to return to the right path every time you stray. If we aren’t rooted in our practices and do not know what works for us, a small setback can easily make us give up. On the other hand, a firm foundation usually ensures that we know exactly what to do to get back on track.