What's Your Money Archetype

What’s your money archetype?

A Money archetype can help us to better understand our relationship with money. They will help us to become more aware of our habitual money behaviours, and with this awareness we can maximise our positive habits and find ways to balance and minimise our unhealthier ones.

Humans are beautifully complex creatures with unique money histories, experiences, emotions and behaviour patterns. Despite these differences, it can be helpful to use money archetypes to easily and effectively identify ways to enhance your relationship with money.

How do archetypes help with your relationship with money?

Archetypes are recurring patterns of behaviour that influence how we think, feel and act. They can be understood as the foundation or primary position from which humans act. In ancient Greek, “archetype” means “original pattern” and such patterns occur in mythology and stories to embody universal meanings and human experiences based on common plots, symbols and themes.

The idea of archetypes was further explored by the Swiss psychiatrist Carl Jung in the 1900s and was first adapted to relate to money by Deborah Price, the founder of The Money Coaching Institute, in 2001.

Money archetypes specifically define common patterns of behaviour which can help us to better understand and identify our dominant or most common orientation towards money.

Price, in her book Money Magic: Unleashing Your True Potential for Prosperity and Fulfillment, highlights that most of us harbour negative feelings towards money and increasing our awareness of how we consciously and unconsciously think, feel and act towards money is the key to enhancing our financial wellbeing and achieving our personal life and money goals.

Money archetype categories

The following are brief descriptions of the five archetypes that have been adapted from Price’s book and will help you to better understand your relationship with money.

Remember that bringing awareness to your dominant money archetype is “where you are” not “who you are” and our dominant archetype is likely to change throughout our lives.

We are also likely to have elements of each of these archetypes active at different times in our lives and in different areas or domains of our lives, including our financial decision-making.

As you read about each of these archetypes, ask yourself how much you see of yourself in these descriptions, because some will definitely be more “you” than others.

The Giver

You are very generous when buying gifts for others and are happy to lend money. Sharing your money brings you great joy. Your interactions with money are dominated by sharing and spending it.

When balanced:

• You love giving to others and know how wonderful it feels to be generous.
• You give without creating dependency.
• You consciously give with the pure intention to help and support and not out of guilt.
• You give generously and receive gratefully.
• You never give more than you have and in alignment with your own values.
When unbalanced:
• You give to be a martyr or to gain power.
• You want to feel needed and create unhealthy financial dependence.
• You fear being or being perceived as stingy or greedy and overcompensate by being overly generous.
• Your generosity makes others feel uncomfortable.
• Giving is a distraction from facing your own financial situation or guilt around having wealth.

Key question to ask yourself: Why am I giving?

The Gatherer

You have a strong focus on saving money and predominantly spend most of your time thinking about how you can save, invest or earn more money.

When balanced:

• You live within your means and take care of your financial future by saving.
• You feel good about saving as it gives you more choices and provides a buffer for when life takes twists and turns.
• You have a balanced approach to saving and spending in a way that is in alignment with your values.
When unbalanced:
• You hoard and are miserly.
• No matter how much you save you still worry about your financial security.
• You find it difficult to spend money on yourself and feel guilty when you do.
• Your fear of not having enough stops you from enjoying your money.

Key question to ask yourself: Why am I saving?

The Dreamer

You have a go-with-the-flow approach to money and don’t spend much time thinking about your financial life. You have faith or a gut feeling that you will always have enough money.

When balanced:

• You believe that money doesn’t have to be at the centre of our lives, but it is an important resource that can enable us to take action towards a life that we dream of.
• You know that taking responsibility for your finances doesn’t mean that you have to give up on your passions and only work in soul-destroying well-paying jobs.
• You know that by consciously managing your money you won’t place unnecessary financial burdens on others.
When unbalanced:
• You put yourself under financial stress by avoiding or resisting your finances.
• You only do work that you are passionate about even if it puts you and the ones you love under stress.
• You believe it’s greedy or not spiritual to focus too much on money.

Key question to ask yourself: What would my dream financial life feel like?

The Royal

You love spending money on luxury items or things that enhance your image and give you lots of visibility.

When balanced:

• You value yourself and know that taking care of how you look and feel is important.
• You consciously spend and know that caring for your finances is an act of self-love.
• You make purchases that resonate with your true personality, beliefs, desired lifestyle and support your wellbeing (including your financial wellbeing).
When unbalanced:
• You make extravagant purchases and find yourself in high levels of debt or having nothing of real value to show for the money you earn.
• You feel more successful, beautiful, more desirable etc. after making purchases.
• You are addicted to spending and preoccupied with your possessions.

Key question to ask yourself: Will buying this genuinely make me happier?

The Rebel

You love to live by your own rules when it comes to money and don’t like following a traditional approach to earning, spending, saving or investing.

When balanced:

• You are not afraid to be innovative and take a non-traditional approach to your life and this enhances your financial wellbeing.
• You consciously consider what you do with your money renting/buying, owning/leasing, permanent salary/freelancer, shares/investment property and whether they suit your needs.
• You have a healthy appetite for risk and take into account your goals, lifestyle and financial situation.
When unbalanced:
• Your need to challenge the status quo and be different causes you to lose sight of what would be best for you and your financial wellbeing.
• You have a high tolerance for risk when
it comes to investing and spending.
• You have high levels of debt or losses.

Key questions to ask yourself: What am I risking and why?

How are money archetypes helpful?

Money archetypes will help you to better understand your relationship with money. They will help you to become more aware of your habitual money behaviours, and with this awareness you can maximise your positive behaviours and find ways to balance and minimise your unhealthier reactions.

They can be particularly helpful in prompting you to consider questions like these:
• Which money archetype do you feel is most passive in how you currently interact with money?
• Which money archetype do you feel you could more consciously utilise to improve your financial life?
• Which money archetype do you feel can be triggered and become “active” during times of stress or when you feel anxious or fearful about money?

“As you better understand and work with your most dominant archetype you will have a more productive relationship with yourself and your money,” Price says.

Nurturing and supporting your relationships

Money archetypes will also help you to nurture your close relationships. Supporting our partners, children and close family and friends to have a peaceful and happy relationship with money is so important.

Often we experience money as a disconnector and a source of conflict. However, if we approach each other’s relationship with money with compassion and curiosity instead of competition and incongruence, it can help us to nurture and support these important relationships.
Once you have explored your own money type, you will begin to see all of them in others. We can use these money archetypes to help better understand our loved ones’ financial situations, decisions, behaviours and tendencies and support them to become more aware of them too.
For example, if your friend has a travel goal or is saving to buy their first house, their dominant archetype will impact this goal. If they are currently a “giver” type they might be able to look at ways to continue to give but still achieve their own financial goals.

It can also help prompt them to be honest about how much joy they get from giving and how that in turn makes them feel about saving money. They can explore these emotions and find a way to balance them with their finances, by ensuring that they also give to themselves.
Exploring money types can also help when you are making financial decisions together with your partner. If you are currently a “gatherer” type, this means that you are focused on saving, careful with your money and don’t spend it with ease. If your partner is a “rebel” type they are more likely to want to challenge the status quo, and instead of saving for a holiday they may want to go immediately and fund the holiday by working as you travel. So by taking the time to understand ourselves and communicate this to each other we can have constructive conversations instead of conflicts.

We can also acknowledge the gifts and challenges that come with each money type and support each other towards the balanced end of the spectrum.

Asking ourselves the key question for our dominant money type can help to move us towards this more peaceful state and experience greater emotional and financial wellbeing.

The power is in our awareness

Particularly in times of stress, we can often revert to a more problematic or unbalanced archetype. However, with a deeper understanding of our relationship with money we are in a better position to respond more constructively and compassionately.

It is also really helpful to reflect on these archetypes a couple of times a year to see if they have changed and work towards the balanced version of the money type so it can most positively impact your financial goals.

Money drives many of our decisions and we all worry about earning, spending and saving it. By using money archetypes we can better understand our relationship with money and become more aware of our money behaviours. With this awareness we can maximise our positive behaviours and find ways to balance and minimise our unhealthier reactions.

The self-awareness that money archetypes activates is the key to creating and nurturing financial wellbeing for ourselves and the ones we love.

It helps us to create a more mindful and conscious relationship with money which in turn will help us to channel our finances to help ourselves and others to experience financial wellbeing.


Liz McLardy

Liz McLardy

Liz McLardy is an accountant, money mindfulness expert and mama of two. She runs consultations and courses to inspire and empower women to be the masters of managing their money. She combines her business, money management and healing expertise to make money sacred and practical.

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