If I’m being honest, there’s a bit of Squirrel and Swan in all of us. Our money personality can play a major role in how we value (and spend!) money; everything from going up a size one morning with your takeaway coffee, to the brand of clothing you regularly purchase and the make of car you drive.

When talking with our clients, we use the analogy of ‘Squirrels’ and ‘Swans’ to help explain the ways in which people make their financial decisions.

 

Are you a squirrel?

You live for the future and believe in saving for a rainy day. Sound familiar? Squirrels build their net worth to ensure they feel like the master of their destiny. Feelings of security and stability are important to you; protecting all that you work for. You believe that in the end, all that effort will pay off. Having control is a comfort and you like to know ‘where’, ‘when’ and ‘how much’ when it comes to spending money. Impulse purchases aren’t really your thing, but you do love a bargain!

Perhaps your biggest financial rule is to not risk the assets you have worked so hard for. You do almost anything to avoid debt; using it only to purchase major assets like property or a car, then pay it off as quickly as possible. You don’t want it hanging over you.  The one down side to the Squirrel’s approach can be a lack of action. You can be so afraid of making the wrong decision, that you spend all your time analysing every possibility and then don’t make any decision at all. It’s important to remember that no decision is still a decision and you can miss out on wealth creation opportunities if you don’t take a few calculated risks.

 

Or are you a swan?

Swans see money as a tool; allowing them to express themselves, spoil other people, and help those in need. A Swan is a ‘live in the moment’ type of person. If it means making great memories or having a unique experience, you have no issues with spending a few extra dollars. You might say you spend with your heart rather than your head.

Like emotional eaters, Swans can have a tendency to spend money to provide emotional comfort. That new pair of heels you’ve been eyeing or the latest iPhone, it can make a bad day turn into the highlight of your week. Separating wants from needs is hard for a Swan, especially because you always have a good reason for every purchase no matter the price tag.

Squirrel or Swan, no matter which of the two you identify more with, our money personalities tend to come to the fore when we go through periods of change. They can be a reaction to both expected and unexpected life events; new jobs, promotions, weddings or even babies. It is during these times that you might find yourself heading towards the more extreme ends of your money personality, but by being aware of your personality traits you will find it easier to keep yourself on track and may even adapt to the change more smoothly.

If you’d like to find out more about Squirrels and Swans, and the role your money personality plays in your life, you can read all about it in ‘Pretty Rich’ by Lynette Murray