What’s Your Money Mindset?

Joe John Duran, author of “The Money Code,” invites readers to understand how to be financially successful by thinking about behavior patterns instead of external factors. Readers can learn to navigate the complex world of finance by reflecting on daily decisions and discovering their money mindsets.

I want to share the following content from “The Money Code” to help you think about your decision-making process when faced with financial issues:

Americans love to measure and track. From our cholesterol levels to the latest results of presidential polls, we are obsessed with statistics. When it comes to personal finances, we maintain a similar emphasis on facts. Our financial lives are often reduced to a series of stale questions such as, “What are our assets and liabilities?” “How much do we have in our retirement accounts?” and “How much are we making on our money?

This singular emphasis on number crunching has trained us to view our financial lives as an intellectual endeavor, effectively stripping the “personal” from “personal finance.” Although we can measure all we want, almost every major financial decision we make is based on emotions.

When it comes to important or stressful financial decisions, we generally have a primary focus. I call this primary focus your Money Mind. Think of your Money Mind like a lens you’d find in eyeglasses. You’ve probably heard the expression about wearing rose-colored glasses. Just as pink glasses would tint everything you saw pink, your dominant Money Mind will do the same for your financial life by influencing your view about every big money decision you’ll ever make. Fortunately, while there are endless possible lens colors, there are only three Money Minds.

They are as follows:

1. Fear (The Protector)
2. Happiness (The Pleasure Seeker)
3. Commitment (The Giver)

So what kind of money mind do you have? Take The Money Code’s quiz to find out:

QUESTION 1: Well done! You get three great job offers.

Which one will you take?
Pays best (A)
Brings you the most joy (B)
Gives you the most time with family ( C)

QUESTION 2: Congratulations! You won $10,000 in game show prize money. You:

Tuck it in your piggy bank ( A)
Take a fabulous vacation (B)
Buy a gift for someone you care about ( C)

QUESTION 3: You max out your credit card buying cool furniture. You:

Would sit on the floor before you’d do that! ( A)
Feel good—you’ll pay it of f soon (B)
Imagine your family enjoying it, which makes it worth every penny (C)

QUESTION 4: The bill arrives for the big party you threw for your best
friend. What are you thinking?

Internally regret the money spent ( A)
Had a blast, would do it again! (B)
How much it meant to your friend ( C)

QUESTION 5: What do other people say about your spending habits?

You’re too tight. (A)
You’re a spendaholic. (B)
You’re way too generous. ( C)

QUESTION 6: Oh, no—your work hours just got cut. What’s your plan?

Live frugally until you regain your hours ( A)
Continue your spending habits. It’s only temporary, right? (B)
Worry about what it may mean to your loved ones ( C)

QUESTION 7: You’re planning your child’s birthday party. What’s your
top priority?

Check the budget and try to save money ( A)
Hire the clowns and book the bouncy house (B)
Triple-check that you invited all of your family and
friends (C)

QUESTION 8: You’ve been offered a job across the country. What’s
your first thought?

Concerned that it may not work out ( A)
Excited about the opportunity (B)
Don’t want to leave your friends and family ( C)

QUESTION 9: Alright! You’ve just bought your new car. What do you
do next?

Wonder if you got the best possible deal ( A)
Luxuriate in the new car smell (B)
Can’t wait to show it to your friends ( C)

QUESTION 10: Your neighbor has a bigger house and a better car than you. How do you react?

Wouldn’t want his or her stress or expenses ( A)
Admire his or her success (B)
Why my neighbor? Wish it were mine ( C)


Once you mark your answers, tally the A’s, B’s, and C’s.
A’s (Fear): ______
B’s (Happiness): ______
C’s (Commitment): ______
My dominant Money Mind is: ______________________________

About the author: Joe John Duran is a three-time author and founding partner of United Capital, which consistently ranks as one of the nation’s fastest-growing wealth counseling firms. He previously served as president of GE Private Asset Management. From CNBC to CNN, Joe regularly provides financial commentary on TV. He has been profiled in numerous publications, including the New York Times and SmartMoney. Joe holds the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) designation and earned MBA degrees from Columbia University and UC Berkeley. He lives in Laguna Beach, California, with his wife, Jennifer, and their three precious daughters.