When it comes to your money personality, you probably haven’t thought much beyond whether you’re a spender or a saver. But your inherent traits can influence your financial life in more ways than you might expect.
As personality assessments go, the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) is the gold standard. It organizes people into 16 different combos of traits that include: extrovert vs. introvert, sensing vs. using intuition, thinking vs. feeling and judging vs. perceiving.
Using that as a blueprint, we identified four financial personalities and what they reveal about your MO—because the better you understand your tendencies, the better you can optimize your strengths and navigate around your weaknesses.
Learn more about the four types here—then take the companion quiz to figure out which you are.
ISTP, ISFP, ESTP, ESFP
One of the Adapter’s dominant traits is flexibility. They’re open to trying new ideas and willing to adjust their current course of action, whether that means mixing up their portfolio or trying out the latest money-saving apps.
On the flipside, Adapters can be prone to spur-of-the-moment decisions—like treating friends to a round of drinks or booking a last-minute trip.
“It can be hard for them to control their day-to-day spending and commit to a budget because they always like to keep their options open,” says financial therapist Olivia Mellan, author of “Money Harmony.” “As a result, they might have trouble following through.”
Make the most of your money type: Establish external constraints to rein you in and help you stick to your budget and goals, says Eric Dammann, PhD, a financial therapist in N.Y. In other words, automate your good habits—from direct-depositing your savings and investments to signing up for bill autopay.
You may also consider a temporary all-cash diet. Because you’re naturally oriented toward today, cash in hand can be a visceral reminder not to overdo it.
ISTJ, ISFJ, ESTJ, ESFJ
Loyalists are steadfast, reliable—and pros at sticking to a budget and avoiding debt. But their unwavering dedication can come back to bite them. “They tend to be stubborn, which can lead to hanging onto a stock when it’s no longer lucrative, for example, or staying with a broker out of a sense of allegiance,” Dammann says.
Loyalists also run the risk of crossing the line from frugal into miserly. Denying themselves reasonable indulgences not only lowers their quality of life, but can also create conflict in their relationships.
Make the most of your money type: An annual financial review is essential. “Push yourself to consider whether your current financial plan is still in your best interest, or whether you are simply sticking with the status quo because it’s what you’ve always done,” Dammann says.
And give yourself permission to splurge sometimes. “Build fun money into your budget every month,” Dammann says. “That way, you can do whatever you want with it and not feel guilty.”
INTJ, ENTJ, ENTP, INTP
These action-oriented individuals have lofty ambitions—retiring early, owning multiple homes—and self-motivation in spades. Because they’re well-informed and logical, they may always think they’re right and not consider others’ needs or opinions, be it their partner or a financial professional. That overconfidence hurts their pocketbook and personal life.
Future-focused, Leaders can also get tripped up when it comes to daily money matters. “They have goals, but aren’t sure how to get there,” Mellan says. (Indeed, research shows that ambitious, energetic people often have more debt and fewer financial assets.)
Make the most of your money type: To turn your dreams into reality, try writing them down and breaking them into step-by-step actions. “Leaders tend to check out if they’re not playing an active role in their savings plan,” Dammann says. “This helps you stay engaged.”
Collaborating with trusted experts, like a Certified Financial Planner, to develop a game plan can also help.
INFJ, INFP, ENFJ, ENFP
Connectors are driven by their emotions and intuition and place great value on relationships. Yet letting their feelings steer the ship can lead to detrimental spending and investing habits.
Connectors might fall prey to living above their means because they care about what others think, and they’re at a greater risk for emotional spending. When it comes to investing, “Connectors can be too trustworthy,” Dammann says. “Their idealism makes them susceptible to being suckered into harebrained money-making schemes.”
Make the most of your money type: Pause before making a major money move. “Allow yourself to cool off and give your rational brain a chance to kick into action,” Dammann says. And tap into your people skills to guide you toward solid financial footing. “Talking to a trusted friend or financial advisor about the situation will help you achieve a balanced viewpoint,” he adds.
Since budgeting can backfire for this type, too—Mellan says Connectors may feel constrained by a spending plan—control your spending by keeping what matters most top of mind. For example, set a picture of your dream home as your phone’s background to remind you of your goal to buy a house. This emotional tactic is a good source of motivation and can help you overcome temptations to overspend.