Sometimes The Weakonomist gets distracted with current events and needs to step back to do something a little more fun.  The other day I was talking with The Sheconomist about saving money.  When I later had a moment to get lost in my own thoughts I started comparing how I save to how my parents save.  I wanted to compare to others but that’s basically all I’ve got to work with on a personal basis.  So I let my mind wander and after a spin in my non-existent M5, some savory thoughts of eating Mexican (food), and thinking about what I want for my birthday, my easily distracted mind came back to what different types of savers are out there.  Here’s what I came up with.

The Sweeper: These are the people that keep a bare minimum in their checking accounts.  Every penny above the minimum is “swept” into savings, paying down debt, retirement accounts, or something else.  They probably use a credit card for most expenses, paying it off each month.  Sweepers are aggressive savers.

The Cash Cow:  Cash is king.  Their checking accounts look like most people’s student loan debts after a trip through college.  They have so much cash because their other savings needs are met, or they at least think their needs are met.  Most of the time you’ll see these people are older, having paid off most debt and mostly saved for retirement.  Cash keeps piling up because they don’t know what to do with it (you’re as jealous as I am).  Someone please point them to the nearest banker selling a CD.

The Magician: Why is it that at the end of the month every penny you made seems to have vanished?  Because you’re a magician!  No matter how hard you try and what you do, when you check that balance you’re out of money.  Where did it go?

The In-N-Out: Similar to The Magician but this time it’s in big chunks.  You hit payday and then your car breaks down.  Get that bonus but you forgot to pay the taxes on your car.  Tax refund that was paying for your trip to Maui is now fixing the AC.  Money goes out as fast as it comes in.

The Mr. Bucket: Mr. Bucket has more than two savings accounts and each one has a name.  12% goes to emergency fund, 8% to the house fund, 20% to honeymoon fund, etc…  You have no fun with your money because each bucket is a never-ending pit.

The CPA: Ever been audited by the IRS?  No problem if you’re a CPA saver.  Not only do you have a strict budget that is tracked to the penny, but you save receipts and get upset when your checks aren’t returned by the bank in a fast enough time.  You make enough and save enough but you’d probably be as exciting at a party as Mr. Bucket.

The Hippie:  The hippie doesn’t think ahead.  They work and take care of their finances, but never really save up anything significant.  When times get tough things always seem to work out.  This ain’t not pot-smoking hippie either, it’s just anyone that when the finances stress the rest of us, you somehow make it out alive.  Perhaps Mom and Dad are helping?

After taking a long hard look (not really) I think I am most like The Sweeper.  My parents are definitely closest to The Cash Cows with a little CPA thrown in for good measure.  What kind of saver are you?  If you don’t match someone on the list, give me something new in the comments.

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categories: lists, personal finance