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Personality affects money habits

Ray Linder '77, MBA'82 spoke to the Harpur Forum last week, outlining the four types of personalities that manifest themselves when individuals are making decisions about money.

You know that you’re different from everyone else on this planet – your personality belongs to you and only you. But you might not know that your personality also drives the decisions you make about how, or whether, to spend your money.

Ray Linder ’77, MBA ’82 is founder and CEO of and internationally recognized as a teacher of team success and personal development. He spoke to the Harpur Forum last week about “Mastering Your Money Personality,” making the case that everyone is different, and personality guides how individuals handle their finances.

After working with a husband and wife on their finances, Linder realized personality played a role in their decisions. “I decided I would make something of this,” he said. So, he conducted research and found that people do give a lot of thought to how they use their money and that “all financial decisions are made based on priorities.” Those priorities – what’s important to us, what moves us and what “the good life” is to us -- intrigued Linder. “Finances seemed so psychological,” he said, “so much less about money, but so much more about what it means to us. ‘What gives my life a sense of meaning in some way?’”

Linder has broken down money personalities -- what he considers patterns of attitudes and actions regarding money -- into four categories: security seekers, experience seekers, knowledge seekers and ideal seekers. Approximately 35-40 percent of people fall into each of the first two categories, and only 10-12 percent in the knowledge and ideal seeker categories, he said.

Security seekers are just that, he said. “They don’t spend what they don’t have and they relay heavily on their experience. They need to plan for fun.” When it comes to experience seekers, Linder characterized them as carefree, but wanting to make an impact. “They need to have fun,” he said. ‘They like to do what feels good at the time, to make memories.” His advice for experience seekers? Wait 24 hours before making any purchase, avoid using credit and maintain some hands-off savings.

Knowledge seekers are competent and want power over, or mastery, of the future, Linder said. “They amass financial capabilities and have a big-picture orientation, but they make things complicated,” he said. “Knowledge seekers have buyer’s remorse before buying. They need to avoid over-analyzing and hoarding.”

Finally, Linder said, ideal seekers are caring people who want to improve the lives of others. They want extraordinary, personal meaning in their lives and their “I gotta be me” attitude allows them to express their uniqueness. Though he advises ideal seekers to set goals as well as hold fast to their ideals, Linder recommends getting to know an ideal seeker. “There’s an elegance and uniqueness to ideal seekers,” he said. “Everyone should have at least one ideal seeker for a friend because they are extraordinary gift givers.”

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Last Updated: 10/14/08