What Is an Enneagram and How Does It Impact My Money?

Oh, the Enneagram—it’s one of my favorite things. I mean, as far as life-changing things go, for me it’s Jesus, pizza and the Enneagram.

You might be wondering, What is an Enneagram? If so, I’m so excited to introduce you to it. I promise you’ll learn something about yourself!

What Is the Enneagram? 

The Enneagram is a personality typing system. There are nine personality types, and they’re each driven by their own unique core motivations.

And learning what really motivates people is fascinating to me!

Having taught personal finance for over a decade, I’m always fascinated by what motivates people to finally change their money mindset and get out of debt. If you’ve been following me for the last year or more, you know I’ve been deep into my self-awareness journey as well. The Enneagram is honestly the best assessment I’ve ever found to describe what makes me, me.

If we aren’t aware of which strengths, weaknesses, perceptions and tendencies we bring to the table, we’ll never be able to improve and reach our financial goals. That’s why I want you to take a minute and look at your money through the lens of your Enneagram number.

What Your Enneagram Means for Your Money 

This article alone shouldn’t be used to determine your Enneagram number. When I learned about mine (Type 3: the Achiever), I read Ian Cron’s book, The Road Back to You, I listened to podcasts, and I took a couple different tests. Discovering your Enneagram type might take some more work than a simple article or test can do.

That said, here’s what your Enneagram number might mean for the way you handle money . . .

Type One: The Reformer 

Core Motivation: To Be Good

Ones love sitting down to do the budget. They love the sense of control they get from telling their money where to go. And when the end of the month rolls around and they’ve stuck to their budget, they feel a great sense of accomplishment. A+!

Because Ones are perfectionists, they can tend to be more legalistic about money. That means they’re hard on themselves if they make money mistakes and can be judgmental of the way others handle money. If you’re a One, remember that everyone makes a misstep sometimes. If you want to be healthy with your money, you’ve got to give grace to yourself and others.

Type Two: The Helper 

Core Motivation: To Be Loved

Twos are natural givers, so generosity is definitely reflected in their budget. They may have separate line items for charity, tithing and gifts, for sure. Because Twos are so relational, they love getting to do a budget date night with their spouse.

Twos need to watch out for overspending on others. Just because someone needs something doesn’t mean it’s your job to go buy it for them. And remember, it’s okay to make yourself a priority in the budget. If there are holes in the soles of your shoes, you should probably go buy a new pair!

Type Three: The Achiever

Core motivation: To Feel Worthy

Whether it’s getting out of debt or saving up for something special, Threes are highly motivated by seeing progress they make toward their goals. They enjoy tracking their transactions in the budgeting app, and they especially love seeing their savings account balance grow.

It’s important for Threes to feel successful, so they might spend a little too much for the sake of being seen. As a Three, I’ve come up with this question to ask myself before a purchase: “If no one else saw this, would I still want it?”

Type Four: The Individualist

Core Motivation: To Be Unique

Fours don't need to spend money to impress anyone because they generally don’t have the desire to “fit in” anyway. But they may overspend in effort to buy the ideal or original of something.

Fours don't love budgeting—and this is probably a little stereotypical, but Enneagram expert Ian Cron is a Four, and he told me this himself, so I’m going with it. Fours might think they’re too cool for budgeting or that there are more important things to be worried about. But if you’re a Four, give budgeting a chance. Money reveals what you truly value in life, and the budget is an opportunity for you to prioritize what you value most!

Type Five: The Investigator 

Core Motivation: To Be Competent

Fives are typically good with money because they enjoy getting lost in the details and research. Fives want to be self-sufficient, so having enough to retire is especially important for them. And they’re perfectly fine with living a minimalist lifestyle, so they don’t overspend on anything flashy.

But sometimes, Fives, you need to spend some money. My husband, Winston, is a Five, and I usually need to buy new socks and T-shirts for him when his old ones clearly need to be replaced. He’s too practical to spend the money on himself!

Type Six: The Loyalist 

Core Motivation: To Have Security and Support

Sixes value security even more than most people, so having an emergency fund is very important to them. They’re more likely to be financially responsible and save money.

But Sixes may have a lot of fear and anxiety around money. While researching and writing my new book, Know Yourself, Know Your Money, I identified six common money fears people struggle with. They’re fears like: I can’t win with money because I’m not smart enough. I’m scared I’ll end up like my parents. I won’t get ahead because that’s not how the world works. Sixes, don’t let fear dictate your financial decisions. If you feel that, check out my new book on how to overcome fear in your finances.

Type Seven: The Enthusiast 

Core Motivation: To Feel Satisfied

Sevens make the budget fun. A Seven will have no lack of funding in the entertainment, food and travel categories! They value new experiences, so that’s where they want to put their money.

When I’m out to dinner with my friends who are Sevens, they’re the types to pick up the whole check, which is totally unnecessary! Sevens can fall victim to impulse buys, so if you’re a Seven, you may want to establish a rule of waiting at least overnight before making a major purchase.

Type Eight: The Challenger

Core Motivation: To Control Their Own Destiny

Sometimes, the only person an Eight will listen to is himself. So, once they set the budget, they'll actually follow it. 

Whether it's spending, saving or giving for the month, an Eight’s motto is “Go big or go home!” So, while they may throw caution to the wind and spend a lot of money without worrying, they’re also some of the most generous people I’ve ever known.

Type Nine: The Peacemaker

Core Motivation: To Have Inner Stability

Nines tend to get decision fatigue, so they’re most content once the budget is already set for the month. The budget can actually give a Nine the inner peace they so crave, because having a plan for their money helps them feel calm instead of chaotic.

Their biggest struggle is just opening up their bank account and sitting down to do the budget. Nines, don’t put it off! Once you get started, you’ll feel so much better.

What Does Your Enneagram Number Say About You? 

Like I said, I love learning about what makes people tick. Head over to my Facebook Community and share where you notice your Enneagram pop up in your money habits.

I asked some of my teammates about their Enneagram and money quirks, and here's what they said:  

Luke, a Nine: “Peacemaking is different than peacekeeping. I’m motivated to tell my money where to go in the budget because it actually fixes money problems and restores the peace.”

Kelly, a Nine: "My favorite thing about the budget is letting my type One husband formulate the budget. Then, I get to approve it and add or subtract whatever necessary."  

Naomi, a One: “My budget is planned out at least four months in advance. I can’t imagine doing it any other way! I’ll make little tweaks at the start of each month, but I geek out over knowing what I’m doing with my money for the rest of the year.”

Heather, a Two: "As a Two, I naturally neglect my needs or push them down the line of importance, prioritizing others' needs first. But a budget gives me permission to spend on things I know I need, and I feel okay knowing there is a line item for those needs if I plan for it." 

Peter, a Four: "If I indulge my spontaneous free spirit as a Four, the budget goes downhill real quick." 

Kelsey, an Eight: "I enjoy challenging myself and pushing my limits. I'm on Baby Step 7, and every once in a while, I'll put $0 in my restaurant line item for the month . . . just to see if I can do it." 

(My takeaway is Eights are crazy.)

Now, I want you to discover your seven money tendencies, six money fears and four money classrooms to really figure out why you handle money the way you do. I wrote about them in my new book, Know Yourself, Know Your Money, to help you get unstuck in your finances, build wealth, and create a life you love.