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Spendthrift, Contentment, or Miser? What’s Your Money Personality?

Money PersonalitySomeone’s wealth can easily be identified with their net worth. If your net worth is zero (or negative), then you are officially broke. If you have a net worth that’s $100,000 or thereabouts, you’re pretty average. And if your net worth exceeds $2 million, it’s pretty safe to say that you’re wealthy. But this doesn’t necessarily say anything about your money personality now does it?

What’s Your Money Personality?

So what’s the difference between a current state of wealth and a money personality? Won’t the wealthy simply have a saver personality and the broke have a spending personality? You’d think so, but not necessarily.

1) Spendthrift

Spendthrift def. = a person who spends money in an extravagant, irresponsible way.

The ‘spendthrift’ money personality gets a charge out of spending money. They see the item in the store and their adrenaline starts pumping, their eyes get big, and they just can’t pull themselves away. They want it and they want it now. Out comes the credit card (their heart is racing) and swipe! It’s theirs. Ohhhh what a gooood feeling.

It’s true – most spendthrift personalities have a crap ton of stuff and are worth absolutely nothing (or even have a negative net worth). But there are a few that manage to out-earn their spontaneous spending habits. Executives, doctors, lawyers, business owners – these are the types that might spend $200,000 a year on random stuff, but because they earn $350,000+, they still manage to save a little and invest a little, which still eventually brings them into millionaire status down the road.

2) Miser

Miser def. = a person who hoards wealth and spends as little money as possible.

The miser spending personality is sometimes difficult to detect initially. They coupon, they enjoy saving money – they just seem like a responsible adult, saving for the future like the rest of us. But there soon becomes a very detectable difference.

Misers say things like:

  • “I can’t believe that person drives a brand new Lexus. My car does exactly the same thing and costs $40,000 less.
  • “Why would anyone go out to eat? Don’t they know they can make the exact same food at home for 10% of the price??”
  • “4,000 square feet for two people? What on earth do they need all that space for? They should be ashamed of themselves.”

Because misers can’t bear to spend their own money, they quickly reprimand anyone that might spend lavishly on what they enjoy.

No matter your earnings, misers will always think you’re doing wrong if you spend more than they do. They’re bitter, hard-headed, and you’ll never change their mind.

3) Contentment

Contentment def. = a state of happiness and satisfaction

Those that are content are typically kind and giving, but they don’t mind spending a buck every now and then. Ask them if they think people should own a $40,000 and they’d shrug and say, “I don’t know, how much are they worth?” Contentment isn’t a measure of what you spend, it’s a measure of how important stuff is to you.

If you’re worth $10,000,000 (that’s 10 million) dollars and could technically afford a fleet of Lamborghini’s, but instead you drive a 2-year-old Lexus SUV, then you might still be considered content don’t you think?

Unlike the miser, the contented person doesn’t have hatred for the wealthy (or the poor for that matter). They’re able to enjoy the money that they have. And if they didn’t have the money, then they’d still be content with what they have.

Which Money Personality Are You?

I don’t know about you, but out of all the money personalities above, I’d much rather befriend the contented person. And for that very reason, that’s why it’s the money personality I most strive for.

If you find that you often spend recklessly and have a hard time saving money, consider what your wealth could be if you simply invested more and spent less! Saving just $500 a month over the course of 30 years could make you a millionaire, so why aren’t you doing it?

If you find yourself on the opposite end of the spectrum and can’t stand spending money. What on earth are you saving it for? And why do you continually pass judgement on those that like a little style in their lives? You know, if you’re 40 years old and you’ve got a million dollars in investments, it might be time to live a little. Buy a nice car! Take a nice vacation! Or take a year off of work and go travel the world! I guarantee you won’t regret it.

Finally, if you’re a person that exudes contentment, can I be your friend? Seriously, there aren’t enough people in this world like you. I would love to give more freely and spend without as much worry, but yet still have millions in the bank when I’m old. That’s the goal anyway – to spend, give, and save…to impact the lives of others, to enrich and nourish the love of my family, and to pass both money and wisdom to my children and to my childrens’ children.

What money personality are you? And which do you aspire to be?

Battle of the Mind Money

AUTHOR Derek Sall

Derek has a Bachelor's degree in Finance and a Master's in Business. As a finance manager in the corporate world, he regularly identified and solved problems at the C-suite level. Today, Derek isn't interested in helping big companies. Instead, he's helping individuals win financially--one email, one article, one person at a time.


  1. I consider myself content. Admittedly, my actions sometimes seem to come from a mix of the other categories. Eating out? I cringe at the thought of spending money on the meals I can make at home. That doesn’t mean I won’t go out, just that I rather spend $100 for the meal that’s great than the burger / bar food for $50. Our 20th anniversary, was a few years back, and the tab for 10 of us was $1800. That spending was planned, and 2 of the couples flew in for the weekend to help us celebrate. That year, I was on a budgeting identification project, and calculated that our food bill was $10,400 for the 3 of us for the year. Including that dinner, all eating out, and all grocery shopping.

    I have a Toyota Avalon. I read the articles about serial car buyers trying to find the right age/price point, and decided that I’ve rather not risk someone else’s headache. What I found interesting was that 3 of my closer friends at the time all had an Avalon, so my car buying time was brief. I talked to each of them and they all said they liked the car. I bought a new one off the lot 12 years ago, and it should last me another 5-6 years. (On a side note, it’s an American car, built in Kentucky. A neighbor’s Ford Taurus? Made in Canada)

    • Ha, awesome comment Joe. Sounds like you’re pretty content to me. And I love the comment about the American made Toyota and the foreign produced Ford. 🙂 Thanks for the chuckle!

  2. Derek, great blog post! A while back, I was driving between two offices, and was listening to U2– “I still haven’t found what I’m looking for”. I started to ponder what they were looking for and why hasn’t it been found. From my point of view… it was contentment. In reality, contentment was what I was lacking. In the business world, contentment can be deadly… if we are not improving, striving to succeed, and are content with the current condition, we will be surpassed. However, in life, my last sentence is a concern of the miser and the spendthrift. Both are looking for something that they haven’t found… contentment… and they are substituting material things or money to try to find it.

    • Very true Bruce. While I am fairly content at work and I don’t really want to be the next VP (this is a great way to sell your life to Corporate America and leave none for your family), I really don’t want to shout this from the rooftops because that would likely keep me from getting promoted for life.

      Life sure is a tough balance sometimes, huh? When I have 10 rental properties paid for in cash, I suspect this won’t be such a difficult conversation for me anymore.

      Good to hear from you Bruce!

  3. Put in me in between content and miser. I’m definitely content with what I have and what my money allows me to do. If something breaks in my house, I’ll try to learn how to fix it, but usually, I’ll call up an expert.

    I don’t skimp on value. I’ll buy something that costs more that has value vs. something cheap that isn’t valuable.

    Thanks for sharing. Have a good weekend

    • I’m with you Erik. Thankfully I’m feeling that I have nearly my whole self in the “contentment” camp these days. It’s definitely a great place to be

  4. I think I’m a little of all three, depending on who you ask and at what time of my life you ask it. When I was a kid, my mom always said I’d end up with nothing because I couldn’t have a dime without it burning a hole in my pocket. I repeated that story to some co-workers of mine before I retired and their response was “does your mom even know you?” because I was the one in our office who did the most saving and investing of us all. Fresh out of college and when I was first married, I didn’t have a lot of money so absolutely couldn’t be a spendthrift then, so I suppose at that point I was a miser lite. Now, I’m retired, have enough money to meet all my needs and don’t hesitate to buy something I want, within reason. I do drive a Lexus that I purchased for cash from a relative under some very sad circumstances, but it is now nearly 10 years old and I plan to keep it for as many more years as I possibly can. And while I technically could afford my dream car which is a Mercedes SL 550, I absolutely will not spend $100K on a vehicle. I suspect many people transition from one phase to the others, just like me.

    • I’m transitioning too, Kathy. Most of my tendencies lean toward “miser” (unfortunately), but with each passing day I’m becoming more and more contented. I love my life and I freely give, but buying something here and there doesn’t make me cringe. If it’s fun and isn’t hurting me or anyone else, then why not?

  5. LOL! I also lean toward miser. I dunno? I sometimes I am struck in shock and awe how much people spend on silly things like a specific brand name just for the sake of it. I guess it’s not so bad being a miser because I always have cash laying around for rainy days and emergencies. Now I’m starting to get old and spending $$$ sometimes seems boring or like a hassle.

    • Hi Tom. It’s perfectly fine to save up money, but just don’t get bitter about other people that like to spend it. That’s NOT where you want to be.

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