by Todd Creager

It has been understood for thousands of years that we have innate tendencies that gave been called Temperaments. Temperament includes our core needs, values, talents and behaviors.

None of us are stuck in our temperament. We have all learned to adapt and be flexible; it is necessary in order to thrive in the world. However, when you are living in such a way that enough of your lifestyle matches your temperament, you have more energy and a sense of wellbeing. If you are spending too much time away from your temperament preferences, you can lose energy and be stressed.

Part of what contributes to marital conflict is differences in temperament or more accurately- a lack of understanding and appreciation for differences in temperament between partners. In the area of money, a lack of understanding can escalate into full scale hostility or full scale divorce. On the other hand, as you educate yourself on your temperament, as well as those of your mate, you will be able to deal with and utilize your differences in a more harmonious and useful way.

You may want to print 1 or 2 copies of this out and (have you and your partner) take the test. If you are single, it is still very worthwhile to get a better understanding of yourself. You’ll probably think of others you know and see how they match up.

As you take the short test below, realize that you may not always clearly fit into one category but see what fits the best.

Factors Contributing to Your Psychology of Money

Economic background
Cultural expectations
Religious beliefs
Role Models
Life Circumstance

Beliefs About Money (Often unconscious)

“I ll never have enough”
“I don t deserve it.”
“I will be good enough when I have it.”
“I need to appear like I have money to be good enough.”
And many others

Ask yourself- “What are my particular beliefs about money? Pay attention to your self- talk about money and the decisions you have made regarding money in the past as a hint to what your beliefs about money might be.


Circle the one statement out of each pair that best describes you. Don’t overanalyze. Then see if you are more 1’s or 2’s and fill in the blanks below with the appropriate letter abbreviation. The letter abbreviation is written after each word it is the abbreviation for.

Extravert (E) or Introvert (I) (Where you get your energy); Extravert = 1, Introvert = 2

E) I prefer to work around others.
I) I prefer to work by myself.

E) I would rather work on several projects at a time.
I) I would rather focus on one task at a time.

E) I usually act first, and then think about it.
I) I usually think first and then act.

E) I am more of a public person.
I) I am more of a private person.

Sensor (S) or Intuitive (N) (How you gather information)

S) I prefer to pay more attention to the facts and details.
P) I prefer to try to understand the connections, underlying meaning, and implications.

S) I am a more down-to-earth and sensible person.
P) I am imaginative and creative.

S) I like new ideas only if they have practical uses.
P) I like new ideas just for its own sake.

S) I prefer to use an established skill.
P) I become bored easily after I have mastered a skill.

S) I prefer to rely on direct, personal experience or the experience of others.
P) I m comfortable going with my “gut instinct” or “educated guess.”
Thinker (T) or Feeler (F) (How you make decisions)

T) I prefer to settle disagreements based on premises that are fair and objective even if it means that someone will be unhappy.
F) I prefer to make decisions based on what will create the most harmony.

T) Generally I believe that a good end result can only be arrived at through a sound, logical reasoning process.
F) Generally I believe that a good decision is one that has an end result of peace, harmony and mutual acceptance irrespective of the process..

T) People would probably call me logical and analytical.
F) People would probably call me sensitive and empathetic.

T) I prefer to solve issues by trying to put my emotions aside and step back to see the problem from the outside looking in.
F) I prefer to solve issues by allowing my emotions to personally involve myself in the problem, seeing it from the inside looking out.

T) I am very impressed by a cogent, logical and well-crafted argument.
F) I am very impressed by a forceful, passionate and sincere emotional appeal.
Judger (J) or Perceiver (P) (Orientation towards having things open or closed)

J) I prefer to have things settled and decided.
P) I prefer to leave my options open, just in case something else comes up.

J) I m very conscious of time and consider being on time very important.
P) I frequently run late, and yet I feel relaxed about doing so.

J) People tend to notice how well organized I am and how everything seems to be in its proper place.
P) People tend to notice how disorganized I am and are amazed that I can find anything.

J) I feel better about completing my work before I can relax.
P) I often find reasons to stop what I am doing so I can move on to something else.

My type is:


Your temperament is found by pairing two of the letters in the way described below. I cannot explain why it is done this way in this short article, but it all makes sense. You’ll have to trust me on this one!

If your second letter is an “S”, meaning you gather information in a direct, tangible way, you need to look for the last pair of letters (P or J) to find your temperament.

If your second letter is an “N”, meaning you gather information and quickly see how things connect and see the big picture, you need to look for the third pair of letters (T or F) to find your temperament.

The four possible temperaments: NF which is called the Catalyst Temperament , NT (which is called the Theorist Temperament), SJ (which is called the Stabilizer Temperament), and SP(which is called the Improviser Temperament.

Once you know your temperament and that of your spouse, look below to see desciptions of challenges that your particular relationship may have. You will see short descriptions of each temperament. If you are interested in learning more about temperament and how your increasing self awareness and understanding can improve your relationship and life, feel free to contact me.


The Catalyst (NF) and the Stabilizer (SJ):

The Catalyst sees the possibilities in all enterprises. He is always moving towards “inspiration.” I am a catalyst. I will spend money relatively easily if I believe there is a possibility of a future reward. A Stabilizer is more into security and stability. She will not be prone to financial risk.

My wife is a Stabilizer. She questions my “Let s seize the moment and go for it” approach and reminds of details that I did not think of. It can be frustrating for the Catalyst where he feels constrained at times whereas it can be anxiety provoking for the Stabilizer to deal with this partner who tends to overlook details that may be important. Catalysts want to avoid missed opportunities for future benefit; Stabilizers want to avoid disorganization.

The Catalyst and the Improviser (SP)

Whereas the Catalyst is looking for meaning and purpose and will spend money based on achieving that end, the improviser wants fun now. He wants to avoid missed opportunities for good times now. In summary, there is a clash between the present and future opportunities.
The Catalyst and the Theorist (NT)

The Theorist makes decisions based on logic and it is often work-centered; catalysts make decisions that are more relationship-centered. Theorists are planners who try to develop good strategy and Catalyst make decisions less based on logic than inspiration.

The Theorist (NT) and the Stabilizer (SJ)

The Theorist is into “new and improved” whereas the Stabilizer is into “tried and true.
Imaginative, unproven and risky financial management for the NT vs. practical, realistic and conservative financial management for the SJ.

The Theorist and the Improviser (SP)
The conflicts here are similar to the Catalyst and Improviser- (clash between future and present opportunities). The Theorist can get extremely frustrated with the “Let s spend money and live life now” approach because it messes up his strategic plan for the future.

The Stabilizer (SJ) and the Improviser (SP)
Spending on major, long-lasting functional purchases (SJ) vs. Spending on good time, instant gratification (SP)


As you understand each other more and accept that there are different core needs and values, you can work better with your partner around money issues. Here are three benefits of applying this knowledge:

* Accepting two different money realities
* Good listening
* Compromise and effective problem solving and resolution

Instead of jumping to resentment and judging, you need to sidestep your power struggle and realize that your partner is not trying to “deprive” you or “control” you; he just has a different agenda because he has different core needs. In my own case for example, as a Catalyst I have been inspired to make investments into classes, workshops, etc.

My wife as a Stabilizer would play devil’s advocate often, trying to keep me realistic and not go overboard in spending too much money or leaping into too much blind hope without some further investigation. Was she trying to restrict me? It sure felt like it sometimes; but that would be inaccurate. She is good at logistics and wanted to make sure things are more “stable” whereas I was more apt to “upset the apple cart” because of an idea I was enthusiastic about.

We have learned to compromise. I throw her into some inevitable anxiety as I go after one of my “inspired” projects and she has adapted to me. Likewise, I have slowed down at times and often, it was a good thing because I had not thought of a detail that she did- that may have derailed the project.

So, we need to appreciate our differences and realize that we are allies, not enemies- allies that are doing our best to get our core needs met. As couples grow in understanding, they see the need for the three C’s: cooperation, compromise and creativity

Especially in these challenging economic times, it is especially important to understand and work together with your partner. It is not necessary to let money issues get in the way of your loving connection with him (or her).

Again, if you want to know more about how to apply this knowledge in your life, contact me. This short article gives you a little taste of what a useful tool for couples temperament knowledge can be. I have had couples have a much better and constructive outlook with each other after just one session with me going over these concepts and ideas. I also have more written material in my office about temperament and other related concepts. Take care.

Todd Creager

From Sarah – I think Todd is just terrific. I first heard him in one of Rori Raye’s interviews, then saw him on her “Toxic Men” program. I know several people who’ve said his book turned their marriages around. Go check him out and get his free newsletters

1 Comment

  1. Angie on February 3, 2009 at 5:17 am

    I so agree with this article and what it is saying. My husband and I come from very different background. He was raised rich and I was raised poor. Because of this, he is never satisfied in life really. He was given everything he ever wanted as a kid and then, as an adult, has had to budget and watch his money all the time. This comes easy for me and I do not feel dissatisfied with my life at all. Its hard for me to comprehend my husband’s dissatisfaction sometimes, as I am normally quite happy with the way our life is. Its gotten better over the past 15 years we have been married, but it is something we still struggle with as a couple.

Leave a Comment