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Whether you're a judgmental Reformer or a gift-giving Helper, the Enneagram types tell you tons about when (and why) you spend.

By Julianne Ishler
March 17, 2021
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Spending money (or not spending money) says a lot about who you are. Think about it: Do you buy coffee, or brew it at home? Do you pay the extra dollar for guacamole, or do you pocket the change because it all adds up? Where you choose to put your dollar bills, no matter how big or small, is a direct reflection of your values, preferences, lifestyle, privilege, and upbringing combined.

Understanding your personal relationship with money leads to less stress and higher life satisfaction. Perhaps you have an idea of what you choose to save and splurge on—but do you know what exactly drives those actions? The Enneagram will help you find out.

If you're not familiar, the Enneagram is a personality typing system centered around why we do what we do. Each of the nine types avoids a core fear through repeated patterns that stem from that motivation. While not everyone of the same type has the exact same behaviors (when it comes to spending, and everything else), knowing your type will give you a better sense of how and why you repeat similar cycles. Better yet, you can use the Enneagram to readjust those default tendencies to create a budget that allows you to save and satisfy yourself.

Using survey data from Truity of over 58,000 participants, here's a look at the financial habits of each Enneagram type. (Don't know your type? Take the official Riso-Hudson Enneagram test.)

enneagram-types-spending: watering can and cash
Credit: Getty Images

Type One: The Reformer

Ones are primarily concerned with justice, doing what's right, and being a good person. Their perfectionistic tendencies lead them to pay close attention to "money rules" such as saving for retirement, says Molly Owens, founder and CEO of Truity. Ones love to know they have a sense of control over their finances, and their detail-oriented nature loves to budget. Their biggest stressor is spending money where they "shouldn't" (they love to treat themselves on travel and clothing) but they can also feel a sense of guilt around spending over saving.

Money Management Tip: 

Let go of judgment around your spending, as this only leads to harsher self-criticism. Check in with your values around what you want, assess how much it will cost, and set a little money aside each paycheck. This will help you feel less guilty for treating yourself—you deserve it.

Type Two: The Helper

As natural givers, Twos have both an altruistic and hedonistic approach to money. They are motivated by feeling loved and appreciated, which means they focus on the needs of other people before thinking about their own. Spending for Twos is about providing for their families and creating opportunities to connect with their loved ones, which makes them more likely to spend what they earn without saving. To them, emotional currency (quality time) is way more of a motivator than money.

Money Management Tip: 

Check in with your needs and desires before spending. Ask yourself: Do you really need this right now? Are you saying yes to spending on something to please others? This will allow you to save for what you truly love—even if it's in baby steps.

Type Three: The Achiever

Threes have big dreams, big goals, and big spending habits. Driven by success, they feel best when they can track their progress and see outcomes (i.e., promotions, praise from their boss, meeting a goal). They see money as a reflection of success as well as a status symbol, which can lead to splurging on luxury purchases. Wealth to Threes is more about the freedom of doing what they want rather than the amount that sits in their bank account, Truity data found. Whether that's Zooming from Bali or buying themselves the latest high-tech gadgets, money is a reward for their hard work and hustle.

Money Management Tip: 

When you feel compelled to spend, check in with your true intentions. Is it to impress others? Is it to keep up with a trend? The clearer you are on your priorities, the more you'll be able to invest in things that speak to your innermost happiness.

Type Four: The Individualist

Fours have a desire to be unique and are deeply in tune with their emotional world. They typically follow their own paths and what feels best to them, which is reflected in their money management style. Most Fours spend what they earn on clothes and hobbies, tied to their core need for authentic self-expression. This isn't to say Fours have no self-control. They simply use their heart over their head, spending on what feels right rather than planning. Fours want to be true to themselves and tend to not follow the norm when it comes to what you "should" do— which may lead to patterns of overspending if they're not careful.

Money Management Tip: 

You may not want to hear the B-word, but budgeting is your best friend when it comes to managing your money. Grab a pretty notebook and some colored pens and make a habit to plan how much you'll spend and save. Why? It will help you prioritize the bigger things in life that fill you with joy and purpose.

Type Five: The Investigator

Fives are independent and rational, wanting to rely on no one else but themselves. They are the quintessential savers, priding themselves on being practical and frugal. Whether they know it or not, they tend to hoard their resources and are prone to living with a scarcity mindset. Living a minimalist life helps them feel a sense of autonomy, except the irony is, they never quite feel like they have enough. While most Fives reported being savers, they also tend to stress about not having enough cash stashed away for the future—which may prevent them from living life to the fullest.

Money Management Tip:

Recognize how money can provide that sense of freedom and autonomy you desire. Create a "treat yourself fund" in your monthly budget that allows you to spend on experiences you love, whether it's a book you want or taking a friend out to dinner. You may be surprised how much this opens up in you.

Type Six: The Loyalist

Loyal, responsible, and hard-working, Sixes want to create a sense of security in their life. They seek this through connections with others and maintaining a sense of stability, such as a steady paycheck. As Sixes tend to have an "expect the worst, hope for the best" outlook, this fear carries over into their money management style. Many Sixes reported worrying they won't have security in the future if they don't start saving now, Owens says. Given Sixes are also prone to over-thinking, they may struggle with important financial decisions or even trusting themselves on where to spend and where to save.

Money Management Tip: 

Take the time to really understand your finances, from investing to budgeting and everything in between. Not only do you love learning new things, but this will help you feel more prepared to make those bigger decisions, instead of letting fear drive your actions.

Type Seven: The Enthusiast

Sevens are the adventurers of the Enneagram, wanting to experience life to the fullest. They tend to bounce from one thing to the next, chasing what brings them joy while avoiding pain and boredom. Their spontaneous spirit comes across in their spending habits, where most of their money goes towards travel and experiences. FOMO is a big theme for this energetic type who loves to try new things and indulge their curiosity for pleasure's sake. This makes them inclined to spend more than save—especially when it produces a positive feeling.

Money Management Tip: 

The trap of the Seven is "shiny object syndrome" and wanting new things to feel satisfied. Before handing over your credit card, reflect on your long-term goals vs. instant gratification. Is spending money right now filling a void you're not tending to? When you realize you have enough and are enough, you will find satisfaction that money can't buy (and save more along the way).

Type Eight: The Challenger

Eights are self-confident, decisive, and protective of others. They carry a strong energy as a way to guard themselves from harm and avoid being controlled by others. This intensity drives them towards excess when they're not being mindful, which can show up in their spending habits. When Eights want something, they waste no time getting it, often taking a "we'll figure out how later" approach. As one of the highest-earning types of the Enneagram, money helps them feel more powerful and influential—and most importantly, in control of their own destiny.

Money Management Tip: 

Notice where you are spending money as a way to feel in control. Do you really need to buy things in bulk every month? Do you buy products you don't end up using? When you feel the impulse to spend, consider how your future self will feel. It may be a wiser decision to invest your money to build wealth over time.

Type Nine: The Peacemaker

Nines are positive, easygoing, and desire internal peace and harmony. They view money as a means to an end, wanting to have just enough to keep a level head, according to Owens. Simple pleasures are more important than flashy things to this laid-back type. They feel happiest about useful purchases while indulging themselves in things like dining, personal hobbies, and gifts. Where Nines may struggle is making their own decisions on purchases as a response to merging with other people close to them. They fear conflict, so they might agree to something they don't really want to keep the peace or feel unmotivated to map out any sort of structure.

Money Management Tip: 

Create a vision board for your finances. Not only does this get you to take action, but it'll help you get clear on your priorities and build a structure. Get crafty by cutting out images and words that speak to your goals, and make sure everything is measurable so you can track your progress.