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Is Your 'Financial Personality' Affecting Your Wealth?


Are you overwhelmed?

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Take a number.

That’s one of five “financial personality” types determined in a study from Allianz Insurance and — everyone try to act surprised — it was the category most people fell into.

The other four are: iconic, resilient, savvy and distracted.

We checked in with a couple of financial advisers for their take on the personalities — and what the biggest risks are if you have that personality type.

Accounting for one-third of the survey respondents, the “overwhelmed” tend to be in in their 40s and 50s and have the lowest income and net worth. Most feel that retirement is important and want a “serious plan” but aren’t necessarily sure what that is — or how to get it.

The big risk for this group is that “you are so busy managing life on a day-to-day basis that your retirement sneaks up on you and you are not ready!” said Stacy Francis, a New York-based financial adviser and the founder of Savvy Ladies, a group aimed at educating women about finance.

The next type is “iconic” people who fall into this group are typically over 60 and, according to the study, exemplify “The American Dream.” They’ve worked hard all their lives, didn’t overspend and are now enjoying a comfortable retirement. About 20 percent fell into that group.

This group sounds like they have it all together, but even they aren’t safe, Francis said.

“Iconics generally live within their means but they may not have planned for unexpected expenses like medical,” Francis said. “Medical expenses are the number one reason for bankruptcy,” she said.

The “resilient” are generally in their early to mid-50s with a “take charge” attitude and want to make sure they don’t outlive their income. This group, which accounts for 27 percent of the survey group, has an independent streak but even they took a hard hit from the recession. They’ve learned from their mistakes and recognize “the need for better financial planning.”

“Resilients are more involved in their planning but may not have put enough away for retirement,” Francis said.

“A lot of our clients are in this area. They may not have worked with a financial planner and generally after coming through 2008 are saying we really need to get some help here,” said Jerry Lynch, a financial adviser and owner of in Fairfield, N.J.

“With a smaller nest egg, they must continue to work,” Francis said. “What happens if they are laid off in their 50s and cannot work until their 60s like they had planned? Catastrophe!”

The next group, the “savvy,” tend to be over 60, made smart investments and have few financial concerns. This group, which accounts for just 14 percent of the survey group, were still impacted by the market’s slide and now want a more conservative approach to investing.

“We all want to be the savvy person. This person is very involved in their finances and very educated,” Francis said. The pitfall for this group, she said, is that they may be TOO involved.

“They may feel that they can invest better than their advisor and be sucked into the false belief that they know what they are doing,” she said.

The other risk for this group is focusing too much on retirement.

“They may never really enjoy their retirement because they are too busy worrying about their money!” she said.

Finally, the “distracted.”

Sorry, what did you say?

The distracted tend to be in their 40s and 50s, well-educated and struggling with the balance of family and career. They have the highest income “by far” and the second-highest level of investable assets. That being said, they aren’t focused on financial planning and spend freely. They know they need to be smarter about investing but have not yet committed to doing so. This group accounts for just 7 percent of those surveyed. (Though, being distracted and all, that 7 percent doesn’t include those who didn’t finish the survey or didn’t want to be surveyed at all.)

Here’s a case where (get ready for an eye roll) having too much income could actually be a downside. It lulls some members of this group into a false sense of security — they may think they’re saving more than they really are.

“These folks often save what is left over at the end of the month instead of paying themselves first,” Francis said. “What is left over is usually nothing.”

The biggest lesson, no matter what “financial personality” type you have, is “Don’t write checks that your pocket book cannot afford,” Francis said. “Too much borrowed money in the form of HELOCs (home equity lines of credit), mortgages, credit cards and pay day loans will never get you to your financial goals.”

And, if you take away nothing else from the recession, remember this:

“You don’t get rich in the stock market,” Lynch said. “You will get reasonable rates of return over time but you do not get rich. People get rich by being born into a wealthy family, investments in real estate and by owning a business,” he said.

Which personality type are you? Take the test and see!

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