Moving on in my review of the financial archetypes from the book It’s Not About the Money by Brent Kessel, let’s talk about one of my favorites, The Star. If you are a Star, most likely more than 25 percent of your overall spending is on clothing, hair, beauty, entertaining, or other items that contribute toward your fabulous image. You wear all the best labels, carry beautiful handbags, wouldn’t be caught dead taking public transportation and you just might have a tiny dog that goes everywhere in your purse.
Most people think of you as cutting edge and you like to be viewed as a generous leader. You probably work very hard to keep up with the latest and greatest in the world and friends look to you for what’s “in” right now, whether it is fashion, restaurants, gadgets or cars.
Stars have a high need for recognition and prestige, and most of their decisions, including what to spend their money on, what career to pursue and where they live are geared toward maintaining their status as a trend-setter and celebrity in their own right.
The thing is, our culture is celebrity-obsessed and no matter what we might say about not caring what others think of us, most of us have a little bit of the Star in us. We can get caught up in the cycle of spending to increase our status, whether it be buying the newest iPhone, hitting the latest hot spot or even enrolling our kids in the most prestigious programs. Sometimes this spending does result in financial gain from new jobs, attracting investors or other support, but ultimately it can lead not only to a mountain of debt, but a feeling of emptiness and regret.
Looking like a million bucks doesn’t always feel like a million bucks.
Stars usually avoid budgeting or looking at where money has been spent because they want to avoid the feelings of anxiety and emptiness that might result from realizing how much is going toward things like cars, clothing, furniture, gadgets, fitness, beauty treatments, etc. But the best way to balance yourself out and start to feel better about your financial position is to find out where your money is going.
If you don’t have the skills (or the stomach) to do this, hire a financial coach or planner or use online tools like Quicken or Microsoft Money to figure it out for you. Once you know, set some realistic goals to cut back a little in your overspending areas. Don’t go cold turkey, just try a little moderation. Revisit your spending at least every three months, and if you’re still having trouble spending less than you make, try paying cash for EVERYTHING for three months.
Admittedly, I’ve fallen prey to the Star within me on many an occasion. I know what it’s like to look at where my money went for the month and feel empty and disappointed in what I have to show for it. But keep getting back on the wagon and eventually you’ll find yourself in a much healthier place with your money. Gold star for that!