When you're interviewing for a job, it’s common to be asked a series of behavioral interview questions and even to take a standard Myers-Briggs test. For a potential employer, understanding your tendencies, interpreting how you make decisions, and identifying the circumstances most likely to stress you out helps determine if you are a good fit for both the company and the position.
When it comes to your own life, seeking that same insight can also help you improve the decisions you make for yourself, especially when it comes to your finances. This is why so many financial companies are adding behavioral assessments to their websites and some advisors even incorporate them into their services. The goal is to help you make better decisions when investing, borrowing, and spending.
Why This Works
There is no denying that you are your own person. However, through the decades, psychologists have narrowed human behavior down to five basic emotional drivers, which are known as the Big Five Personality Traits (also referred to as OCEAN or CANOE). How you rank within the range of each trait can predict how you will manage your money.
Whether a person is open to new experiences and places, or resistant to change, can determine how much risk they are willing to take with their money, not to mention their careers
A highly conscientious person is likely to be organized, value timeliness and make regular bill payments—activities that contribute to higher credit scores.
The more outgoing a person is, the more likely they make social connections easily and the more comfortable they tend to be drawing attention to themselves. This could find expression in their spending choices—from statement homes to flashier cars.
The higher a person’s agreeableness, the more trusting and compassionate they may be. Financially, this can lead to making decisions from a point of trust—bordering on naivety. Being too agreeable could lead to not thinking to negotiate on prices, sales contracts or loan terms, for example.
The more emotional a person is, the more likely they are to react in extremes. For instance, delaying decisions due to anxiety over making a wrong choice, or impulsively choosing without due consideration.
What This Means for Your Mortgage
When you’re looking at homes, and certainly when evaluating the best financing option for your circumstances, it helps to know your own mind.
This awareness can lead to countering impulses to buy too much home or to compromise unnecessarily and buy something too limiting for your needs. It can also help you choose a home loan that matches your personal attitudes toward money management.
For instance, if you are uncomfortable with uncertainty and debt, you may want to choose a mortgage with a strong long-term structure and a repayment plan that automatically debits your account on the same day each month. The certainty and regularity can reduce the stress that you may feel about having to borrow a large sum to buy a home.
In contrast, if you’re a person who is comfortable managing within change and fluctuating debt balances, products involving adjustable rates and with terms that give you greater flexibility month to month regarding repayment, can be useful financing tools in managing your money.
There are many sites that offer to create personality profiles for you, some with eerie accuracy! However, Real Estate Agents and Loan Officers can also help you make decisions that can keep you aligned with your best interests. They base their careers on being able to listen to what you say about your goals, financial circumstances, and desires. Then, they counsel accordingly.