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Smart Money

The Best Budget For You, Based on Your Personality Type

Have you taken the Myers-Brigg personality test? Read on to learn more about the various personality types and discover what the best budget for you is.

Kim Galeta • August 30, 2022

In This Article

  1. Sentinels (ISTJ, ISFJ, ESTJ, ESFJ)
  2. Explorers (ISTP, ISFP, ESTP, ESFP)
  3. Analysts (INTJ, INTP, ENTJ, ENTP)
  4. Diplomats (INFJ, INFP, ENFF, ENFP)

There are so many different options out there when it comes to budgeting your money. It can be overwhelming.

But, before you go crazy trying out each budgeting method, there’s one way that could save you time: Take the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator assessment and learn how you can manage your money based on your personality type.

You may have heard of Myers-Brigg, the popular personality test primarily used in HR circles to see how employees manage their time, solve problems, make decisions and handle stress. It basically helps employers determine what makes an individual tick so that they can craft the best working environment for that person. One of my favorite things about this personality assessment is that there are no right or wrong answers. Instead, the Myers-Brigg Type Indicator offers up insights that can be applied to all areas of your life, including managing your finances.

The first step, of course, is to take the assessment. Then, armed with your results, you can delve into how to better budget based on your Myers-Briggs personality type. Read on to learn more about the various personality types and see where you fit in.

Sentinels (ISTJ, ISFJ, ESTJ, ESFJ)

Sentinels are generally viewed as hard-working and precise individuals. They thrive on having things organized and operating “according to plan.” Not surprisingly, when it comes to handling finances, Sentinels are typically seen as the responsible ones who tend to view money in a practical way. My personality fits into this category, but being a Sentinel doesn’t make me perfect. In fact, because I’m a Sentinel, I have found it challenging to deal with unexpected life events that might throw a wrench into my carefully calculated budget numbers.

Financial Recommendation: Make zero-based budgeting your BFF

The zero-based budget is a great solution for the Sentinel personality type because it ensures that each and every dollar has a purpose which aligns with your priorities. It also helps to remove spending guilt by assigning your dollars to different sub-categories before they are spent.

When I used a zero-based budget, I found money in my budget every month to allocate toward specific goals such as building an emergency fund. One of the ways we built up our emergency fund quickly was by going on week-long spending fasts where we only spent on essentials like paying the mortgage and utilities. And let’s just say that this year, when Murphy visited twice in the form of home repairs and dental work, this Sentinel was prepared!

Explorers (ISTP, ISFP, ESTP, ESFP)

My husband fits into the Explorer category. He’s very resourceful and can think quick on his feet whenever there’s a problem that needs urgent attention. When it comes to spending money, he lives for the experience and loves being spontaneous. He works hard and feels he should have the freedom to enjoy his favorite hobbies and discover new ones.

Financial Recommendation: 50-30-20 budgeting for the win

Using the 50-30-20 rule is likely be a good fit if you’re an Explorer because there are just three basic categories that tell you how much you can spend. Here’s the breakdown of this budgeting method:

  • 50% of your income should go to needs, AKA your “four walls” — rent, utilities, transportation, food.
  • 20% of your income should go to your money goals like saving, investing or crushing debt.
  • 30% of your income should go toward flexible spending.

You can always rearrange these percentages to make it work for you. In other words, if you’re an Explorer, you can find a cheaper place to live so that you spend less of your income on rent and more on fun things like travel. The key to being successful with this budgeting method is to be consistent and stay within the allocated percentages. This way, you know that you’re covering your expenses, saving money for the future and of course budgeting in some cash to have fun.


Analysts are strategic thinkers who thrive in technical fields and love finding innovative ways to solve problems. These personality types are typically pretty independent, imaginative, bold, and strong-willed. Analysts tend to get caught up looking at the big picture view and sometimes “analysis paralysis” may inhibit their ability to use a traditional budget.

Financial Recommendation: Embrace the reverse budget

The reverse budget fits perfectly with this personality type because it allows you to play up your strengths and focus on big-picture goals to determine your spending priorities. Your first goal should be to pay yourself first before you do anything else. Trust me, if you try to save at the end of the month after you’ve paid bills and spent money on things like clothes, movies and eating out, there won’t be anything left to save. To get going, check out programs like Chime’s “Save When You Get Paid” feature. Once you sign up online, you can automatically direct a percentage of every paycheck into your savings account when you get paid.

Now that you’ve gotten that out of the way, it’s time to put your monthly expenses on autopay. This way, you don’t have to worry about things like remembering due dates and incurring those late fees that eat away at your bank balance. After you’ve handled these, the rest of your budget can be allocated to treating yourself! It’s as simple as that!

Diplomats (INFJ, INFP, ENFF, ENFP)

Diplomats are idealists who are not typically motivated by money. If you fit into this group, it also means that you are typically warm and empathetic. You are someone who often makes decisions based on principles. You care a lot about the greater good and want to ensure that everyone gets along. You also love being altruistic and this can sometimes result in living and giving beyond your means.

Financial Recommendation: Go old school with cash envelopes

Technically speaking, using cash envelopes isn’t really a budgeting technique but it is an excellent tool to stay on track with your spending. Cash envelopes can be especially helpful for Diplomats who tend to dislike working with numbers or complex spreadsheets. You can even consider a hybrid approach here. Start with automating your savings and bill payments, then place your remaining funds into cash envelopes for spending on groceries, eating out and of course, charitable giving.

Isn’t it great to know that there’s a budgeting style for every personality type? Now you can easily figure out the technique that works best for you and start making the best decisions to secure your financial future today!

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