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               What's Your Money Style?
                           By Ginita Wall

What's your money style? It's an important question. Your money style affects your entire attitude toward finance and investments. See which of these profiles fits you.

THE BARGAIN HUNTER

The Bargain Hunter is always in quest of her quarry, the Big Sale. Getting a bargain makes her feel great, but finding out there was a better bargain across town makes her feel awful. She thinks about cost and discounts all the time, and sometimes buys things she doesn't really need just because they were on sale.

Many Bargain Hunters will answer "yes" to the following questions.
1. Do you watch the sales more than your personal finances?
2. When shopping sales, do you look only at the money you've saved, rather than the money you've spent?
3. Do you react to hot investment tips without investigating them thoroughly, afraid you'll miss the opportunity to make a killing?
4. Do you spend a lot of time clipping and organizing coupons, compared to the money you save?
5. Do you have a closet full of "bargains" you've never worn?

THE SPLURGER

The Splurger' s credit cards are her best friends, and she takes them everywhere. And like some friends, they frequently talk her into spending money she shouldn't and can't really afford. She hates having to say "I can't afford it." After all, she works hard for her money, and she deserves to have money make her feel good. And when she feels bad, watch out -Nordstrom, here she comes!

Answer these questions to see if you are a Splurger.
1. Do you think of credit cards as an absolute necessity, frequently spending to the limit?
2. If you struck it rich in Las Vegas, would you consider it "play" money to be spent rather than "real" money to invest?
3. Do you feel anxious or defensive when asked about your personal finances?
4. Does overspending make you feel more successful?
5. Do you believe that people who say that money can't buy happiness just don't know where to shop?

THE MONEY HOARDER

The Money Hoarder is in love-with her money. Her hobby is saving money, and she loves to see her bank account grow. She keeps her money safe in the bank, never considering what that old pickpocket Inflation is stealing from her each day. She appears very successful, but she sometimes worries that she may outlive her money and end up a Bag Lady.

Here's how to tell if you are a Money Hoarder.
l. Do you think about money constantly?
2. Instead of spending, do you feel most comfortable saving every penny?
3. Is money closely intertwined with your sense of achievement?
4. Do you feel guilty about spending money for necessities such as a new pair of shoes for yourself?
5. Is your idea of a great vacation staying at home and counting the money you saved by not going anywhere?

None of these styles is wrong, unless taken to excess. The style then becomes exaggerated, producing an unhealthy approach to money.

Here's how a healthy approach to money makes you feel:
1. You feel in control of money rather than being controlled by it.
2. You are aware of what money means and how you use it.
3. You use money in positive ways to enhance your life.
4. Money is a reward for accomplishment, not an end in itself.
5. You can use money spontaneously without feeling guilty.
6. Money is a source of pleasure as well as for necessities.
7. You realize that money can't solve all your problems.
8. You adhere to your basic moral standards when dealing with money.

Be aware of your own money style so you can take steps to keep a positive perspective. Financial goal setting is the key to controlling your money style and keeping it healthy.