When we talk with people about their Money Personalities, someone always asks us how they happened to get them. Are they born with them? Is it how they were raised? Did I get my Money Personalities from my parents? The answer is yes, no, and not really.
Nature vs. Nurture
We see example after example that verifies your two Money Personalities are part of your DNA in other words, God hardwired them in to you. Of course, there is no actual Money Personality gene currently identified, but the way you think about money seems to be programmed in right from the start. DNA or Deoxyribonucleic acid is, simply stated, a record of instructions found in our cells telling them what their job is going to be. Your Money Personality DNA tells you how to approach daily money decisions.
Our two sons are a great example. It is obvious to us that Cole is a Security Seeker/Risk Taker and Cade is a Spender/Security Seeker. Take Cade’s Primary Spender Money Personality. He can’t keep a dollar in his pocket to save his life. If he finds money on the ground or in the couch cushions, you can smell the smoke from the hole burning in his pocket. We are familiar with that smell – we’re both Spenders.
But Cole is our Primary Security Seeker. He lives in a home with three people who get a gargantuan thrill out of spending money, while seeing all of us spending money, without a plan, essentially pains our Cole. He’d rather not have to watch.
When our Security Seeker son was younger, he told us about his plan to buy a totally cool car some day. Looking for a chance to encourage responsibility and planning ahead, I (Scott) told him when he started saving for his own car, I would match his savings effort dollar for dollar.
That was before I (Scott) realized what kind of a kid I was dealing with. We had no idea the laser-beam-focus of our little Security Seeker. In just a few years, our eleven-year-old had socked away almost two thousand dollars in the local bank. At the rate he’s saving with a plan, we’re going to have to sell our cars, and maybe our house, to keep my promise.
Your family of origin can have a big influence on how you feel about money, but we find that most people can look back and see signs of their engrained Money Personalities from their childhood well before they would be intentionally responding to their parents’ influence.
My (Bethany’s) mom is a serious Saver, a Thrift Store Queen, yet I can see that I was always a primary Spender. Even as a little girl completely unaware of my mom’s spending habits, I loved spending my allowance on whatever was right in front of me. I even recall not saving my Halloween candy beyond the final doorbell, while my mom had candy corns saved by her bedside until Christmas (she bought them for half price after November 1).
Both of your Money Personalities are as much a part of you as your feelings about eating fish to increase your omega-3s, and is unlikely to change. So don’t fight it. Embrace your Money Personalities and watch out for Cole on the road!
What are things you did as a kid that you can now see were indications of your two Money Personalities? We would love to hear. Let us know.
Scott & Bethany Palmer
The Money Couple®