Money Rules: Are you a Rule Keeper or Rule Breaker?
Determine Your Money Personality.
There seems to be two types of people in this life. Those who always try to keep the rules. And those who live by the mantra that rules are meant to be broken. There are some positive aspects to both types when it comes to life and money. Think about your personality. Are you a rule breaker or rule keeper?
And me? Well . . .
Those that know me well will be shouting, “You’re a rule keeper!” And they’d be right. It’s pretty obvious. I’ve always been cautious and diligent about conforming to the rules that were set up. Whether in school, life, or finances, I always did and do my best to follow the rules. Some would call it being a suck-up, but those were the rule breakers. But I figured if I could learn the rules and the system, then I could use the system to my advantage.
And others around me were most certainly rule breakers.
I was recently talking to a co-worker of mine. I mentioned how I had to get my photo taken for my driver’s license renewal. And this guy said, “Hey I have to do that too. My license has been expired for months now.”
I about lost my mind. Of course I couldn’t let it show. Here was a rule breaker, in the flesh, laughing off a serious crime (in my mind).
I calmly said, “You should probably take care of that soon.”
“Yea, I will.” he replied.
We both laughed, but all the while, inside I was flabbergasted. I knew I wouldn’t be able to sleep knowing that I could get pulled over and hauled off to jail for not getting my license renewed. I just couldn’t understand why this critical piece of life wouldn’t get taken care of immediately. But this guy just laughed it off.
The Traits and Characteristics of the Rule Breaker?
So the rule breaker traits like spontaneity, impulsiveness, and carefree attitude can work in some life situations. The rule breaker is fun and exciting to be around. You never know what they’ll do. They’re likable and energetic. But what about when it comes to money. Can a rule breaker be successful, and if so, what causes them to win with money?
I think the answer is yes. And some make it just fine. They may have great incomes, and are able to keep their debt under control. But the rule breaker is always in-efficient when it comes to the financial rules. They can’t help it. In their quest for freedom and fun, they do what feels . . . right.
And then the more I thought about it, I realized that the rule breaker relishes risk. The risk of possibly getting caught. The risk of losing it all is a thrill that they live for. They weigh the cost of keeping the rule, and often opt for the fun or convenience of breaking the rule instead.The rule breaker relishes risk. Are you are a rule breaker? Click To Tweet
This sometimes manifests itself as impulsive spending. Or perhaps risky investments. They may invest instead of paying down debt. They “break” the financial rules. Either unwittingly or perhaps deliberately. But there is no playing it safe. The rule breaker throws caution to the wind, possibly to a fault.
These are the types who trumpet YOLO as they continue to rack up miles, rewards, and debt on their credit cards. It’s not that there isn’t validity to their methods. It’s just that it looks fun and wrong all at the same time . . . to me, a rule keeper.
And they tend to either succeed wildly or fail miserably. There is no middle ground for a die-hard rule breaker.
What About the Rule Keeper?
The rule-keeper tends to be more cautious. Safer investments make sense, and the traditional rules of personal finance are comfortable. Spend less than you earn, and minimize your debt. Save and invest where plausible and never ever borrow money just to invest.
Anything that ends in -hacking, like house hacking, or travel hacking, credit card hacking, or even life hacking sounds too much like breaking the rules.
Success comes in time, over many years of conservative investing and saving, and rarely results in ruin. At least I like to think financial ruin rarely visits the rule-keepers.
Slow and steady is the motto of the rule keeper. And it works. The market returns 7% on average a year, and the more you invest the faster your nest egg grows. Risk is minimized, and success is inevitable.
I know it’s unfair to lump all people into only two groups, as most of us are some combination of the two. We may lean more towards breaking the “rules”, but usually never completely behave as rule-breakers. And vice-versa.
You may wonder how I can have so much insight into the psyche of a rule breaker as I, myself lean more towards rule keeping. Well, I’ve observed people, and I have close relatives that certainly fall into that category.
Certainly either type can be successful. It’s just that rule keepers are not going to be comfortable with the risky, and perhaps highly lucrative investments. They prefer a different steadier path.
Knowing your personality can provide insights into the type of investment plan and money rules you find easier to follow.
So how about you? Have you had success as a rule breaker or rule keeper?
Let me know in the comments, and please share this post using the social media buttons below.