by Erin Papworth
Ever taken a personality test? Ever wonder how your personality might influence the way you manage your money?
Welcome to the new Mindset subscription which allows you to build your own Money Portrait so you can assess your financial personality through a brief quiz. Your Portrait is a baseline understanding of your personal perspective on life, so you can connect your emotions, values, and personality to how you manage money.
The Psychology of Money Management
We’re taught that money management is all about counting dollars, ratios, and APR. As a person who played the athlete “I-have-to-travel-so-much” card to squeak through Algebra 2, the idea that money management was all about math terrified me for a long time.
However, as I started to make money and learn how finances actually work, I had a key realization. Yes, it is essential to know how to make money, to grow your money, how banks make money off you, and how to pay attention to Uncle Sam. However, financial literacy is actually just the foundation needed when it comes to all the daily, weekly, and monthly money management decisions required of us as adults.
Financial literacy is about knowing yourself as much as it is knowing how to manage money.
I realized in my late 20s that how I felt about money (and about math and risk), and frankly about myself, significantly influenced my money choices. And those choices were often counterintuitive to the academic theories I had read like, “invest the max in your 401k” or “only buy used cars if you want to be a millionaire”. How I used money, my fears that lead to hoarding cash, my lifestyle choices, and my emotional spending triggers (I see you, Target) was not driven by a cool-headed financial analysis. They were driven by all the non-financial factors that influenced or affected my mental health. That self-awareness was my first step to finding a healthy relationship with myself and my finances. It led me to a fascinating, multi-year journey of investigating what beliefs, values and money stories I had accumulated over the years that triggered my decision making.
Your Nav.it Data Portrait: know yourself, know your money.
Financial decisions are all about how we think and feel about money, our emotions and preconceived notions of what lifestyle we want to live, what self-esteem we have, and where we place value.
Since at Nav.it we believe self-awareness is the first step to financial well-being, we’ve integrated a five-question survey at the beginning of your Nav.it experience to give you a baseline understanding of your values, beliefs, and outlook on life. This is meant to start a conversation, both for you as an individual and in community with other Navigators. All Navigators have their own Portraits that act as a baseline to find commonality or difference between us all and our money stories. At the end of the day, everyone has to manage money. It’s time to find ways to talk about it as a group, so we can grow and learn together.
And this is just the starting point. Stick around! We have many more fun financial personality questions in the works. For now, let me explain how you can take the first step to building your Portrait.
The App Experience: Identify and track how you like to spend, save and grow.
When you onboard for the first time onto Nav.it we ask you the questions below. Your answers will start to paint a beautiful visual of your Portrait that reflects your unique personality and experiences. If your feelings evolve or you just want to reflect further on your answers, you can always change your responses in the Profile tab of the app under Update Portrait.
Now let’s break down the questions in the quiz:
How would your friends describe you?
- Responsible and reliable
- Reserved and introspective
- Ambitious and driven
- Imaginative and creative.
This question is designed to allow you to reflect on what character qualities you believe most define you. Now, of course, you probably feel a mix of these personality types per day. Don’t get too caught up in precision here. No personality quiz can fully assess the fluctuation of emotions, talents, behaviors and interests you have on a given day let alone as you age into other stages of life.
However, how you perceive the world does tell you how you may feel when engaging with your money, financial planners and discussions around finances. If you are most likely to feel responsible and reliable, how do those traits translate into how you approach money management? Are you more likely to seek out financial advice? Are you the person that loves to budget and build spreadsheets for your household spending?
If you’re ambitious and driven, how has that affected your career choices, where you live and your cost of living.
Whatever your personality, reflecting on how your character has impacted your career choices, your spending habits and your motivations is an excellent way to start building your Portrait.
Compared to my actual age, I feel
- Just right
This question allows you to identify how you feel on this life journey. If you feel young for your age, does that mean you’re not too worried about the next three stages of life? Also, how you’re going to pay for that next stage?
Which of the following feels most important to you?
- Earning fame and recognition
- Belonging to a circle of family and friends
- Contributing positively to the world
- Achieving my personal or professional goals
This is a value question that shows where you may put a lot of your time and effort (and spend, save, invest accordingly). What you prioritize in life will be reflected in how you spend money. For example, if belonging to a circle of family and friends is incredibly important to you, how does your monthly spending on gifts, travel, food and family reflect that? Is there a correlation between your sense of belonging and your financial choices?
This is a great conversation starter: how are our values and priorities reflected in how we manage money? My personal choice for this question is ‘contribute positively to the world’ and that is highly reflected in my career choices and earnings in my early career. I spent many years in humanitarian aid, not generating an incredibly high salary. I was laser-focused on proving I could successfully implement programs that had a positive impact on the quality of people’s lives around me. My salary, my investment choices, my general spending, and even my higher educational choices (read: tuition payments) reflected this value and the career choices I made over time.
What you prioritize in life is key to understanding your financial decisions now and in the future.
I hope the next generation enjoys more _________ than I did?
- Wealth and economic security
- High-quality education
- Health and well-being
- Freedom and equality
I love this question because it has two synergistic results. One is that it gives us pause to think about our child and what we hope they achieve and succeed while we’re gone. Hope is a very powerful emotion that helps us overcome and navigate all the difficult personal, financial and psychological challenges of life. This question taps into the hope you may or may not always feel about the future, rising slightly above just finances and thinking about society as a whole.
Second, your answer also reflects the key pain points you perceive to be dominant in society today and has influenced your journey.
A good friend of mine immediately chose high-quality education because she is a teacher and deeply affected by the continued tension in our society between public schools, private education, state and federal funding, and, of course, the consequences of COVID on the education system. So she identified education as a key pain point while hoping for something better. At the base of this question is another question to the respondent, if that is what we hope for the next generation, what are we doing about that issue right now? Are we voting in alignment with our hopes? Are we supporting causes with our hard-earned dollars that fight for the future?
Nav.it is working to add more features to support our mission and hopes.
I believe the future is:
This is the final question in our Data Portrait and provides an opportunity for us to reflect on how we perceive the future. Our mindsets are well-documented psychological states that give people context in which they navigate the world.
In conclusion, we believe the Portrait is a starting point. By knowing and being more in tune with who you are and how you spend, Nav.it is able to create a roadmap uniquely calibrated to how you want to spend, save, and grow your wealth.