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Dear INFJs, are you good at managing your money?
Do you have enough money to pay for your bills at the end of the month?
Do you enjoy budgeting and looking at numbers?
Or do you find money management and budgeting a hassle?
Together with other idealists such as INFP and ENFP, INFJs tend to not focus on money as much as the other personality types. We usually prioritize other things such as our dreams and relationships over money. Some of us see budgeting and money management as mundane and we would rather spend our time doing something more meaningful.
However, money is important. Not taking care of our finances
can affect other areas of our life tremendously.
For example, having not enough money can bring anxiety and affect your emotional health. I remember how I kept having panic attacks when I was at a junction of my life where I have no job and no money coming in. At that time, I only had two to three months of saving left in my bank and it’s not a good place to be in. Since then, I swear I’ll never let myself experience that again.
Also, money can create conflicts in relationships. It is one of the most common things that couples quarrel about. Especially if you are an INFJ and you have a partner who is a sensing type, their way of managing and spending money and how they view money might be drastically different from you. On the other hand, if you have another NF type as a partner, both of you might be too idealistic and feel the same stress of making money. This inevitably affects the quality of your relationship with each other.
Lastly, if you don’t how to manage your money properly, you can’t have the impact that you desire in the world. Most of your time will be focusing on surviving and making ends meet instead of realizing your dream and doing good for the world.
If you don’t manage your money, money manages you.
Therefore, money is as important as the other areas of our life. In this blog post, I’ll share some tips on how I manage my money. But first, let’s understand why sometimes we INFJs fail to manage our money properly.
3 Reasons Why INFJs Manage Money Poorly
Some blog posts say that INFJs have poor money managing skills. I don’t necessarily agree with them. INFJs tend to be very frugal and thrifty. We enjoy helping others but not so good at receiving help. We make sure that we have enough money so that we don’t have to ask others for help financially.
Also, as we are Judging types, most of us have some kind of structure or budget in place to manage our money. Those INFJs who are really bad with money are those who haven’t utilized their Introverted Thinking (Ti), their third function, well enough or lack organization skills.
Most INFJs are okay with managing money.
But we do have some flaws though.
1. Impulsive and emotional spending
Even though we INFJs tend to save our money regularly, we get impulsive and spend a lot of money when we see something that we really like.
Like for me, usually, it’s very difficult to get me to spend money. I’m very cautious with my spending. But after I left my accounting job, I went to the US with my friends for a month and I just went crazy. I spent $10,000 on the trip. I watched Broadway shows at least one per day when I was in New York and I bought shirts which I end up not wearing.
We INFJs try to suppress our extraverted sensing (Se) function.
But the little monster cannot be caged forever.
On a daily basis, we might deprive ourselves of having little, sensory pleasures and not buy things as much. But when we get stressed, the extraverted sensing (Se) function that we have been suppressing gets out of control. We buy random things that we don’t really need without much consideration.
But it’s not always the material things and sensory pleasures that make us spend impulsively. More often than not, our emotional spending is a result of our dreams and idealism. INFJs love to spend money on education. My INFP brother often tells me that I spent too much money on learning. I had spent tens of thousand in learning music, animation, writing, entrepreneurship, self-development, and etc. If I add up everything that I spent on education, it could have been at least two years of my annual income!
Even though education can be seen as a long-term investment in ourselves, we don’t always get a return financially. Plus, education is so expensive. It can quickly wipe out all our savings and our daily effort in being frugal if we are not careful.
2. Our negative perception of money
Idealists are usually not that motivated by money and we don’t earn as much as the other personality types. According to this survey by Truity, out of the 16 personality types:
- INFJ ranked 13th,
- INFP ranked 16th (the last),
- ENFP ranked 10th, and
- ENFJ ranked 7th in terms of income.
With the exception of ENFJ, the other three idealists ranked at the bottom half of the spectrum. Idealists, in general, tend to have a negative perception of money. We think that money is not that important, money is not everything, money cannot buy us happiness, etc. Sometimes, we also feel that money is an obstacle to our dreams: If we don’t have to worry about making money, we can do things that are more insignificant in the world.
Your relationship with money is the same as other relationships.
If you don’t care about money, money doesn’t care about you.
Idealists like INFJs manage money poorly because we don’t spend adequate time on it. Some of us don’t want to deal with the numbers. We find doing a budget a hassle or restrictive, so we don’t keep track of our spending. Others will even go to the extreme and believe that:
- Money does awful things to people.
- Money is the root of all evil.
- Having more money will turn me into a bad person.
- Rich people are greedy and selfish.
Whether we consciously or subconsciously believe that money is not good. it’s impossible to manage something like money properly when we treat it badly and doesn’t give it the time that it deserves.
3. Inappropriate use of our compassion
Due to our extraverted feeling (Fe) function, INFJs might be too eager to help other people, sometimes financially too. Also, because of our compassionate nature, we often find our family members and friends asking us for help and money. INFJs who don’t know how to reject such requests might eventually get caught up in a financial crisis of their own.
What’s worse is when we lend money to others, we find it tough to get back the money. We don’t want to stress or embarrass our friends when they are struggling financially. So we wait for them to return us the money on their own instead of asking them to give us back the money they owe us.
INFJs find it difficult to separate finances with relationships.
Some of us are unclear about our financial boundaries.
Most INFJs focus on building emotional boundaries but there are also boundaries when it comes to finances. Financial boundaries mean that your bank account is your bank account and my bank account is my bank account. Your debt is your debt and my debt is my debt. I’m not responsible to help you pay your debts or control how you spend your money. Neither are you. Even if you are married or attached, it’s best to have separate bank accounts to prevent unnecessary finger-pointing or blame.
Things get really messy when boundaries are not clear. You don’t know who spends what money and on what. You don’t know how much you are able to lend others, or who to lend and not lend money to. There is also no specific date for the borrower to repay you the money. We INFJs don’t usually set such criteria so our finances can get easily affected by our relationships.
INFJ Money Management Tips: How to Manage Your Finance Better?
1. Change your attitude around money.
If you see budgeting as a chore, then you will procrastinate on it. If you see money as evil or unimportant, then the vibe that you exude will push money away and you will forever be struggling financially.
However, if you see money as a means to create a lifestyle that you desire or a means to make an impact on the world, then your relationship with money will be very different. You will feel more motivated to manage your finance better. Or if you see managing money like a game of monopoly, then you don’t feel that stress around money.
Like many other things, money is neutral.
It depends on how a person uses and sees it.
For me, money gives me the freedom to do what I want and help people the way I want to help them, which is through my writing. Without money, I will not be able to self-publish my books and maintain this website.
Money tells me that I’m providing value for the world. It’s only when people perceive value in your service and work that they are willing to exchange it with money. Money also indicates love. I feel supported and grateful to receive money from others. It makes me feel connected to the world and involved when money is passing through me.
We are not always conscious of how we feel towards money. Due to our family history with money, we might be influenced by how our parents view money unconsciously. It’s good to spend some time to understand and develop your own beliefs around money. To start off, you can ask yourself the following questions:
- Why do you need money?
- What does money represent to you?
- How do you feel about money?
- How do you feel about rich people?
- Do you feel that you deserve to have money?
To change your beliefs around money, I recommend this book, Secrets of the Millionaire Mind, by T. Harv Eker. I especially love the audio version because I find the author’s directness and bluntness rather humorous. It’s a good wake-up call.
2. Educate yourself on personal finance and wealth.
Two popular terms that INFJs search on Google are “highest paying INFJ careers” and “INFJ careers that make money”. What these INFJ readers don’t realize is career and finance are two separate categories. They are not the same.
Yes, for the majority of the people, their career is the main source of their income. This is what we have been taught — go to work and earn a living. However, most of us are not taught by parents and people who don’t understand personal finance or wealth.
Finding a high-paying job is not the only way to be wealthy. There are other ways to earn additional income. You can invest in stocks, properties, bonds, and etc. You can collect stuff and sell them when they appreciate in values. If you have built a brand, system or an asset like a business, you can leverage that to generate income.
Furthermore, the purpose of a career is not solely to make money. Yes, it can give us a stable income. But a career is also about the work you do and how you want to spend most of your time. It’s about using your passion and talents to contribute to the world.
Finding the highest paying INFJ career doesn’t make you wealthy
when you are bad at managing your money.
There are two components to personal finance — income and expenses. It doesn’t help to earn a lot when you don’t know how to control your impulsive spending. You can work very hard but have nothing left at the end of the year if you have a “leaky” financial system that keeps allowing your money to flow out.
Also, when you don’t have a budget in place, it’s very likely that you are living above your means and you don’t even know it. Your wealth doesn’t grow if you don’t upgrade your knowledge in personal finance and wealth creation.
3. Be clear on your financial boundaries.
To prevent us from using our compassion inappropriately, it’s good to set some financial boundaries. For example, you can ask yourself:
- In what circumstances, will you lend money to others or not?
- Who will you lend money to and who won’t you lend money to?
- When does the person you lend money to have to pay you back the money?
- How much money can you lend a person so that it doesn’t put you in a financial crisis?
You will not be able to answer the last question if you are not even clear about your own financial status. So not only do you have to be clear on your financial boundaries, you must know your own finances very well first.
If you truly want to help them, teach them how to fish,
not give them the fish.
Since young, I learn that lending money to others doesn’t help them at all because it’s not money that they are lacking. It’s the financial knowledge and a growth mindset that they are lacking. Some people have bad mindset, attitudes, and habits around money. No matter how much money you give them, they will spend it all. It’s a bottomless pit.
I would rather teach them how to manage their money better and be self-sufficient. I find this more helpful to the other person than lending the money.
Furthermore, when I do that, I’m able to quickly discern who really wants to change and who just wants the money and is not interested in growth. Those who don’t want to self-reflect and grow, we can’t help them anyway. They will continue to struggle with money until they decide to change. By lending them our money, we are just enabling them to stay the same.
4. Create different buckets for your money.
Many years ago, I had a budgeting app on my mobile phone. Every time, I buy something, I’ll key the amount into my app. I find it so tedious to track all my expenditures that I stop doing it!
Unless you have a business or you are self-employed like me, you don’t have to account for every single transaction that you make. Even for me, I separate my personal finances with my business finances. I make sure there are clear boundaries between the two. When I’m handling my personal finances, I don’t track my expenses with such details anymore.
Budgeting your personal finance can be easy.
You don’t even need to be good with numbers.
What you need is different buckets for your money. When all your money is in one, single location, it’s very difficult to manage them. So setting up different bank accounts for different purposes will let you know exactly how much money you have for each category.
Once you used up your money in a particular category, you are not allowed to “borrow” money from the other categories. Instead, wait for the month when you replenish your accounts. In this way, you don’t have to track your individual expenditures.
Here’s a rough guide you can follow:
1. Clearing Account: This is where all your income comes in. Every month, you distribute all the money in this bank account into other bank accounts below according to your own discretion. At the end of the month, this bank account should be zero or the minimum amount that your bank requires.
2. Recurring Expenses: Set aside a portion of your money each month to pay for fixed monthly bills such as insurance, rental, and telecommunication, etc.
3. Daily Expenses: Set aside a portion of your money each month for you to spend on daily stuff like eating, clothing, entertainment, and etc. If you spend all the money in this account by the end of the month, you’ll have no more money for the rest of the month. So this helps to control your spending.
4. Future Expenses: Some expenses such as a holiday or a laptop are costly and it takes time to save up for them. So you can set aside a portion of your money each month for these huge expenses. Saving up for your big purchases instead of using your credit card when you don’t have the money is a good habit.
5. Investment: Building wealth is all about paying yourself first. This is the money you set aside each month to build your future life. You can start with a small amount each month and slowly increase the amount. When you have accumulated enough money, you can use this money to invest and get a return on your investment.
You can adjust the amount for each category as your income and lifestyle changes. But the rule of thumb is, no matter how rich or poor you are, you have to put some money in the Investment account to pay yourself first. It’s really fun to see your investment account grow as you progress.
Many mentors mention about the bucket system in one way or another. What finally got me to apply it is when I watch this video by Roger Hamilton.
5. Select a day each week to care about your finances.
Again, if you don’t care about money, money doesn’t care about you. There’s no need to spend a lot of time on your finances. But it’s a good practice to take a look at it each week to see where you are at.
To make things more consistent, choose a day where you will focus on numbers and your budget. For me, Monday is the day when I pull out all my financial spreadsheets and analyze my finances in detail. I’ve been doing this for years now and now that it has become a habit, I feel like something is missing if I don’t look at my finances on Monday.
Selecting a specific day frees up your other days for other things.
Once you have decided on a day, you don’t have to think about your finances on the other six days. You can be more present in your relationship and focus on other areas such as your career and health.
Also, checking in weekly gives you peace of mind. You don’t have to panic at the end of the month when you realize you don’t have enough money. You can start to make some minor adjustments to your spending during the month itself when you notice that your money in the Daily Expenses account is dwindling.
If you want to find out more about how to love yourself as an INFJ, be sure to download my free eBook called Self-Acceptance for INFJs.
Featured Photo Credit: Skitterphoto