"Valerie" (not her real name to protect her privacy), newly engaged to Bob who has two children from his prior marriage, is meeting with Bob and his long time male estate-planning attorney. The attorney and Bob are talking about possible structures to use to avoid taxes and protect his key concerns as they relate to his children and begin to initiate the prenup conversation. The two men are using technical terms and jargon Valerie does not understand. She is not being included in the discussion and her head starts to swim with confusion and anxiety.In that moment Valerie's "Money Types" start kicking into high gear.
What are Money Types?
Money Types are a way of describing common patterns people develop to get their needs met when relating to money and financial decisions. You know them well. Think of the last time…
- A bill arrives in the mail. Do you open it immediately and pay it? Do you set it aside for later and forget to pay it? Do you hand it to someone else to take care of it for you?
- A check or payment is received. Do you open it and deposit it that day? Do you put it aside and misplace it?
- A conversation with your partner about money starts. Do you have the information you need? Do you avoid the conversation? Does your stomach start to hurt?
Whatever your approach is, know that it is universal and generated by one of the eight most common money types we ALL have. How prevalent each type is varies from person to person.Deborah L. Price, founder of the Money Coaching Institute and author of Money Magic, defines these Money Types as:
- Innocent: A sense of confusion and anxiety.
- Fool: Leaping in before gathering the relevant data.
- Victim: Feeling put upon and blaming others.
- Martyr: Righteously indignant, resentful, and passive/aggressive.
- Tyrant: Needing to control; easily offended, and highly reactive when perceiving they are in a losing position.
- Creator/Artist: Conflicted about money and avoidant.
- Warrior: Empowered, eager to learn, and ready with the data.
- Magician: Aware, alert, and grounded in the current circumstance while able to access creative and new ways to deal with persistent problems.
Remember each of us has all eight of these! While no one wants to be seen as a "tyrant" or a "fool," understanding when and how these characters show up in our lives, in our conversations, and in our decision-making, is useful, revealing and empowering.
Understanding each of the Money Types is liberating because as soon as you're aware of which character is driving your bus, you can direct it where you want to go, or you can put another one in the driver's seat and get there more quickly and competently.
Money Types in Action
Let's revisit "Valerie" and her experience from a money types perspective. Her confusion and overwhelm activates her "innocent" which keeps quiet and does not ask any questions. When she realizes that the decisions they are making will have a direct impact on her freedom to make financial decisions on her own if Bob should die first, her "victim" then takes over and becomes quite hurt and upset, yet she still does not say anything.
If she had awareness of "innocent" and "victim" types and how they are driving her behavior in the meeting, she could access her "warrior" to step in and speak up. Her "warrior" will respectfully express her concern, and ask that they slow down and describe what they are talking about and how it will impact her directly in ways that she can understand. The "warrior" would continue to slow them down each time they said a term she was unclear about and ask for further clarification and how it relates to the bigger picture.
Now imagine this couple leaving that meeting. If she did not have awareness and access to her "warrior", chances are that her "innocent" and "victim" team would call her "martyr" to be center stage and Bob will have one resentful, angry, and hurt woman criticizing or stonewalling him on their drive home. And his "tyrant" will likely jump right in and start defending himself and then stonewalling her. This scenario is all too familiar for the majority of couples.
By being empowered to have her "warrior" step forward and make sure her needs got addressed as well, the couple has a chance of having a much more enjoyable and relaxed drive home, sharing what they both got from the meeting, and discussing the next steps for their estate-planning process.
Click here for a download gift that goes into more detail about the Money Types and provides a simple assessment you can do individually, and with your partner, to better understand each of your approaches to finances.