What personality traits help (or hinder) us from managing our income wisely? And what would we (mature) advise our twenty-year-olds, if we could?

Each of us has his own needs, preferences and interests, so we also treat money in our own way. We have “favorite” categories of spending, and these preferences can reveal a lot about our personality traits. But the most amazing thing is that as we age, our money habits can change.


About 2,000 volunteers took part in a study on the relationship between spending and character traits. Psychologists at University College London studied about 2 million electronic records of participants’ debit card spending and online transaction records. The authors also conducted a survey and determined how each participant was prone to extraversion and introversion, how well he was able to control himself, and whether he had neurotic traits.

By comparing the data, the researchers found a correlation between spending categories and personality traits of the respondents. For example, those who were open to new experiences spent more on flights than others. Extroverts were not stingy when it came to food. Those whom the researchers considered “nice people” were more likely to donate to charity.


According to the study, the most conscientious participants cared about savings more than others. People inclined to a materialistic view of the world, more often than others, acquired jewelry.

The researchers also found that self-controlled subjects spent less on banking fees. Loan payments turned out to be much lower among those respondents who demonstrated the presence of neurotic traits.

Apparently, those who combine these qualities are more sensible in managing their finances and have every chance to improve their standard of living.


On the one hand, this knowledge can be useful to us: given the features of our own character, we can redistribute funds and pay close attention to those areas where we want to spend more or less.

On the other hand, the dissemination of this information may create certain ethical problems. Financial services companies can use it to target people with certain personality traits and get them to spend more on certain things. For example, to “bomb” buyers with weak self-control with various mailing lists and aggressive online advertising.


Imagine that you have won the lottery and now you need to claim your winnings. What would be preferable for you: to take the lion’s share of the sum at once or to start small and leave most of the money for later? Your answer may depend on how old you are now, gerontologists from Cornell University (USA) are sure.

The researchers asked 300 volunteers of all ages how they would spend their winnings. As expected, the majority of study participants said they would prefer to take most of the money at once.

However, it turned out that older people were more likely than younger people to plan to make the largest payouts first. It turns out that people of age did not strive for momentary satisfaction at any cost.

In the second part of the study, participants were asked to choose between receiving the money immediately, but in a smaller amount, or waiting and withdrawing a larger amount. When it came to the “high price” for impatience, age did not influence the choice of participants.

More research is needed to understand the underlying mechanisms that make us think differently about money at different ages, the scientists say. In this case, the researchers looked at a variety of factors, ranging from health to estimated lifespan, but none of them were decisive.