by Valéria Meirelles
In this article I´ll present some Money styles, which represent most people´s financial behavior.
I´ll take North American sociologist Yablonsky’s theory, associated with concepts of the Psychology of Money and Clinical Psychology, and of course my own experience from my professional background as foundation for this article.
The idea is that you, my reader, identify yourself with one or more styles and from them, keep or change your attitudes towards money.
Let´s start from the following premise: each one of us have our own way to deal with money, which we have learned through observation, instruction, education, experience throughout life and also, through personality traits.
We identify this “way”, which is changeable, by the frequency of a behavioral pattern that determines or has once determined our financial situation. We can be spenders or savers; be satisfied with our financial situation or want more; fight to get it, don’t succeed and suffer; or we can be insatiable and unhappy with our financial results.
In order to elucidate the “ways”, I´ll present the styles proposed by Yablonsky, clarifying that there is not necessarily just one single style for each one of us and we can change across the life cycle as part of our personal development.
Although it may seem strange, yes, there are contented people with their amount of Money, Power and Status, regardless of how much they have in their bank account. In other words, they aren´t millionaires but they are happy with their salary, because the amount they make helps them reach their goals.
I have met people who despite getting an average salary, were happy, because they got exactly what they needed to have a quality of life, according to their values and expectations. Socially speaking, they couldn´t be considered (neither they considered themselves) rich people, but they had their own house, a car paid in cash, they didn´t have debts and managed to provide education to their children. As a matter of fact, they had wealth, which is totally different from having much money in a bank or in properties.
2 - The logical achievers
The main feature of these people is that they really know what they want, go for it and can achieve the success they want. Their goals are realistic, reachable and they have plausible aspirations, not unrealistic and impossible.
So, even if it might seem too little to most of us, their goals are always reached, enlarged and people are satisfied with their conquests.
As the Logical Achievers “don’t bite off more than you can chew”, although they like to take risk, they are consistent with their values and possibilities, their chances to have any irrationality in use of money is almost null, that´s why they are always calm and satisfied with what they have.
3 -The emotionally unaffected strivers
People with this Money style use to work hard to get Money, Power and success and are able to keep emotionally balanced when something goes wrong. They are able to differentiate their personal life from the professional one and they know that “nothing ventured, nothing gained”, because they like it when they take risks.
They are moved by the adrenalin of the conquest, by challenge, but they won’t be affected by possible losses.
So, they don´t get afflicted when something doesn´t come out as they had planned because as they know where they want to get, they will look for (in case they haven’t already gotten) another SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Time bound) alternative to set goals without feeling losers by a momentarily loss.
4 -The emotionally affected strivers
People like this are the opposite of the above style. When they lose money or don´t reach their goals, they suffer a lot, to the point of becoming depressive, especially when it´s a big loss.
A good example is the case of people who don´t have the investor profile to invest in stocks, due to oscillations, but they insist on it just because “everybody does”, as a typical “herd behavior” and they spend the days looking at the “ups and downs” from the stock market with a great suffering that affects other areas of their life and interpersonal relationships.
In other words, these people aren´t able to perceive themselves in terms of personality, and set high goals for themselves without knowing if they will be able to reach them, but doing a mental account (the account of our desire, not of the reality), they put themselves in precarious or unsatisfactory financial situations for their life goals. And the worst: they always suffer.
5 -The insatiables
As the very name says, the insatiables are never satisfied, even when they have money, power and social status. It is as if there was a deep hole that money will never fill up.
Do you remember when I wrote in the last article that the substitutes never give us what we need? That´s the case of the Insatiables, whose stories in the past will certainly show some affective gap.
The insatiables use to be successful people, good Professionals with good income, but nothing is enough for them. Their material goods are related to love or lack of love, to something that usually happened during their childhood.
As explained by Yablonsky: “It is like they have a big or infinite hole somewhere in their psych and they think they will never be able to do enough and consequently be incomplete forever.
Reflection about the styles
A very important question to be considered is: people define their aspirations and the way they want to live, not the group or the culture to which they belong, although the last two ones can influence, as well as the life cycle.
The Money styles are democratic and can be observed in all social classes. As Yablonsky explains: “in each social class people have their own level of aspiration and their own financial style, that are not necessarily the same as of their group”.
I´ve got an example close to me, from an employee which works in the same building as I. She is divorced, her sons are adults and they live in another city. She lives alone in São Paulo in a rented house with 3 rooms, in the outskirts. She spends 4 hours per day riding in buses commuting to work, and she is always happy. Sometime ago I asked her why she was so happy and she immediately said: “Sorrow won´t pay my bills, doctor”.
Living with 2 minimum salaries per a month (something around US$580) we can say this woman is the Satisfied Style. Her salary is enough to “let her always have a beer in the refrigerator and her own comfortable place to enjoy after a workday”.
How about you? Have you identified which one is your main financial style yet?
DE VRIES, M. K (2007) Money, Money, Money. In: Organizational Dynamics, Vol. 36, No. 3, pp. 231–243
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FURNHAM, A; ARGYLE, M (2007) The Psychology of Money. 3rd Reprinted. New York: Routledge.
YABLONSKY, L (1991) The emotional meaning of money. New York: Gardner Press.
NYHUS, E.K; PONS, E (2005). The effects of personality on earnings. Journal of Economic Psychology, vol 26, p. 363-384.
THALER, R.H; SUNSTEIN, C.R (2009) Nudge: o empurrão para a escolha certa: Aprimore suas decisões sobre saúde, riqueza e felicidade. Trad. Marcello Lino.Rio de Janeiro: Elsevier
NPPI - Núcleo de Pesquisa da Psicologia em Informática (PUC SP)
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