Do Your Spending Habits Reveal Your Personality?

man holding money personality

Trending News: New study links personality traits to spending

You may not know this, but the way you spend money may speak volumes about your personality, according to a new study published in the journal of Psychological Science.

For example, if you like to spend money on flights, it may suggest you are an open-minded individual. Buying drinks and dining out may reveal you are extroverted. Like giving to charities? This could suggest you are an agreeable person.

Researchers analyzed over two million financial records from more than 2000 people to assess better understand their personality traits. Upon completion of the analysis, investigators grouped people into one of five categories, based on their spending habits.

Joe Gladstone, a study co-author and assistant professor of consumer behavior at University College London, shared the following statement about the research in a press release:

“Now that most people spend their money electronically – with billions of payment cards in circulation worldwide – we can study these spending patterns at scale like never before. Our findings demonstrate for the first time that it is possible to predict people's personality from their spending.”

Other findings from the study suggest that if you tend to save money, it may mean you are more conscientious. Conversely, if you like to blow cash on bling, such as jewelry instead of donating to charity, it may mean you are materialistic.

Oh, if you spend less on bank charges (i.e., ATM fees), it could mean you have a high degree of self-control. And if you have worked hard to get a lower rate on your mortgage, it may mean you are neurotic.

personality money 100 dollarbills

Investigators admit that trying to figure out someone’s personality based on spending habits is less accurate than social media behaviors. That’s probably because “Liking” something on Facebook is a more direct “tell” than charging airline tickets on a credit card.

Curious about the topic of spending habits and traits, Men’s Variety spoke to Len Rapoport, a consumer spending specialist and blogger at Tough Nickel.

“Researchers have used buying patterns as a predictive analysis tool for some time now. But it’s difficult to tell a person’s personality based on broad categories of spending alone. A more accurate approach might be to look at individual purchases and where they are made. For example, donating money to a political party probably reveals more about a person as opposed to them buying a round of whiskey at a bar,” Rapaport said.

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Psychologist Seth J. Gillihan, Ph.D., an assistant professor of psychology the University of Pennsylvania, recently penned a piece on Psychology Today about what your relationship with money says about you.

“Your relationship with money can show what you think of yourself. If you’re confident about financial matters and willing to take a risk, you likely see yourself as competent and adequate to meet life’s challenges,” Gillihan said.

“On the other hand, if you’re often afraid of running out of money and failing in your financial ventures, you might harbor the belief that “I am not enough.” It goes deeper than money—it’s about your own internal resources and ability to manage what comes your way,” he adds.

What do you think? Is it possible to tell something about a person’s personality based on how they spend money? Share your thoughts in the comments area below.

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About Brian Lannoye 63 Articles
Brian is a journalist specializing in men's issues. His interests include technology, physical fitness, outdoor adventures, exercise training, men’s grooming and medical advances. Hailing from Green Bay, he attended University of Wisconsin and NWTC. Follow him on: Facebook for new posts.