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Building Good Money Habits

Did you make any New Year’s resolutions at the start of 2017? Did you keep any of your resolutions? We all struggle to build good habits in some areas of our lives, even if we have great discipline and practices in other parts. In the book Better than Before, Gretchen Rubin lays out the idea that people have different personality traits (Obligers, Upholders, Questioners and Rebels). Your tendency depends upon whether you uphold or resist your own expectations and others’ expectations of you. For example, Obligers work to meet other’s requests but have difficulty with self-imposed deadlines. Rubin posits that the majority of people are Obligers.

As financial planners, one thing we bring to our clients is accountability around money. People will follow through with their action items (often tasks they know they should be doing) because they realize we’re going to ask pester them about it the next time we meet. That’s a good strategy to use with Obligers, who respond well to deadlines and don’t want to disappoint others, but may not be necessary with Upholders, who hold themselves accountable regardless of outside expectations. I don’t know whether it’s true but my theory is that oldest children are most likely to be Upholders and younger children tend to be Obligers. Curious to learn what your tendency is?  You can take the quiz here: