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Money & Mannerisms: Traits That Lead to Success

In many ways, our financial habits are an expression of our personalities. Those who tend to be impulsive in other areas of their lives may be more likely to spend money on a whim. Those who tend to be more measured in other areas of their lives may also be more likely to be calculated when it comes to their finances. Let’s take a look at some other ways that your personality traits correlate with your financial success.

Delayed Gratification

One key factor in your personality is whether you can “delay gratification”. In 1960, professors at Stanford University performed an experiment entitled the marshmallow test which tested a child’s ability to delay gratification and found that those who were better at delaying gratification as a child were considered “more competent” as teenagers and scored higher on SAT tests. In addition, the ability to delay gratification in adults has been linked to higher salaries and more comfortable retirements due to larger retirement funds.


Successful people tend to be more competitive. Being successful is related to a need to win. Successful people are engrossed in finding new ways to beat the competition. Successful people hate losing. People often confuse this with work ethic. But working hard isn’t the objective. It’s the competitive drive to do more than anyone else in pursuit of your dream that paves the pathway to success.

Move On

Interestingly, competitiveness doesn’t have to result in a “grudge match”. Successful people are often able to, as the song says,  “Pick Yourself Up, Dust Yourself Off and Start All Over Again”. They simply learn from their mistakes and adapt to the new circumstances and evaluate what is necessary to do NOW in order to win. They refuse to be defined by their failures and simply set their sights on winning next time.

Physical and Financial Health Are Linked

Individuals who have little savings or have trouble paying their bills typically suffer from more health ailments than average. This may be because   a person who doesn’t have a lot of money may avoid the expense of healthcare and thus suffer healthwise. Also  collection calls or simply not knowing how you will pay your bills can result in stress which may result in anything from cause teeth grinding at night obesity or even heart disease.

Self-Improvement Not Perfectionism

Self-Improvement is a key trait of successful people. They are their worst critics–never satisfied; always striving to be better. The person they most need to best is themselves. James Altucher, Author of  Choose Yourself,   promotes incremental improvement where you get a little better every day. He says, you don’t have to start out perfect. “Perfectionism is the enemy of the idea muscle. Perfectionism is your brain trying to protect you from harm—from coming up with an idea that is embarrassing and stupid and could cause you to suffer pain.” – James Altucher

Your Mental Health May Impact Your Finances

If you are impulsive in how you spend your money, it could be a result of a mental illness. It may be a good idea to talk with both a financial adviser and a mental health professional to get a better handle on how to manage your money. In some cases, conditions such as ADHD can be controlled through medication or changes to your environment. A lack of attention to your finances can result in filing for bankruptcy, it could also be a sign that you expect an escape from your bad decisions or don’t feel it necessary to be responsible for your actions. Financial help guru Dave Ramsey says, “Bankruptcy isn’t a get-out-of-jail-free card. You may still owe some debt like student loans and back taxes. You’ll still have to pay child support and/or alimony. And filing for bankruptcy involves its own costs, and those don’t get waived off either.”

Savers May Seek Control Over Their Lives

Those who prefer to save their money may be trying to gain a sense of control over their lives. While saving is generally preferable to unnecessary spending, the goal should be to maximize the value of each dollar that you have. Even if you spend a little more upfront, buying a quality item can actually save money in the long run.

How you handle your money may provide profound insights into your life. Therefore, it may be a good idea to talk with a financial adviser to learn ways to improve both your financial health and your physical well-being. Learning how to save money for health care or ways to pay your bills when they are due can relieve stress and help you fight any health issues that do arise.

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