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The Key to Financial Planning: Know Your Money Personality

Updated: May 14



Everyone approaches spending, saving, and investing in their own unique way. Your financial style is usually informed by multiple factors, including your upbringing, financial circumstances, and personality.


There’s no single right approach to managing your finances; the trick is understanding your own financial strengths and weaknesses — and then creating a plan that not only works with your style, but also helps you build solid money habits along the way. 


Here are three common “financial styles.” Read on to see if one fits how you spend and save, and whether there are ways you can optimize your style to benefit your life.


The Low-Key Learner

People with this financial style may be paying attention to their saving and spending habits, but personal finance is not always a top priority. For example, if you’re a low-key learner, you might not necessarily have a budget or emergency savings account yet. Your long-term financial goals seem far away, and while you know you need to tackle them, the prospect may seem overwhelming.


The good news is that moving your financial future to the forefront is much less burdensome and time-consuming than you may suspect. Here are some tips to accelerate your learning and ensure your finances are on the right track:


Reframe your perspective. Try listening to personal finance podcasts or finding a book that sparks your financial interests.


Build a budget. The more you know about where your money goes, the better. Track your spending and then create a budget that allows you to meet your financial needs and save for your goals.


Automate your finances. Digital tools, like those found in the PNC Mobile app[1], can make it much easier to take control of your personal finances.


The Cautiously Curious 


People with a cautiously curious style know they want to do more with their money, but often wonder where to start. For example, you might use a spreadsheet or app to track your spending but only check it occasionally. And while you could cover a small unexpected expense, you’re unsure how to handle a bigger financial emergency.


Congratulations on creating a solid foundation for your financial future. Next up: Build on what you already have to increase your stability, speed up your progress, and create new opportunities. Consider the following:


Review your short- and long-term goals. Evaluate what you need and want from your money — and determine whether you have a solid plan to get there.


Make sure your money is doing the most that it can. Learn about tax-advantaged ways to save and take advantage of them. If you’re thinking about paying for your children’s college education, explore how a 529 plan can help. The same goes for Flexible Spending Accounts or Health Savings Accounts.


Monitor — and celebrate — your progress. You don’t have to do everything all at once, but you want to keep the momentum going. Track your progress toward your short- and long-term goals and celebrate when you achieve them.


The Savvy Strategist


When it comes to personal finance, you’re well beyond the basics. You know your stuff, and you're constantly working to increase your knowledge and optimize your financial life. If you’re a savvy strategist, you likely save via tax-advantaged accounts and invest in other ways. You know your credit score off the top of your head, and you’re aware of lending options for bigger purchases.


The fact is you’re doing a great job on your own. But you don’t want your blind spots to slow you down. Take your personal finances to the next level with the following tips:


Partner with a professional. Consider working with a financial advisor who can help you learn more about investing and introduce you to advanced financial planning strategies.


Plan for your legacy. If you don’t already have an estate plan, now is the time to create one. An estate plan helps protect your assets after your death and provides your loved ones with a safety net and guidance.


Dive even deeper. Determine if there are other aspects of personal finance you’d like to know about and dig into them. Follow your interests and explore other ways to grow your wealth.



This article is for general information purposes only and is not intended to provide legal, tax, accounting or financial advice. PNC urges its customers to do independent research and to consult with financial and legal professionals before making any financial decisions. This site may provide reference to Internet sites as a convenience to our readers. While PNC endeavors to provide resources that are reputable and safe, we cannot be held responsible for the information, products or services obtained on such sites and will not be liable for any damages arising from your access to such sites. The content, accuracy, opinions expressed and links provided by these resources are not investigated, verified, monitored or endorsed by PNC. 


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This article originally appeared in the monthly participant e-newsletter to PNC Women Run the Cities entrants. Learn more about the event here.

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