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You've Got Personality

You know about Type A and B personalities, but have you heard of Type M personalities? That's "M" for money--and what type you are could say a lot about how you run your business. Psychologist Kathleen Gurney has studied the issue for 16 years and reveals nine money profiles in Your Money Personality: What It Is and How You Can Profit From It (Doubleday).

"If you look at your money personality like a balance sheet, some of your traits work as assets, and some as liabilities. The trick is learning which to reinforce and which to shore up," says Gurney, whose Incline Village, Nevada, Financial Psychology Corp. helps people make their money work better.

Gurney's nine money personalities: safety players, entrepreneurs, optimists, hunters, achievers, producers, perfectionists, high rollers and money masters. Achievers, money masters and entrepreneurs are the three most common personalities, Gurney says.

So you think you must be the entrepreneur type, right? Not so fast. First see if the following sound familiar:

Achievers and money masters share similar traits, such as being personally involved with managing their money, but one key difference is trust. "Achievers have a very low level of trust," says Gurney. "They often say `No one cares about my money as much as I do.' " These personalities therefore know down to the smallest detail how their money is doing.

"Achievers are conservative and find loss distasteful," adds Gurney.

Money masters, on the other hand, have one mantra: value. They're bargain hunters with tough standards who always demand a cheaper price. They are willing to take more risks than achievers because they're confident they can rebound from a loss.

If those don't sound familiar, you may be a true entrepreneurial type after all. This personality, says Gurney, seeks challenges and considers money a score card. "[Entrepreneurs] are more interested in the sales part of a business and less concerned about how the money is being managed," she says.

These individuals get bored once they've won an account. "What drives them is their vision," says Gurney. "They look at risks as opportunities and don't tend to look at what they might lose."

Money personalities are formed in childhood, and while you may identify with a variety of traits, you have one primary personality. Is that good news or bad? Your business's bottom line may hold the answer.

"There are things you can do to change the negative parts of your money personality," says Gurney. "But if you're going to change, you must be your own coach. Set goals, and be honest with yourself."

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This article was originally published in the August 1997 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: You've Got Personality.

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