Spending and Saving Styles and Personality Type

Money. Is it something you enjoy thinking about, or do you dread it? Do you feel that you handle it well, or could you sharpen your skills some?

Below, we’ll take a long look at each personality type and present how individuals of each type tend to think about and handle money. We’ll also look at how they handle their type-specific challenges and offer some tips.

If you don’t know your personality type, take our free personality test to discover the traits you lean on most heavily.

Analyst Personality Types

Architects (INTJ)

Tendencies: Architects lean toward being meticulous with their money. They are less likely than most personality types to spend more than they should. They see money as a tool with little emotional attachment or influence. They are more likely than most to have some system for handling their money. This utilitarian approach to money extends to both their spending and saving. This doesn’t mean that they take no pleasure in money at all. It’s just that more practical uses for it will take priority for them.

Challenges: Unless Architects are creative enough to enjoy life frugally (and they may well be that imaginative), they may miss some of life’s pleasures – and maybe even come across as miserly. That would be an unfortunate misperception.

Tips: Life is too short. Squeeze some “mad money” into your budget if you can, so you can enjoy splurges occasionally. Don’t worry. You won’t likely go wild with your spending.

Logicians (INTP)

Tendencies: Logicians are typically more concerned with meeting their needs than with accumulating wealth. These personalities are unlikely to see money as a status indicator and may be reluctant to spend much on their appearance, whether it be clothing, a house, or a car. Most Logicians say they would quit working if they had the money they needed in life, but the operative word is “needed.” They are more likely to save money to feel secure rather than to feel rich. That doesn’t mean that these personalities won’t occasionally play the market on impulse or chase some interesting money scheme. But they are more likely to stay on a practical course, with only a few exceptions.

Challenges: To make sure their needs are met, Logicians may need to be careful with investing and delving into other unique moneymaking endeavors just because they look interesting or exciting. In pursuit of an interesting solution to life’s money needs, they may not pay enough attention to the genuine risks that may be involved.

Tips: Consider hiring a financial advisor or even asking a friend who is knowledgeable about investments and personal finance for help. Or maybe even go against your Introverted independence and consider an investment club. Collective decisions can be a place for learning and for putting guardrails around your investing decisions.

Commanders (ENTJ)

Tendencies: Commanders tend to take money seriously and are more likely than most to have up-to-date budgets. They make money the foundation of many life decisions, including educational and career choices. They are the personality type most likely to equate money with influence. They reach beyond needs and extend their interest in money to attaining their wants and desires. However, their Judging personality trait keeps them in check, and they don’t spend foolishly or excessively in their pursuit of the good life. They respect money too much to squander it.

Challenges: Since money is such a dynamic part of the typical Commander’s life, they may not always let it sit quietly in savings accounts or long-term investments. There may be an inner battle between what they need to do and what they want to do. “Work hard, play hard” may be a motto that can supersede creating a nest egg for some of them.

Tips: Removing the decision-making process from savings routines can be helpful for creating the elusive nest egg. Scheduling automatic monthly payments into a savings account or a long-term, low-risk investment that’s difficult to access can help you tuck away something for the future.

Debaters (ENTP)

Tendencies: Debaters don’t typically describe themselves as being fond of budgets, when compared to all other personality types. They are more likely than most to spend more than they should. The combination of their adventurous Extraversion and Prospecting traits can make costly, shiny objects difficult to resist. They tend to measure success by wealth, so they are often strong earners and hard workers. Debaters can’t spend money they don’t have. But saving is not always something they put a lot of effort toward.

Challenges: Debaters may want to pay more attention to balancing the books. They are likely to respect a reasonable method for keeping incoming funds in sync with outgoing funds, but that may not be enough. There may be some impulsiveness that ends in overusing credit and loans. They may need to guard against excessive debt.

Tips: Make it a hard-and-fast rule to not use credit to spend more than you could pay off immediately, if you needed to, using available money sources like a savings account or investments. Make sure that monthly repayments on all long-term loans are within a reasonable percentage of your monthly income.

Diplomat Personality Types

Advocates (INFJ)

Tendencies: Diplomats, the group to which Advocates belong, are often seen as weak with money and finances. They are more dreamy than practical, and there’s little that’s dreamy about crunching financial numbers. However, Advocates are most likely to describe their money habits in ways that match the practices of those who might be considered “average” in their spending and saving style. But “average” practices can mean just keeping up in the modern economy – and that may have distinct disadvantages that affect lifestyle and retirement. Advocate personalities may not always be as ambitious as they need to be.

Challenges: Advocates may want to aspire to something beyond “just getting by.” But that’s a lifestyle choice. A more nefarious problem may be that Advocates trust easily and have a powerful impulse to help when they can. This can lead to others taking advantage of them.

Tips: The typical personal finance routine of most people does not include enough savings or investments. You may want to make sure that you’re putting enough away. You may also want to make sure that your nest egg is hard to get to, so that there is a pause between your good intentions and access to your saved cash.

Mediators (INFP)

Tendencies: Mediators are also among the personality types that show relative disinterest in money, and they are not particularly motivated by acquiring wealth. Reflecting this, they often find themselves not feeling very confident in their skills with money. But it’s not about capability. Other things just matter more. Mediators would rather have a sense of mission and positively influence others than become rich. Where some use money to keep score, Mediators are likely to measure their worth by other things. They likely believe that an interesting or meaningful situation outweighs a fat paycheck. They may be among the lowest earners of all personality types.

Challenges: Valuing purpose and idealism is laudable. But those things alone rarely put food on the table. Sacrificing for others or a mission is one thing if Mediators are on their own. But if other people, like a partner or children, depend on them to contribute to a household, then sacrificial attitudes about money may be problematic.

Tips: Finding objective counsel may be important for you. This may include a professional or maybe a friend or family member. This serves two purposes: Others might add greater consistency to your Prospecting tendencies, keeping you on a steadier financial course. And a more objective pair of eyes may help you measure what is “too much” when sacrificing finances for a passion.

Protagonists (ENFJ)

Tendencies: Relative to other personality types, Protagonists are the type least likely to use their bank accounts to keep score. However, the majority of them still measure success by the money they have. Our research suggests that Protagonists are the Diplomats with the most reverence for money and tend to have more mastery over their finances. However, considering Diplomats, that’s far from greedy. They are likely to appreciate the value of money in helping them enjoy experiences with the people they care about, and they are usually generous. They are likely good about saving money.

Challenges: Protagonists can be indecisive about the best uses of their money. While usually highly organized, they may not always have a clear rubric for determining how they spend their cash. This is less about putting things in proper order and more about their generosity being abused.

Tips: To make deciding more automatic, it may help if you create a “money mission statement.” Write down your goals, what is valuable in your life, and what your criteria are for a budget and for giving to others. Establishing such standards would make it less necessary to depend on a new decision for each money question that arises. Simply refer to the mission statement, and see what aligns best with it.

Campaigners (ENFP)

Tendencies: These idealists are the personality type most likely to believe that it is possible to live better while spending less money. Campaigners are also the type least likely to say they can afford most of what they want. This contradiction paints a picture of some of their challenges. They are highly energetic individuals with a lot of charisma and good intentions but not always a lot of follow-up. There is likely a clash between their idealism and practical financial matters. Being easily bored, they also tend to crave things that give them pleasure and are interesting – and these can involve spending.

Challenges: The above tendencies may be enough to give a financial planner motion sickness. Campaigners tend to be all over the place, chasing their ideals and their zest for living. They may lack financial focus.

Tips: Find an app that makes you aware of your money situation regularly. Keeping a budget would probably be helpful, but doing so may seem too mundane to you. The next best thing, then, may be a program on your computer or phone that monitors your spending and saving and summarizes what is happening with your money. Knowledge is power.

Sentinel Personality Types

Logisticians (ISTJ)

Tendencies: Logisticians see money as more of an essential commodity than most do. They tend to be very careful with their money and thoughtful about how it leaves their hands. But compared to their fellow Sentinels, these personalities are more likely to give in to temptation, so they may not always be as hard-core frugal as they might appear on the surface. This, however, doesn’t diminish their overall fondness for budgeting and spending wisely. Or is it fear of not having the means necessary to survive when they need it? Either way, they take saving money seriously.

Challenges: When in a money-sharing relationship like marriage or parenthood, Logisticians’ control over the cash flow may be difficult for the other people involved. One person’s “careful” is another person’s “cheap.” Logistician personalities are sometimes rigid and hold tight to the belief that they are right.

Tips: In some cultures, talking about money is almost taboo. But such discussions may be necessary for your household. Your convictions about money may be more tolerable to others if they feel that their views have been genuinely heard.

Defenders (ISFJ)

Tendencies: That they are the personality type most likely to choose saving money over earning more money as their primary financial goal says a lot about Defenders’ financial style. Rather than a raw ambition that brings a lot of change into their more settled life, Defenders prefer a more conservative style of money management. They likely match their financial needs with maintaining a stable life for themselves and the people they love. For example, they are the least likely personality type to say they spend a lot of money on their hobbies. Saving and sacrificing for a rainy day is their comfort zone.

Challenges: There may be a tendency for Defenders to play it too safe. Or, rather than make emotional waves, they might abandon safety and put their trust in others. There may be two opposing forces at work. Either way, they may not get as much out of their money as they could.

Tips: Read a lot of personal finance material from any credible sources, and boost your financial IQ and confidence. This might encourage and guide you in shopping around for more aggressive ways to make and save money. It can also make you aware of traps that come in the form of faulty advice from a loved one – and help you stand more firmly in declining their bad advice.

Executives (ESTJ)

Tendencies: Social status, and the trappings that show it, are more important for Executives than they are for most personality types. Wanting and having the best can be very motivational, and Executives tend to be among the top earners. Executives’ financial plans usually focus on earning more money rather than saving what they already have. But they also tend to budget more than others and are more likely to plan for anything that costs money rather than buying on impulse. Having the primary goal of earning more income doesn’t necessarily mean that they ignore saving money.

Challenges: Executives may realize that they have let their professional role, and the things they’ve gained from it, come to define them more than they are comfortable with. Many a midlife crisis has emerged from such realizations. There’s nothing wrong with working hard and enjoying the fruit of one’s labor, but that may not be enough at some point in life.

Tips: Vacations. A lot of vacations. Set a quota for a number of vacation weeks per year, just as you might set a professional goal. Get away, and set the intention of getting to know yourself and those you love better, apart from your everyday life. “Adventure” and “exploration” might be the keywords here. Your work will be there when you get back.

Consuls (ESFJ)

Tendencies: Like most Extraverts, the opinions and presence of others are important to Consuls. Their money profile usually involves other people. Consuls are quintessential Sentinels – careful with their money and conscientious about saving. They are most likely conservative investors and prefer saving money over earning more money as their chief financial plan. But, being somewhat stubborn and conventional, they can also be very controlling of others involved in their financial decision-making. It’s likely not a power game for Consuls, however. These personalities generally desire stability and the best for those they care about.

Challenges: There can be tension between the needs and wants of the people in their lives and what Consuls think might work best on the financial front. Caring about people and caring about stable money management, Consuls are likely to feel strongly about both sides of such tension. This may create an inner conflict around money.

Tips: Understand that both the views of others and the need to foster financial stability and efficiency are legitimate. Try to find creative solutions that bring balance. Stretch yourself to think a little more outside the box to bring all concerns into the fold. It need not be an either/or situation. It may take compromise and loosening one’s grip a little to find something that works for all involved.

Explorer Personality Types

Virtuosos (ISTP)

Tendencies: Virtuosos can be mysterious because they tend to be fluid and are hesitant to commit to much. It’s sometimes hard to pin them down. Being among the personality types who would be most likely to quit work if they had all their needs met suggests little passionate commitment to a profession. Virtuosos tend to be low-key, not spending much on status items or spending more than they think they should. Still, paradoxically, they are more motivated by money than most when choosing a career. So money remains a consideration. They just don’t sweat much over it.

Challenges: Virtuosos are sometimes in danger of thinking their way out of caring. Once they think they’ve nailed a topic or skill in life, the subject might not get the love it needs. Money can be one of those things.

Tips: Avoid seeing finances as a static thing. Once you take a position on finances, either personal or global, it’s likely to shift in other directions soon after. With money, there’s always an alternative possibility to explore and new strategies to consider. This may stimulate your curiosity in healthy ways.

Adventurers (ISFP)

Tendencies: It’s said that life is a journey, not just a destination. For Adventurers, it’s almost all a journey. Life is a constant experiment to them – and so, typically, are their finances. Wealth is not a major goal for most Adventurers. That doesn’t mean that these personalities won’t try their hand at becoming affluent, especially if they can do so as an independent entrepreneur. For Adventurers, though, being rich is probably more boring than becoming rich.

Challenges: “Flow state” is a place most of us visit when we’re feeling creative. Adventurers practically live there. Sometimes too many hard facts can clog that flow for people who live in the moment, and they typically become anxious when it does. Unfortunately, good financial planning usually involves dealing with many facets that are likely boring to Adventurers. Being overwhelmed by information can lead Adventurers to shutting down when they need to pay attention to finances.

Tips: Translate money into something that works for you. If you’re a visual Adventurer, create a colorful chart or an allegorical painting representing different financial considerations in your life. If you’re a storyteller, turn financial facts into a mythology designed to inform mere mortals of these higher concepts, and so on… Take the stale, old financial concepts and redesign them into something interesting and fun. Translate them into Adventurese.

Entrepreneurs (ESTP)

Tendencies: Entrepreneurs like to impact the world, and money can be a fantastic tool for doing that. They don’t mind spending cash if it means they make an impression. They are less likely to have a budget because they are fairly sure that they can figure out financial matters on the fly. They are the personality type most likely to describe themselves as adrenaline junkies, and they’re the most optimistic about their outcomes when they take risks. While they may pay attention to their cash flow, if given a choice, they will take an adventure over setting up somewhat predictable financial goals. This probably also applies to their savings.

Challenges: It’s possible for Entrepreneurs to find the excitement they seek in conquering the financial world or even doing an exemplary job with personal finances. But if they have no interest in these things, then they can also find budgeting, investing, and saving a deadly bore. They may try to boost their financial excitement by taking risks they cannot afford.

Tips: Risk-seeking and taking can be highly profitable, so you don’t want to eliminate it entirely. However, risk includes the potential for loss. Smart risk-taking includes some idea of what an acceptable loss looks like, as well as a willingness and ability to let go of the money without dire consequences if the risk fails. Don’t let your optimism be blind. Slow down. Assess any loss rationally before making a move. Ask yourself, “Am I willing to lose this if the worst happens?”

Entertainers (ESFP)

Tendencies: The most telling research for Entertainers is that they are significantly below average in letting money make their career decisions for them. They like to enjoy life, and that includes life during their work hours. These bons vivants are more willing than most to reward themselves by spending a part of their paycheck enjoyably as soon as they get it. However, this should not be interpreted as self-centered behavior. They generally want to bring others along for their enjoyable ride. Entertainers are among the personality types who enjoy luxury and beauty the most. They would rather not let a budget or saving impede that. They are the personality type least likely to budget money for dining out, and yet going out for a meal is something they say they enjoy doing. With spending and saving, Entertainers would be the type most likely to remind you that, “You can’t take it with you.”

Challenges: The trick for Entertainers is making sure that they have enough money coming in, so they can enjoy the things they do. When the cash runs dry, the party may be over.

Tips: Planning is an important part of staying financially stable. Entertainers like to seek the opinions of others and have respect for what others think. An excellent place to practice that might be by consulting with a financial advisor who can help you prepare for the future.

The Beginning

Rather than a conclusion, perhaps this is a beginning. Taking the information about your personality traits and tendencies when it comes to handling finances and having a good look at how these concepts apply to you as an individual may provide a fresh way of looking at money. Good luck (and good skill) with your financial future.

Do you have a financial tip to share? We always love reading your comments.

Further Reading

  • If you’re an Architect or Mediator struggling to rein in your spending, you might relate to the experiences of two of our writers.
  • Generosity is a wonderful quality, but it can present certain pitfalls for different personality types. Learn more here.
  • How frugal are you? Take our survey to weigh in and see how you compare to other personality types.
  • For more in-depth insights and advice on personal growth, including goal-setting and self-responsibility, try our Premium Profiles and Academy.

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