Financial Archetypes: The Idealist

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Posted January 18, 2013 by Kelley Long in Life After Five
idealist

Continuing my review of the financial archetypes from the book It’s Not About the Money by Brent Kessel, the Idealist archetype is typically the person who believes that money is the root of all evil and it certainly isn’t the way to happiness. They may also feel guilty about having so much while others suffer from so little. They deal with this by ignoring money and pretending it doesn’t affect them.

Some of the Idealists I know are people from working-class backgrounds who have “made it” and can afford the luxuries that money can buy, but suffer from intense guilt about other family members’ inability to enjoy the same financial freedom. Others are people who are financially dependent on money they didn’t earn, like from an inheritance or trust fund. And many women are Idealists out of a sense of piety – they feel like taking proper care of their money is akin to being a “bad Christian.”

The thing is, we all need money in our society to survive. The sense of conflict Idealists often feel is a direct result of wishing they didn’t have to deal with money because they think it “just sucks,” but when they do deal with it they are either angry and frustrated for not having enough or guilty about having more than enough.

Regardless, being an Idealist adds stress about money that you might not even know is there.


Idealists very rarely know how much money they are spending or earning. Their propensity to ignore money often leads to late fees, bad credit, finance charges and other unnecessary spending. Other Idealists pride themselves on living very frugally, which usually means they don’t have an emergency fund in place, which can very easily lead to a crisis.

If you’re an Idealist, read on. As unpleasant as it may be to focus on your money for a bit, look at the numbers and find out how much you absolutely need to survive. Enlist the help of a financial coach or trusted friend who can help take the pain out of the process and crunch the numbers for you. No matter what, you must know how much money you need each month to pay your bills.

Then set up as many of your bills to be paid automatically as possible.

This will save you buckets of money on late fees and charges, and will keep you from having to think about money too often. Then start saving for a rainy day fund equal to a minimum of three months of your expenses. Put it in a savings account and forget about it. Having this cushion in place doesn’t make you greedy or selfish, it simply removes the stress of money from your life so you are free to focus on your true calling.

I totally get what it is that makes Idealists reject money. I understand the feelings of guilt or conflict about how great the world would be if there weren’t so many greedy shysters out there. I won’t argue with you about that, but I will tell you that there is no getting around the fact that money is a part of everyone’s needs. Giving it proper attention and respect will only allow you to follow your dreams.


About the Author

Kelley Long

Kelley Long is a CPA/PFS and CFP® who believes that the true meaning of financial security means having choices in life. Formerly the head of her own practice, KCL Financial Coaching, Kelley parlayed the knowledge and experience gained from starting her own business into her dream job as the Director of Communications and Marketing for the Chicago-based CPA firm Shepard Schwartz & Harris. She’s also a volunteer and media ambassador for Feed the Pig and 360 Degrees of Financial Literacy. In Kelley’s perfect world, everyone would feel great talking about their money concerns, fears, questions and problems, because then everyone would see that we ALL have those concerns, fears, questions and problems. Kelley lives in Chicago where she also teaches BODYPUMP group fitness classes at the Chicago Athletic Clubs.

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