Fool – The Rollercoaster

I work with high achieving professionals and business owners who earn well but have little to show for it.  Usually brilliant performers in the workplace, well qualified and confident, but when it comes to money it is a different story.   Credit card debt, loans, overdraft often maxed out, but life seems to tick over just about ok because the income is good.  They know though, that the situation is getting progressively worse, and sooner or later the proverbial s*** will hit the fan.

One of my many brilliant tools I use to help my clients be better with money is the eight Money Types – a set of eight characters who all behave very differently around money.

The trick is to work out which type you identify with.  If you are ignoring your money problems you will identify with the Innocent Money Type.  If you think you will never have enough money, then the Tyrant is showing up etc – get the idea?

Once you have picked out one or more of the Money Types in the behaviour identity parade, You can work out how to shift negative behaviour to positive.

The good part is that the Money Types allow us to externalise the issue – takes it out of ourselves.   A bit like a friend coming to you to help with a problem – they need help because they are too close to their problem and need an objective view.

Before I continue, it would be good for you to take the Money Type Quiz on my website. It will give you a snap shot of which Money Types are showing up for you right now.    When you get the results, know that the Money Types are not WHO you are, but WHERE you are.  So, if you get high percentage Fool for example, it indicates that you are BEHAVING like the Fool, you are not A Fool per say!

If you have taken the quiz, how much Fool is showing up in your money show right now? If it’s over 50% the Fool is active and will likely be influencing your everyday life.

Ok, so let me introduce you to the Fool properly.  People with an active Fool tend to have a roller coaster financial life.  Living very much in the moment and quite unattached to future outcome.   A gambler by nature, taking financial shortcuts looking for a cash windfall.  You’ve seen the ads on YouTube – the oh so confident characters, telling you that you can make your fortune in a month by following their simple instructions? Get your card out and sign here!

Have you heard the saying “a fool and his money are soon parted”?  Well this often comes true BUT Fools often win too, because they are willing to roll the dice; take chances.

The Fool will get caught up in the enthusiasm of the moment, feels the dopamine rush o excitement and spends with the optimism that they really need what they are buying.  They care little for details.

Here are the Fool’s money characteristics:

  • PRestless
  • PUndisciplined
  • PLives for today
  • PFinancially irresponsible
  • PImpetuous
  • POptimistic
  • POverly Generous
  • PHappy-go-lucky
  • PCareless
  • POver indulgent
  • PFoolish
  • PUngrounded
  • PReckless

So why does the Fool appear?   Quite often, those with an active Fool are simply mirroring overspending parents.  Spending when we can’t afford it is a big subject.  I tend to find that the Fool partners with one of the other Money Types – quite often the Innocent, Victim. or the Martyr.    The Fool might pop up when we are feeling low.   Shopping trips have become an event in modern society.  Why? Because we like the dopamine hit – the excitement of buying new things to satisfy something we feel deprived of in our lives. It makes us feel better at the time.  Some shopping trips give us  post purchase depression shortly afterwards or when the credit card bill arrives.

I had a client, we’ll call him Justin.  Now retired, he spent 30 years working in financial services, selling £millions worth of products on commission.

He loved the high life – he had an Aston Martin, loved drinking fine wines and smoking the best cigars.  Armani suits and Gucci shoes.  He enjoyed entertaining clients in the best restaurants, there were holidays in exotic places and plenty of golf.

When he came to see me, he was wearing a huge smile. He told me that he was completely broke.  He knew exactly what he had spent his money on – all of the above plus 3 divorces and 5 children.  He laughed a lot – he was a jolly chap.

He had saved for his retirement, but it had been spent along the way.  Why?  Because he always believed that “there was plenty more where that came from” a quote his boss had used for years.  The problem for Justin though, was that time moved so fast.  His work was not as easy as it was back in the 80’s. He was running out of steam and wanted an easier life.  He felt sad, deflated, foolish but at the same time quite calm – for a change!

I asked Justin why he had come to see me. Why now?

He gave a big sigh and said that he came to see me now because he had fallen in love with a beautiful lady.  He went on to tell me that he had been broke for a while. He was still drawn to expensive things and bought a few, but it didn’t give him joy anymore.   He was confused.

Unlike Justin, his new love lived a frugal life.  She enjoyed walking in the woods and spent time drawing and writing.  She didn’t appreciate expensive clothes or up market restaurants.

Meeting and falling in love with her showed him a different side to life – it was as if someone had turned a light on to something new.  A way that brought about a feeling of extreme happiness, but also a feeling that his life before had been pointless.    He regretted not having saved for this part of his life and wanted to discover why his life had taken this path.

He wrote his money story, from birth to now. It transpired that his childhood had much love but little money.  He wanted the nice holidays and houses his friends had.   His dad was jolly character who liked to spend but didn’t have enough to spend to keep up with the Jones’s.

Neither of his parents were home makers and he never took friends home because the house was a mess. This embarrassed and frustrated Justin.

He always spent money as soon as he had it, often buying his friends sweets. His parents told him that he was careless with his money – over generous.  He got a job at 15 and started buying nice clothes and the best cigarettes to impress.  He really wanted the high life and to look good.

He married his first wife at 20.  She came from a very wealthy family – very.   He slotted right in and loved it.  The shine of wealth soon began to tarnish though as he found his wife’s family to be controlling, constantly at war, and miserable.  He had married her as her rescuer and out of pity.  The marriage was impetuous and Justin, inside, knew it was mistake.

They ran away. Moving from job to job, always spending beyond their means, the debts grew. The marriage and the relationship with the family was torrid and short lived.   They divorced.

Justin continued to chase the high life, even though his first taste of it had turned sour.  His story continued with a rinse and repeat pattern.  All the while Justin wanting the high life but never finding happiness within.

I suggested that his spending was to fill a hole – that he was an emotional spender.  He looked puzzled.  I asked him in detail about his spending. How he decided to buy something, how he considered the price and how he would pay for it.  I asked him about how he felt after big spending, in the past and now.

The penny dropped.  As he answered my questions, he saw that, firstly, he was very like his dad – a big, jolly character who liked to spend.  But he also saw that the expensive clothes, fast cars and fine food would not make his life complete. It did momentarily, but it was a short-term fix of feeling and looking good and impressing others.   His natural optimism had kept him going, but with failed marriage after failed marriage, the real love he had received as a child was absent in adulthood.

Justin’s new lady had finally filled his heart with what really matters.  Love.  He felt odd spending now because it was purely habit but had no purpose, as he had no hole to fill.

The Fool is a combination of the Innocent and the Warrior.  He has the impaired judgement of the Innocent – has difficulty seeing the truth about things but has the fearlessness of the Warrior.  I love coaching those with an active Fool because they have some remarkable qualities which, when mastered, make them wonderful money Magicians.

Justin is happy.  He leads a frugal life with his new love but he feels wealthier than ever.

He has become an enlightened Magician, the Money Type of faith, trust and balance.  If you want to hear more about the Money Type that we would all like to be – the Magician, come back regularly to catch my next piece.