High Financial Costs of Not Understanding Your Personality

Michelle’s quick note: Today, I have a great article from Catherine Treme. Your personality plays a HUGE part in understanding your financial situation. Enjoy! Often times when people think about money management, we think about the mechanics of making more and spending less. However, that is a huge mistake. Money management is all about behavior. Everyone has…

Michelle Schroeder-Gardner

Last Updated: May 28, 2023

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Money management is all about behavior. Everyone has very different ways of processing information, stress triggers and ways that help us positively cope with stress. What stresses one person out to the max will make another person flourish. It's a major mistake not to take into consideration of your personality type when it comes to life and more specifically finances. Michelle’s quick note: Today, I have a great article from Catherine Treme. Your personality plays a HUGE part in understanding your financial situation. Enjoy!

Often times when people think about money management, we think about the mechanics of making more and spending less. However, that is a huge mistake.

Money management is all about behavior. Everyone has very different ways of processing information, stress triggers and ways that help us positively cope with stress. What stresses one person out to the max will make another person flourish. It’s a major mistake not to take into consideration of your personality type when it comes to life and more specifically finances. 

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Take for instance an introvert (a person who gets energy and feeling revived by having alone time), if they have a job that makes them constantly in the public eye throughout the day and then have to go to outings at night for work.

That would stress them out, right?

If they stay in this career path over time this person is likely to experience a prolonged period of stress. Do you think this person would have the mental energy at the end of the day to think about their financial future?

Want to know more about how personality affects your work, finances, and life? Join my free Facebook Community: Let’s Talk Personality Type!

I personally have experienced this prolonged period of stress that ultimately almost broke me from a mental perspective. Which sounds devastating (and honestly it really is); however there is beauty in brokenness.

Having recently experienced hitting complete and total financial rock bottom after a significant relationship ending (I’m talking holding your breath at the checkout counter and hoping and praying your transaction clears), I know the value of this blessing in disguise. Let me tell you a little bit about my story. 

The Humble Beginnings

I grew up from humble means and was determined I was going to create a better life for myself. Like most people wanting a bright future, I went to college. I was determined I was going to be successful.

I wanted success so bad that I decided to go the safest and most assured route to go about gaining that. As the 20-year-old version of me would assure you, pursuing the traditional route of success (in my particular case) a degree in Finance was the way to do it.

The Psychology Behind The Behavior

Psychologists say there are different levels of consciousness. Two of which are the ego and your intuition.

Your ego is the side of your brain that doesn’t like the unknown. It tries to keep you safe.

Your intuition is essentially your moral compass. It’s the quiet yet nagging feeling or the “inner voice” of what aligns you with your true passions. 

Despite the nagging feeling of my intuition, I was doing this for the wrong reasons and didn’t fit in line with my true interests, which is humans and what makes them tick, I wanted financial success.

I was so insecure about where I was in life that I was just going to “push through” those feelings and just grin and bear it while pursuing this traditional method of financial success.

The Build Up To Financial Breakdown

As I progressed in school, I began to accumulate debt as most college students do.

Financial Checkpoint: $53k debt = ($7k in credit card debt + $6k car loan + $40k  student loan debt)

Because I didn’t enjoy my major, I struggled in school. Despite not being interested in the technical aspects of the major and suffering the consequences of missing deadlines, forgetting major test dates, etc. I actually almost made it through. Then in my last semester, I failed a class. Being the headstrong individual that I am, I decided to try for the class 2 more times. Subsequently causing me switch my major to something that I actually enjoyed.

But, I tacked on some additional student loan debt.

Financial Checkpoint: $73k debt = ($7k in credit card debt + $6k car loan+ $40k  student loan debt + $20k in student loan debt for extra year)

Finally, after 6.5 years, I graduated college. I had to pick a job and I chose Human Resources. The problem was, I was in a job for the money and job security, even though it didn’t highlight my natural talents and personality type. This subsequently created issues at work that I now realize are signs of being in the wrong career path.  

Due to my overall sense of hopelessness, and jealousy of those around me having success in their careers, I began to drink in excess.  I would berate them for everything I could find fault in. Not surprisingly, this caused issues in my personal and professional life.  

I was mentally shut down, and the stress I was in over the fear of losing my job began to physically manifest itself in my life. The lies and pride caught up with me and I was put in the ER for vertigo and extreme migraines caused by stress.

Financial Checkpoint: $74k debt = ($7k in credit card debt + $6k car loan + $60k total student loan debt + $1k hospital)

My significant other caught on to my performance issues. He exchanged phone numbers with my boss to keep an eye out on me. Within a month, he left me, saying, “I just need someone to pay all the bills and let me do whatever I want”.

Shortly after, my car dies (when it rains it pours)! Not having any money in savings, I had to finance another one.

Financial Checkpoint: $94k debt = ($7k in credit card debt + $6k old car loan+ $60k total student loan debt+ $1k hospital +$20k car debt)

Due to my extreme pride, I decided I was going to prove him wrong. So, I moved to a bigger, faster-paced city to make more money in a tougher industry. It had a high turnover rate. Desperately and blindly, I then switched to another job shortly after (and then 3 jobs later within a year).

The Breakdown

Finally starting to come out of auto-pilot mode, I moved back home to my family. Financially, emotionally, and career drained, I finally hit rock bottom. However, being ever the incurable optimist, I decided to start my blog: My Work Money Life to share all of the financial lessons I’ve learned the hard way.


What Did I Learn From This Endeavor?


Being alone and having hit rock bottom, I had a lot of time for self-reflection. Reflection over every mistake I ever made. It’s ironically refreshing to get out of auto-pilot and realize how self-destructive I had been. If this is you, please do not think this is the end. There is always hope. You can always change things around. You can safely talk about it without judgment!   

You Learn The True Value Of A Dollar

When you are completely financially broken and have very little income coming in, you really start to look at your money differently. You will begin to understand the opportunity cost of what it takes to get the very few dollars you do have.

The Chains of Comfort Are Gone

Being broke, your desire to uphold a certain lifestyle is completely ripped out from under you. Making a change for the better is a whole lot easier when you don’t have anything to hold on to.

You Learn Who Really Cares About You

It’s amazing how quickly you will find who really cares about you when things go south in your life. Take note of people’s actions if this actually happens to you. It’s amazing how many people will exit your life, but even more amazing is seeing those who with you.

Your Pride Is Gone

People can smell broke from a mile away. You may be able to fool them for a short amount of time with a shiny new technology, a new wardrobe, or in my case, a new job solely for the money. Once they realize that, people will exit your life as fast as they came into it. Therefore, crushing your once blinding and costly pride.

You Stop Trying To Hide

Given the fact that your pride is gone, you stop trying to hide your brokenness. Now you know it’s useless to try to hide. You can stop trying to impress people that you don’t like with money that you don’t have, which is my favorite Dave Ramsey quote, and start taking actionable steps towards a better future.

You Gain Empathy

Given the fact that I have experienced complete and total brokenness, I have gained empathy for other people in similar situations. I am determined to help others get out of their psychological barriers regarding finances.

That’s why I created my 5-day money email challenge (with access to my Facebook Support Group). This money challenge is not only to gain insight on the practical “how to’s” of managing finances but the psychological barriers of money management. It dives deep into pinpointing the psychological triggers of overspending.   

In Conclusion

All in all, the desire for money to set up a decent life for yourself is not inherently bad. However, focusing solely on money can create negative consequences for you and the loved ones around you.

Author bio: Catherine Treme is freelance writer and blogger at My Work Money Life, LLC. A Bachelor’s of Science in Sociology/Business Administration as well as her previous career path in Human Resources has honed her skills for the dedication of her professional life to helping others create a better version of them! The subject matters include (but not limited to) managing finances, relationships, career path or maximizing your strengths via your personality type.

What have you learned about your personality? Do you think your personality impacts your financial situation?

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Michelle Schroeder-Gardner

Author: Michelle Schroeder-Gardner

Hey! I’m Michelle Schroeder-Gardner and I am the founder of Making Sense of Cents. I’m passionate about all things personal finance, side hustles, making extra money, and online businesses. I have been featured in major publications such as Forbes, CNBC, Time, and Business Insider. Learn more here.

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  1. Catherine | My Work Money Life

    Thank you so much! I’m not going to lie it was a struggle before. But if it helps someone else out I’m more than happy to share my failures!

  2. Kris

    Great write up! This reminds me of when I was avoid finances throughout my 20s. I didn’t really care about them, I ran up my credit card on travel, going out and about and paying the minimum on my credit card bills every month. It was like the “Elephant in the Room” analogy in which I know I have debt but I didn’t want to face it. Finally, when my mom accidentally opened my credit card statement and found that I have a $5K balance, she approached me about it and told me that I should take care of this because it will keep building unless I did something about it. That was my wake-up call to pay it all the way down to zero. It took me almost a year but I paid it off and it felt good to have a zero on that credit card balance.

    1. Catherine | My Work Money Life

      That rude awakening is so necessary sometimes unfortunately. But I’m glad you got yourself out of it!!

    2. Stephanie

      I think age has a lot of thing to do with it. Lots of my personal finance decisions have been influenced by what I wanted to do in the moment and that reasoning changing based on age and experience. I guess we can all look back at the decisions we made and the debts incurred when we were younger but is that such a bad thing? Sure, in hindsight we can look back and label it a bad decision because it incurred $X amount of debt but what about the experiences we’d have missed out on during that time if we hadn’t gone ahead and spent without a care in the world.

      1. Catherine

        Yes, I would definitely agree. Age does have a lot to do with it as well.

  3. cassie

    I have to say I am in that boat and have been before. All at different levels, I left my hometown due to addiction and drinking issues at 19 years old. Went to college 1800 miles from home, no one there to guide me and digging my way out of an emotional hole just to end up in a financial hole. Around that time I once again drowned my sorrow in a bottle and being in a school with a 98% male demographic as well as mostly veterans, young ones just out of the military. The people I were around were all men out of the military just as prepared to drink as I was. My now fiancé started dating by jan 20th of 2014. We have been together ever since, We moved in together around march of that year, I had to work and go to school .No rent and living check for me, he was fresh out of the army, back from war and just had 2 divorces. We both came out of a rough situation and had more to endure that we had no idea was coming. Hopeless souls sticking to one another for emotional support. Finances were becoming a mess and an enlarging snow ball that just got bigger and bigger. Fast forward I was 8k in debt found out I was pregnant on thanksgiving , right after graduating. We were not ready for children. His children on the other side of the u.s. he barely had contact with and was upset about not seeing his own due to divorce and deployment. He was not ready and I could understand that. But, I was told years before hand I was unable to have children due to a bleeding disorder, so I wanted badly to have this child. Flash forward to the next year, he was still in school and I was working at an AutoZone. Things weren’t perfect but we lived in Amish country living free. Nice neighbors, nice landlord. Everything was perfect besides our finances and we felt we were living the dream, Once our daughter entered the world things began moving faster. His kids were coming home! Although we were coming off of emotional issues and alcohol dependencies we were moving. We were returning to a place close to his home town and getting his kids, one big happy family right? No not really….between infidelity issues and dealing with keeping their mom in the picture as well as undoing the damage done to a 6 and 9 year old at the time, we had more issues, our new rent was way more and the bills were much higher. So flash forward again .. . I had a bankruptcy for my 8k in credit debt, he went to an attorney to get his gun rights back thanks to his ex being terrible and the city taking his firearms and her stripping him of everything else. Things seemed to get slightly better. Hey were doing better right? But wait there’s more says life.. . Your going to fall behind on many bills and freak out multiple times over multiple years. I went through two jobs due to havingto leave work for kids or daycare or sicknesses. It just keeps piling on . Flash forward to now. The kids are excelling in school and becoming decent people. attitudes for sure. but their behavior was much improved. Well after growing tired of losing jobs and looking I turned to lyft and uber , I left retail due to daycare costs, attendance policy and most of all employee drama, a dept manager and associate couple was nothing but issues and other petty employee issues. So here I am trying to use a blog, spent 200 on Michelle’s course last week feeling hopeful for results. It’s been a giant whirlwind for 4 years here I am , waking up and dedicating every hour to being a rideshare driver and blogger. My hope is dwindling but I will stop at nothing. I thank michelle for the course information though its very pricey and is causing me hardships I am hopeful that I can make the most of the course and empower others to do the same. I’m 23 years old and hopeful that I can inspire others to keep pushing forward.

    1. Catherine

      Oh wow! You’ve been through a lot. I’m so sorry you went through all of that but it definitely seems like you are a strong individual!

      Yes, I would definitely have to say Michelle’s course is definitely helpful. I went through it myself. Loved it!

  4. MissSaraBee

    Finally! Someone said it! You should choose a career based on your personal strengths and personality, NOT for the money!

    I am currently facing a similar career issue right now. Not to get too specific, but there have been mornings where I have cried my entire commute to work. And nights where I have just collapsed on the floor in the middle of doing something, because I realized I am paying off $100,000 in student debt for a degree in something I am not good at in practice and don’t necessarily like.

    I’m currently in the job market, looking for a job in another branch of the field I have a degree in. My issues with my current job are linked to my current company’s culture. At least I hope. I have been employed by other companies as an intern, and never had this sense of dread I have at my current company.

    If you are feeling hopeless in your career situation, there is no shame in pursuing something else. I’ve worked with people who have degrees in the exact opposite of what they are currently working as (English major working as an accountant for an example). The important thing is that you achieve a sense of some sort of fulfillment from your work.

    Find what you love to do. The rest will follow.

    Thank you for the article, Catherine! Great read, and quite inspiring.

    1. Catherine

      I’m so sorry you’re going through that! I know exactly how it feels. It’s a hard lesson learned but I’m sure I’ll never make that mistake ever again!

      Keep your chin up, it gets better. Just stay focused on what you really want. You can achieve it, I know you can! 🙂

      I’m curious, what’s your personality type?

      1. MissSaraBee

        Whenever I participate in workplace personality tests, I always test as an INTJ. I always tend toward introversion, orientating on task based goals, and organization.

        The stereotypical view of the engineer is someone who works independently to solve puzzles. I tested well in science and math, and engineering includes a component of creativity I enjoyed, so it seemed like a great fit.

        I’ve learned that engineering, consulting especially, is the exact opposite of all these stereotypes. You almost need to be a bubbly, marketing personality to be comfortable in this position.

  5. I have to say that find your own path is quite difficult. Expectations are the worst part of it. I discovered this when was looking for a treatment for my airplane phobia (which was never caused by airplane, but for anxiety). I thought that I always knew what I wanted to do with my life and I became an architect. Now, every day for me is a battle. The job is stressful, I almost don’t feel any pleasure with it, and I’m stuck. I imagined my life in a whole different way when I got to the age of 27. Last month at least I may have found a light at the end of the tunnel. Reading Make sense of cents I decided to create my own blog (http://thoughtsofthecentury.com) to share my experiences with others. It is starting to help in two ways: 1. I love writing, and this may be my way out of architecture; 2. I hope I can contact and talk with lots of people. Talk helps me a lot.

    Great post! I wish you the best

    1. Oh that sounds interesting. I hope you do well with your blog!

  6. Betsy

    This was a very interesting read. I can definitely understand how my personality affects our finances! Will share this with my husband for sure.

    1. Hello there! I hope your husband finds it beneficial.