Spender versus Saver or Free Spirits and Nerds; Why?

by Kent on November 7, 2011

Are some people predisposed to spending instead of making logical financial decisions, or what Dave Ramsey calls “Nerds and Free Spirits”? Having counseled more than 500 financially struggling people over the past few years, I can see that this may indeed be true. From an early age, my oldest brother would save every penny and spend it wisely. Heck, even his Halloween candy would last until Easter. On the other hand, I would go through my candy quickly, and although I could save my paper route and grocery stock-boy income, demonstrated by buying a ’74 Camaro in ’79 for $2,700, I tend to want more quick gratification then he did. The other day I was talking to an accountant that always managed money well, and he just couldn’t understand people who spend more than they make, or live pay-check to pay-check; the tone of his comments sounded judgmental to me. Is my brother a better saver because he just ‘got it’ at an early age, or did my parents raise him differently, or maybe we are just wired differently?  I think that all of these could be true, but it seems that we sometimes under-emphasize that each person has natural unique strength areas. For example, some people are naturally better at managing money then others, and the same could be said about relationships, careers, and health. I’ve met few people who are good at all areas. A recent Newsweek article at the Daily Beast, about research that has been done on this topic, sheds light on how many of us may be predisposed to saving or spending. For me, this isn’t an excuse for being one way or the other; I still have to take adult responsibility for decisions. However, if this research has some validity, it helps address self loathing change barriers, and opens up doors for new ways of approaching challenges to change.

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