Financial Archetypes: The Middle Way

Posted February 11, 2013 by Marcy Twete in Life After Five

We recently completed our review of the eight financial archetypes presented by author Brent Kessel in It’s Not About the Money. Now I’d like to share Mr. Kessel’s concept of The Middle Way, which is really just finding a healthy balance of all eight financial archetypes in your life.

The Middle Way, as the author points out, is a philosophy originally introduced by the Buddha (don’t let me lose you yet, it’s not as woo-woo as you think,) and it simply teaches that the path to true freedom lies neither in self-indulgence nor in renunciation of all worldly pleasures. That’s right, it’s all about moderation.

So how do you begin to balance yourself out from your lifelong habits and relationship with money? First, remember that none of the archetypes taken by themselves are necessarily good or bad. There are archetypes that embody habits or outcomes that are more socially acceptable or encouraged by society, but that doesn’t mean that the people who live those archetypes are any happier or freer financially than the types that are less accepted or encouraged.

Take the pressure off yourself to be “good” in the eyes of society and focus on what makes you happy, fulfilled and at peace. Then scroll down and find the archetype you determined fits you best and try the tips offered to add some balance.

  • If you’re a Guardian, try to let go of your conditioned beliefs that your worry helps keep it together or that if you’re not constantly on top of your money that you will lose it all, and instead try to think more like a Pleasure Seeker, Empire Builder or Innocent. Find ways to pursue activities that calm you and encourage enjoyment, or make a decision to spend uninterrupted time with someone you care about, just enjoying his or her company. Look for ways to be of service to others and see the hope in the world you feel when you help.


  • If you’re more prone to being a Pleasure Seeker, take a note from the Guardian and Saver and instead of constantly looking for the next feel-good activity, respect the fact that living within your means and taking care of your future will create a different (and more lasting) kind of pleasure and feeling of self-sufficiency. It’s amazing how good a little bit of self-control feels when you’re used to succumbing to your own every whim.


  • An Idealist should look to Savers, Innocents and Stars for tips on being less skeptical and more empowered. There is no shame in being a good steward of your money if it is used to create balance. Think of how great it would feel to not have to rely on any other people or The System to take care of yourself by learning to be more hopeful and take the lead in financial health and freedom.


  • Savers, while they might think they have it all figured out, need to learn that there is no magic number that will make them feel happy, safe, secure. With that attitude, you’ll always need more. Relaxing and enjoying life should be a high priority RIGHT NOW. Look to Pleasure Seekers, Idealists and even Caretakers for lessons on connecting with other humans and living in the moment for immediate financial freedom.


  • If you’re a Star, you need to look to Guardians, Innocents, Caretakers and Idealists for a few tips on making sure your use of money is nourishing ALL parts of you and not just the superficial parts. By helping others and resisting the temptation to buy something just for attention, you’ll find significance in your generosity of spirit and compassion for other humans. People will want to be around you for the way you make them feel instead of the prestige.


  • Innocents must work to eradicate their belief that money will always be a struggle. Empire Builders, Guardians and Savers all have great habits and traits that can help you be more self-sufficient, decisive, and alert about your financial situation. Sticking your head in the sand and ignoring your money problems only makes them worse in the long run. Find a vocation you enjoy and are passionate about, then simplify your lifestyle to fit within the income you earn from your vocation.


  • Good guides for a Caretaker include the Innocent (who can show you how to be adaptable and hopeful,) the Pleasure Seeker (who will demonstrate how to put your needs first,) and the Saver (who will show you that you can’t effectively take care of others unless you first care for yourself.) Remember, those that you’re martyring yourself to can make it without you, but you must first believe that.


  • Finally, the Empire Builder should look to Pleasure Seekers and Idealists to realize that you already have enough today to enjoy your life fully and you SHOULD. Consistently striving for new goals and worrying that you don’t have enough power is not living in the moment and it could all end tomorrow. Take a note from the more laid-back archetypes and embrace today.

Now it’s time to do the work. By just being a touch more mindful of how your conditioned beliefs from the past affect your relationship to money and life, you can change your story and find true financial health and freedom.

About the Author

Marcy Twete

Marcy Twete is a career fundraiser turned corporate responsibility executive, a career and networking expert and the author of the book "You Know Everybody! A Career Girl’s Guide to Building a Network That Works."