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Personality Traits and Choices

Personality Traits and Choices

I took a little online money personality quiz recently, and it suggested that I was both a “hoarder” and an “accumulator.” I certainly do have a tendency to hoard things, but accumulator sounds so much nicer. For the most part, I agree with the quiz. How do those traits affect my choices regarding money?

They mean that I tend toward the “safer” investments, which aren’t necessarily safe due to inflation. They mean that I’m very risk-adverse. I like to see my money, and know that it’s there. Safe. Ideally I like to see it grow. It really bothers me to log in and look at how my IRA & 401(k) are doing, and see them drop when the market is down. Of course I’m happy when they go up, but each time they go down I question my decision to commit to regular contributions. This questioning isn’t good.

I know that saving for retirement in a vehicle that’s likely to increase in value over the long term is the right thing to do. In order to this without my stomach knotting up, I need to stick to some rules. Originally I tried the “invest and ignore it” method, but that was too extreme. I ended up choosing a vehicle that had consistent losses even when the market was doing well, but I didn’t realize it at all until I needed to change my investment for other reasons. That was fine for my stomach (until the end) but bad for my money. I needed to find a middle ground.

My goal now is to only check twice a month — once when I make a contribution, and then again at the end of the month when I calculate my net worth. This way I can check to see that my investments are generally following the market (or hopefully doing better) while limiting the number of times that I stress about it. The hard part comes when I see headlines about the market’s “worst performance since ____.”

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All of this is a long way of saying that I need to compensate for the downsides of my personality traits, and capitalize on the upsides.

Today, my funds are doing well. I have extreme peace of mind choosing my ‘safe’ investments. It works for me. When I think about investing, I’m clam. I know my investments are doing well. I’m not anxious or greedy. I’m just happy. My life today is lining up with my long-term goals. What more can a person want?

View Comments (2)
  • Learn to enjoy the ups AND the downs of the market. Often the market is like a roller-coaster. When you reach the top, raise your hands and scream on the way down… but know that when you pull into the station (that’s retirement that is decades away) you are going to be safe and sound.

    The down cycles are a little bit of drama and entertainment on the way to the objective.

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