Episode 9 – How to Find Balance Using the Four Money Personalities

Following up on the previous episode, Danielle Howard digs even deeper into the four money personalities: fire, earth, water, and air. It’s important to realize your financial personality because of its impacts on all areas of life, including your career choice, who you choose to spend your life with, and whether that relationship will endure or end.

How might your money personality shape your life course? What strengths and challenges come with each personality? Danielle has the answers in this episode.

Listen now to learn how you can use the challenges and opportunities of your money personality to find balance not only in yourself, but also with others—including your financial advisor.

[00:00:02] Welcome to the Wealth Done Differently Retirement podcast. Danielle Howard, a certified financial planner, shares insight into the financial tools, techniques and temperaments needed to make the most of your retirement dollars and relationships. Danielle bridges the gap between Wall Street and Main Street, bringing complex financial topics down to earth. Danielle will educate and inspire you as you define and refine your version of prosperity.

[00:00:35] Hello and welcome to Wealth Done Differently Retirement with Danielle Howard, a certified financial planner. Alright Danielle, we are talking about the four money personalities and you’ve shared some already in previous podcasts, but I really want to get into this a little bit deeper with you. Are you ready to go? You bet. Alright, can you give us a summary of what the four money personalities are?

[00:00:54] Certainly. I think we want to start with why it’s so important to know your personality, your financial personality. I grew up reading Ann Landers and she has a quote that says, ‘Know yourself. Don’t accept your dog’s admiration as conclusive evidence that you are wonderful.’ And I think as we look at what does it mean to understand our financial personalities, you know we look at are you an extrovert or are you an introvert and we know that those have an impact on a lot of areas of our life, but the same is true with our financial personality. It impacts everything. It has an impact on the job and career you would choose. It is going to have an impact on the person that you choose to spend your life with, and it will play out and either draw you together or tear you apart. As we know, 50 percent of marriages end because of financial challenges. It has an impact on how you spend your money, how you make your financial decisions, how you share, give your financial resources, and even how you choose to make investments or protect your financial life, your personal life. So understanding your financial personality is I think foundational to having a healthy financial life and especially as you are moving into your Fall Season of Life, retirement, it is even more important because those personalities may be fairly firmly entrenched and we want to really garner wisdom from how to use and recognize the opportunities and address the challenges. So I would just encourage everybody to take a look at first of all, why do we want to understand and recognize and possibly look at what needs to change within the context of our financial personalities. Does that make sense?

[00:03:06] Absolutely. Because money to me is numbers. And numbers, there’s not usually emotion with mathematics. But you have an incredibly strong point. When emotion gets involved or life experience gets involved, it changes dramatically. So where do we start?

[00:03:20] Well, I start with making this a little playful. I know there’s a lot of research out there and this is starting to be a pretty solid base of under, understanding. But we want to make it kind of fun and playful as we dig into this. So I live in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado and I love to be outside and as I looked around me, you basically have four, so to be playful and look at what the four earth elements are — fire, earth, water and air. It’s just a fun way, knowing that there is no right or wrong with this. We need all of them. If we look at our, the way we live we need all four of those elements to have a a full life and they’re actually part of our nature. They are a part of who we are. And so to play with that and to say, okay how can we tie those into the financial world, into our financial personalities was kind of a fun way to look at things. You know a fire personality, again we did a whole podcast and drilled down on these, but you can think of that fire personality as you know, enjoying adventure and unexpected and maybe that entrepreneur and hot stock picker and you like to be the center of attention. That’s kind of a very general description of some of the opportunities with it. With air, you know you’re a thinker, you’re resourceful, you study things, you’re going to read the Consumer Reports. You like looking at the big picture, how this is going to impact every area of your life.

[00:05:13] Earth is going to be the person that is you know, got their feet solidly planted on the ground, possibly even has their head in the sand at times. You stick to things, you’re comfortable with money, usually under the mattress instead of in the market. You want to be very loyal and you know, you can kind of seek that Earthy, earthy feel. The water, you live in the moment, you’re light hearted. You’re giving and creative, it flows, money flows through you. It may not be a lot but it’s the context and how it flows. You easily receive, you easily give, you adapt to circumstances. Again, take a listen to the the last podcast and we drilled quite a bit deeper into each one of these.

[00:06:06] And I think today we were going to kind of build on that and take a look at you know, as we look at the impacts of your job or career choice, relationships, you know kind of some of the different dynamics of it, you know I thought we could maybe play that out a little bit as we move forward with this interaction.

[00:06:30] Alright, that’s great. So we’re starting with fire?

[00:06:33] Sure. We kind of think of that fire personality as the person that is very entrepreneurial. And again, the opportunities and challenges in that. And one of the things we tapped into is that you want to look at the relationships in your life. And you’re you’re going to look around you and start seeing these different types of personalities as they play out. And as you watch somebody pull out their credit card or talk at a cocktail party, you’re going to kind of start thinking about some of these personalities. And again, it’s not to be judgemental, it’s just to kind of recognize what some of the opportunities inherent in those personalities and what are some of the challenges. And that the place I see this play out mostly is of course in our closest relationships, whether it’s with our spouse or parents or children. And it again can, if we recognize these opportunities and threats and challenges and address them and recognize them and work through them, we’re going to create more of that momentum in what it means to have the healthy financial life. Let me just give you an example of a couple in their, you know moving towards their retirement years. And he was the entrepreneur, you know, big business owner, fire personality. He loved making money. He was really good at it. And the wife was the more down to earth, the conservative, that you know, married for over 30 years. And they’ve obviously figured out how to work through some of this because they’re still together. But you know, the stories you hear along the way have been you know, have been challenging in that you know she would have a lot of fear around money because here was a spouse that was you know, he put all of their eggs in one basket and go for the next business. And sometimes it worked and sometimes it didn’t. And he had to learn how to listen to her and understand, and her personality and the benefits of her personality and that maybe they did need to put some away in savings and maybe they did need to create some investment buckets that were less risk consumptive, where it wasn’t all in one basket with a business. That they were able to start looking at what it meant to diversify a little bit and to maybe come up with a plan. Because he would just you know get into the next adventure and the next business and he was just on fire all the time, possibly to the point of burnout to where you know I’m just done, I can’t do this anymore. And you know, what does what happens at that point? So in our relationships, we want to understand that we need to work together and that there may be times when we need to recognize and lift up or recognize and dive into what it would mean to support that other person and their financial personality and understand the benefit within the context of a relationship.

[00:10:14] It seems that you’re talking about balance. Truly. Truly. I mean, that’s what it sounds like to me.

[00:10:20] Yeah and it’s not just, it’s again in my description, it’s four different components so you don’t ever want to, you maybe have a propensity to be more earth-oriented or water or air.

[00:10:37] And if you are just all in with any one, you’re going to miss out on some other opportunities.

[00:10:45] So if you are a water personality and money flows through you very easily and you are married to a earth personality, who is more of that saver and wants to think things through and wants to build little ponds on the side, you can work together. You can, you can say alright, we need to have some of this money flow into a place where we’re going to have a reserve and you can talk about it and you can have have conversations that are more meaningful and do a little bit of planning. Where a a water personality in their nature wouldn’t normally want to plan. And as you understand each other and build upon the strengths with each other, you can get all those four elements in there. If you’re in a work situation, do you want all four elements within your corporate management structure? Probably. Absolutely. When you’re looking for a financial adviser, you know, what type of personality would you, would you want? A good mix, definitely. If you were looking for a financial advisor, what kind of personality, I mean with the brief description I gave, which one would you think you’d want?

[00:12:07] Oh I think that a little mixture because of where I’m at my stage life, but definitely some earth. I want somebody to to help me with kind of bringing me to the point where I’m saving and I’m I’m, kind of reining me in, because as an entrepreneur I might lead more toward fire myself. But I also want them to support me in that in a way to kind of give me that advice, okay this is a good idea right now or this will be a good idea in six months. And at the same time I want to make sure that they have a little bit of water in them because I like philanthropy, and I like to be able to give but I want to give wisely. Right. I don’t want to just give and then all of a sudden, everything is gone. So it would definitely be a mix of of at least three, if not all four.

[00:12:52] I think it’s all four. I think that’s, you nailed it on the head. I think for your financial adviser, you want somebody who is very, very well balanced and can come about the perspective of walking alongside you, recognize where you’re at and understand who you are and build on those strengths and yet help you recognize the opportunities and the inherent challenges and kind of guide you along the way. And I think that was really important for me to get. You know, I’ve been in this business for over 23 years and I came into the business as a very, very strong earth personality. And looking back on that, I can see where I missed out on maybe some growth opportunity because I was more comfortable with very, very conservative investments — both personally and for my clients. And I had to start taking a look at you know who I was, recognizing some of the challenges that I was actually bringing to the table, and take a hard look at them. And so now I have after 23 years of doing this, I have a more well-rounded approach where I’m walking alongside people. Again, not saying that entrepreneurial, oh my gosh you shouldn’t do that because that’s way too risky, but walking alongside somebody and saying, how can we do this wisely and how can we look especially in the arena of retirement, look at the financial personalities not only in the context of how you’re going to shift that money flow. It’s now more coming to you from different different resources versus if you were that entrepreneur and now you’re saying, boy you know, I’m either burnt out or it’s time for me to look at how to rewire. Well, what part of your financial personality have you enjoyed? What has worked for you? How can you realign that in other areas of your life to keep you engaged and impactful and living a life of meaning and purpose and at the same time understanding that we’re shifting the stream of money and how it’s coming into you, and how maybe some of these other personalities would now play into your overall financial plan.

[00:15:20] Danielle, when I looked at the the four pieces, your audience there’s going to be people that are going to be fire. They’re going to be predominantly water or earth or air. Can you kind of give some examples of opportunities and challenges of each one of those so that we know what we need to be talking to our advisor about what they should know about us to be able to push us and help us. If we’re more water, they you know, need to be able to be a little bit more earth for us. Can you kind of show us what the opportunities and challenges each one of those is?

[00:15:48] Sure. And again I’m going to make sure people know we did this a little bit, or did a little, a lot in a previous podcast. But to kind of look at them again, the fire opportunities are going to be your entrepreneurial type and you’re going to attract others like you know, picture that fire, you know that dark night and the fire’s burning and it draws people. And you’re the same way, people are drawn to you, you have that enigmatic personality that really attracts people. And you enjoy picking up the tab when you go out, you’re going to be attentive to the needs of others and you may like to give unexpected gifts because it makes people happy. In your giving, you’re the type that you appreciate having your name on the plaque and the notoriety that comes with it. You’re going to be the person that lends money money to to friends and you also spend money on image on things that will project that positive image.

[00:16:57] Again, no right or wrong with any of these, but you need to understand that sometimes the challenges can come into play if you move too far to either end of the spectrum. With fire, you know you can burn through money quickly and get caught up maybe in some credit card debt or you may leverage the house to dive into the next big business. Sometimes it pays off and other times not so much, so putting all your financial eggs in one basket. Whether it’s in your entrepreneurial activities or maybe even your investment strategies, you go after that hot stock pick. You know, you go to the cocktail parties and you’re the one that has the hot stock tip or you try and pick one up. You know you don’t have too much delayed gratification.

[00:17:49] You may keep money secrets because you are, you move so fast that you don’t have time to talk about it with others so it’s like, oh I did that, you know we’re not even we’re not going to even talk about that one. And sometimes you feel guilty or ashamed when those money, those hot stock tips don’t work out for you. That’s a kind of a general, general overview of fire. With air,

[00:18:17] you tend to think a lot. So you’re going to be resourceful and very studious. You’re going to, again, read those Consumer Reports and delve into ratings. You’re going to be rational and very proactive around your financial matters, you’re going to look at the really big picture that overarching theme of where you, want you want your money to do for you.

[00:18:40] You may be really creative in how you solve problems whether it’s finding a job, getting out of debt, working towards a goal. You can multitask and you’re going to excel when you’re focused on a project, goal or a problem. Some of the challenges are just like the wind, can change direction, you can too. Sometimes you’re insensitive to listening to other people, or inconsistent. Some may call you selfish because you’re very much focused on you know what, what you need to do. When you lack the skills to feel financially confident, you don’t, you won’t make a decision, so that analysis paralysis type of state. You may have challenges supporting yourself as a sole financial earner because you you just move around from one thing to the next

[00:19:35] as far as career choices. Or you may choose a career that doesn’t necessarily pay well but it makes your heart feel good. And you may have some challenges with collaborating with people in your life who are affected by your financial choices because you just kind of want to go where the wind blows you. That Earth, the opportunities again you tend to be really solid, stable, reliable. Somebody needs money, they’re going to come to you. You like that idea of security. You’re comfortable with money under the mattress and you might not trust the system. You know, I’ve heard Earth people call you knowbeing in the stock market is just like gambling in Vegas. It’s like no, it isn’t, but let’s help you understand it. You’re going to shop for bargains.

[00:20:30] You’re going to feel secure having material possessions. You you like things that you can touch and feel and and they’re solid. You’re very loyal, whether to your bank or your advisory professionals. And you know you’re the you’re the one that’s probably going to save and delayed gratification is a game for you as is shopping for good deals. You’re very organized and you’re going to be proactive in your financial life. The challenges include being a bit stubborn or bull headed. So you can stick to whether it’s a job, an investment, a financial product or even people, that are a drain on you. You may tend to be very committed to them and it isn’t working out. You can be really rigid with a spending plan, you know that budget we’re sticking to our budget, we’re not going over budget so we’re not going to have any fun because it’s not in our budget. And you miss out and you could miss out on a lot of

[00:21:33] that way. You can tend to be a hoarder because you seek security, and meaning and comfort for material possessions they may overtake your life.

[00:21:44] You tend to save for tomorrow at the fault of missing out on today. And sometimes you are frugal to a fault and you buy on price point only, not on quality. Those are some of the challenges around Earth people. And with the water personality, you love to live in the moment, you’re light hearted. You’re creative, you’re giving, money flows easily in and out of your life whether you have a little or a lot. When it is flowing in as a tickle, trickle trickle you’ll be ineffectual. But when it, when the financial waters are rising, you’re going to have a lot of a lot of fun and you’re going to give more, you’re going to spend more, you’re going to play more, you’re going to save more, you’re going to be a force to be reckoned with. You don’t pay a lot attention to money. And again, you adapt easily to circumstances beyond your control.

[00:22:42] Something you know, and the market takes a dive and you go, you know you’re not going to be the one that pulls all your money out. You’re going to say it’s probably going to come back and let’s just let it ride, let’s see what happens with it. You share what you have easily with others, you’re optimistic. You make financial decisions quickly based on your feelings, and you can be very trusting. So some of your challenges are going to be that, go with your gut. You make emotional financial decisions that can work against you. You know, you’ll buy something because you know you need it in a moment, you won’t think through that

[00:23:23] is this really a ego desire or is this the soul need? You’re going to get anxious with market corrections and dive out at the bottom. You could be gullible, you could fall for get rich quick schemes, and you may give to a fault sacrificing your own needs and the security for others.

[00:23:46] So these are just kind of some general ideas around the personalities. Again, it’s a playful way to to look at it and by again no means a, there’s not a right or wrong with this, it’s just a way to kind of understand who you are, who others are. As we look at you know, money is, money is used in a variety of ways in our lives and we want to take a look at how it helps us to feel safe and secure, maybe in control. We want to, we want to enjoy the moment. We want to create a positive image and you know, show up and be be ready to be there for others. You want to feel good about when you give, you want to have moments when you can spend and have not, it’s not part of the spending plan, it’s not in the budget.

[00:24:41] And you also want to look at your short and long term goals. So having that well rounded financial personality is part of living in a healthy financial life world.

[00:24:55] That’s fantastic. This really gave me a ton of insight into myself. I’m betting that a lot of our audience is thinking, oh man I am a mixture of this or this, or I’m really all this. So, having an adviser that recognizes that in in you and and is able to help you balance that out and show you the pros and cons or the opportunities and challenges that you’ll face, if you if you don’t kind of adapt, it’s, it would be fantastic. So I know that people, you’ve spoken and you’ve given your information, how do people reach out to you to have this conversation?

[00:25:30] You can reach us for a personal, if you feel your situation is you know, more complex and you want the face-to-face interaction, you can reach us at wealthbydesign4u.com and look at what we’ve going for our journey of financial health, especially as you move into the distribution phase of your life and wanting to look at both the financial components and the financial personalities.

[00:26:01] We have an upcoming eight week retirement course we’re going to be launching in late August that you can find out about at DanielleHoward4u.com. Actually it’s DanielleHowardCFP, actually, I’m drawing a blank on what my website name is.

[00:26:22] Nope, you got it, it’s DanielleHoward4u.com.

[00:26:26] Okay. Cleaned that one up.

[00:26:30] Yup. You can check out at DanielleHoward4u.com and you can get a copy of our monetary manifesto on either one of those sites. That’s really going to lay out how you may want to look at your financial life in a little bit of a new way where you are taking control of the aspects that you can. So much is out of our control in life, but there are things that we can take control over and one of them is understanding who we are and who are the others in our life are as it is deemed by their financial personality to come about it with you know, that more interactive, more inquisitive, more

[00:27:14] how can we work together to do what is important to each of us in our in our financial lives.

[00:27:21] Danielle, thank you so much for your time today.

[00:27:23] You’re welcome. Thank you Aric.

[00:27:25] Yep. And thank you for listening to today’s podcast with Danielle Howard. If you have not subscribed to the podcast yet, please click the subscribe now button below. This way when Danielle comes out with a new podcast, it’ll show up directly on your listening device. It also makes it even easier to share these podcasts with your friends and family. Again, thank you so much for listening today. For everyone at Wealth Done Differently, this is Aric Johnson reminding you to live your best day, every day. See you next time.

[00:27:50] Thank you for listening to the Wealth Done Differently Retirement podcast. Click the subscribe button below to be notified when new episodes become available. The information covered and posted represents the views and opinions of the guest and does not necessarily represent the views or opinions of Wealth by Design, LLC. The content has been made available for informational and educational purposes only. The content is not intended to be a substitute for professional investing advice. Always seek the advice of your financial adviser or other qualified service provider with any questions you may have regarding your investment planning.

[00:28:28] Danielle Howard, certified financial planner, is an investment adviser representative of Cambridge Investment Research Advisors, a registered investment adviser. Securities offered through Cambridge Investment Research, INC.,

[00:28:41] a broker dealer, member FINRA SIPC, Cambridge and Wealth by Design, LLC are not affiliated.

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