Recently, I wrote about Jung Typology and Finance, looking at the first of four dimensions used by psychologists and career coaches for categorizing personality preferences. Introverts and Extraverts draw their energy from individual or group activity, and that difference can have an interesting effect on opinions and behavior with regard to money.
The second dimension in the Myers-Briggs version of this personality typology pertains to information gathering. People who take the test are categorized along a dimension whose extremes are “Sensing” (S) or “Intuition” (N). Wikipedia provides a good layman’s definition of this aspect:
Individuals with a preference for sensing prefer to trust information that is in the present, tangible and concrete: that is, information that can be understood by the five senses. They tend to distrust hunches that seem to come out of nowhere. They prefer to look for detail and facts. For them, the meaning is in the data. On the other hand, those with a preference for intuition tend to trust information that is more abstract or theoretical, that can be associated with other information (either remembered or discovered by seeking a wider context or pattern). They may be more interested in future possibilities. They tend to trust those flashes of insight that seem to bubble up from the unconscious mind. The meaning is in how the data relates to the pattern or theory.
The first thing that pops into my mind is stock analysis. While everyone who analyzes stocks looks for facts, I think those on opposite sides of this spectrum will have a different approach. The Sensing individuals might look at a company’s underlying strengths and weaknesses, identifiable in annual reports, for example. On the other hand, those who gather information via Intuition might be more prone to looking for patterns inherent in performance. Both approaches are highly technical.
Perhaps you’ve heard of the Elliott wave principle. This is a method of predicting market trends based on patterns on historical up-and-down movement. The tricks with this principle is that it’s hard to know where you are in any particular “wave.” Someone with an Intuitive personality might be drawn to this type of analysis.
If you’ve read personal finance books, you’ve probably noticed how authors try to reach both types of personality. Often, a particular lesson begins with a story, illustrating a positive or negative approach. The story is usually light on details, but Intuitive people might be able to relate to the story and understand the point the author is attempting to make. If the author is smart, he or she will continue by supporting the story with details and facts that support the conclusion.
When either approach is missing, either half the audience will be bored or the other half will be mistrusting. It’s possible that Robert Kiyosaki’s “Rich Dad” series falls into this category. The books are strong on story and emotion, perhaps drawing in the Intuitive audience. Yet, the books are short on actionable details, frustrating those, perhaps Sensing individuals, who look for facts and hard data.
Who would be better at managing their own finances, the Sensing or Intuitive individual? I think the Sensing individual should be trusted with managing the family’s finances above the Intuitive individual. The type of analysis required, including net worth, expense reports, and budgets, involve the hard data favorable to Sensing individuals.
Published or updated February 24, 2008.