As a financial planner, Ray Linder sometimes found that he would give what seemed like solid, reasonable advice to a client that would be met with a surprising level of resistance–one that had more to do with emotions than anything else.
A little digging told him that people handle money differently, according to their personality type, and these differences were often in line with the Myers-Briggs test.
You’ve probably heard of it: The Myers-Briggs test is a psychological profiling exam that was created during WWII. It divides people into extroverts and introverts, and then segments them even more into types that sense vs. intuit, think vs. feel and judge vs. perceive.
It’s kind of complicated, which is why categorizing people into the 16 personality types outlined by the Myers-Briggs test–which you can officially take for a fee–is big business. (The results are often used by recruiters, human resources professionals, salespeople, matchmakers and lawyers in various professional capacities.)
Linder was so interested in the parallels between the Myers-Briggs test and his clients’ approach to finances that he literally wrote the book on it: “What Will I Do With My Money?“ He also consolidated the 16 types into four broader categories: Protectors, Planners, Pleasers and Players.
But he’s careful to point out that there’s no right or wrong place to be within the 16-category universe. Rather, the purpose of figuring all this out is to capitalize on your type’s natural assets–as opposed to shame yourself or beat yourself up.
We tracked down Linder to hear more about the four Ps–Protectors, Planners, Pleasers and Players.
Myers-Briggs Types: ESTJ, ESFJ, ISTJ and ISFJ
These people are, by nature, very conservative, says Linder. “They think ahead, make sure their future is taken care of, buy the same brands and shop at the same stores,” he adds, noting that they are careful caretaker types who often end up working in the banking system–though not the Wall Street community.
It may sound like this is the ideal way to be, but the case that first interested Linder in the study of personality types was actually an extreme Protector. “He was a conservative guy financially, but he got very emotional at the idea of spending anything here and now,” says Linder. “It was difficult for him to let go of this idea of a perfect future, even to take advantage of minimal-risk investments–or schedule a vacation.”
This, he points out, can lead to all sorts of problems, not the least of which could be marital discord. According to Linder, Protectors make up about 38% of the population.
If You’re a Protector: Although it may seem like being a Protector is a recipe for success, this personality type can have a lot of trouble with unanticipated change– and make bad decisions out of sheer panic.
Prepare for the unexpected by having a full emergency fund, which should cover at least six months of net income.