Personal Finance and Personality Disorders: Help or Hindrance?

For those of us who have lived with personality disorders you know that they can affect all aspects of your life. Some are probably worse than others but who's to really say since I'm in no place to really judge things that I can't experience myself. I have fought with bipolar 2 disorder throughout my life and as I have gotten older I have learned to notice when my mood changes and I know what to expect. But sometimes, it still sneaks up on me without me noticing, and the next thing I know I have let my mood affect my relationships. I'll have a shorter fuse because my emotions are running high and the next thing you know I'm in an argument with my girlfriend about nothing that really matters... Luckily for me, I can usually recognize my feelings before I say something I might later want to take back and just diffuse the situation and leave it for a later time. But then again, sometimes I don't catch it and I feel the need to apologize for that part of me that sometimes escapes. After the last time this happened I started to wonder if my moods can affect my personal finance choices or if other personality disorders can affect personal finance. So with that thought in mind, let's speculate...
Personal Finance and Personality Disorders

Bipolar Disorder


My life has been a series of phases, I get really into certain things or projects for a while and eventually they all fizzle out. Sometimes quickly, sometimes they stick for a while. I've gotten into collecting art (very expensive), making art (lots of clutter), working out (will I ever get back to that..), learning everything there is to know about the current state of the NBA (players, stats, watching more games than one really should), phases where I go out with friends a lot (totally fine with this one), phases where I go to karaoke a lot (nothing wrong with that either), a few different blogs (so far this is the only one that has lasted and requires real work and writing), and many other random things. Many of these projects and phases get shelved for a while with the intention of going back (probably not) but some persist longer than even I would have anticipated when I look back on it. There were also times where I got depressed and looked to retail therapy to help. So far it seems like everything about bipolar has been a negative influence on my personal finance. The only common theme is that whatever I get into, I seem to go full into it for a while before I just drop it to the side.

One day when I was looking for ways to reduce my cable bill I stumbled across some personal finance blogs, and as soon as I started reading some of them I became hooked, it became my new obsession that I got really into, my new project.
I always had a strong distaste for work so I saved more than the average person, maybe around 20% of my income, but after I got into personal finance I was able to quickly bump up my savings up to around 35% without much work, and I have found ways to increase that even more since then. Anyways, usually these phases last somewhere between months to a few years before it wanes, I hope that this one lasts much longer than that. It's probably been about 3 years or so that I have been really really serious about my finances (it's funny how that basically coincides with my last horrible job) so let's hope this doesn't fade.
Overall, I'm sure my finances are much better off with all of the work I have done in the past few years even though my younger self did some damage with plenty of completely unnecessary purchases.

 

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder


I don't have any compulsions or obsessions in the traditional sense of the disorder but I do have issues with scantron bubbles not being completely filled in or things not being completely erased. (does that count?) On the plus side, I could see that if someone was into their personal finances in a way that they compulsively checked their portfolio and read everything that they could on companies that they invested in could be a huge benefit. You would know what's going on and possibly see warning signs before others. At the same time I'm guessing that if you spend too much time researching you could suffer from paralysis by analysis. I also think that there's 2 sides to each argument and lots of negative stuff out there on companies too. I think I see more negative articles about Tesla then I do positive ones and in the last year you wanted to be on Tesla's side. There's also unpopular companies like Philip Morris which have been around forever and would be a solid investment if you were looking for a lower risk dividend investment.

 

Paranoid Personality Disorder


If you lack trust in others then there's a very strong chance that you are not going to trust the stock market. Since I am a firm believer that over time, the stock market will always rise, there may be down years. There may be multiple down years in a row, but if you take any 15 year span of the market, I doubt there is any span where the market overall decreased. But that being said, if you are not trustful of the market then you might put your money into what are viewed as more "secure" assets. Some people who distrust banks and other large institutions might have decided that they wanted to put their money into gold. What if the paranoid personality disorder sufferer bought gold for the last 10-15 years. They would have made a tremendous investment. Though at the same time gold has been in a world of pain for the last year decreasing significantly while the general stock market rose by about 30% last year. But that's just one year.

Dependent Personality Disorder


There are a few ideas about how the dependent personality might handle their personal finances. On one hand they might not know what to do unless they get guidance from friends, media or such. Since the average investor is probably the average worker that contributes to their 401k, from my experiences most of them do not know the difference between a mutual fund, an index fund or an ETF (my father included). I would say that relying on someone whom they trust might not be the best idea. But at the same time, if you are doing what everyone else is doing you probably won't get too far behind either. The other thing I think that a dependent personality might do is simply hire a money manager to watch over their investments. This could either be a good or bad thing to do depending on your money manager sooo.... I'll leave it at that.

Overall I think that all types of thought patterns can be good or bad for your personal finance depending on if you know how to use your strengths. Hopefully you can recognize what works for you and play to your strengths.

Disclaimer: Don't attack me for the definitions of disorders or the speculative nature of the ideas expressed. I am not qualified in any way to even know the proper diagnostic definition of the disorders mentioned. All of the ideas mentioned in this article are probably all bullshit. But it's my bullshit and you just read it. The only thing that I know is 100% factual in this article was the first paragraph.

74 comments:

  1. OCD is interesting because there are different types : Checking Contamination / Mental Contamination
    Hoarding-Ruminations / Intrusive Thoughts. I can see how many of these can get in the way of making financial decisions. People in general have OCD tendencies (I know I go through phases of constantly checking my stocks), but true OCD is more like a superstition. The idea that if I don't do X something bad is going to happen. I have a feeling that cognitive distortions get more in the way of decision making than personality disorders and everyone has cognitive distortions (just different ones at different levels).

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I completely agree with you, I think cognitive distortions plague the majority of investors out there. I'm also betting that cognitive distortions are what prevent a lot of people from investing in the first place. I constantly hear things like "the stock market it rigged", "the market is going to crash", "we're due for a correction". The truth is, no one knows.

      I once heard that "the stock market is the collective knowledge of the world." it's not any one individual that can make it go up or down (though some may argue that someone like Warren Buffett probably could). People either choose to invest in company A or company B, some even choose not to invest at all. In a way you could call the stock market a hive mind.

      But back to OCD, what if my reasoning was, if I don't invest and keep track of it, I will have to work until I die at the age of 70. That sounds horrible to me. That could possibly be one of the saddest things to accept at my age since I have a long time until I reach that age.

      It's not that I think it will really happen because I'm taking steps to prevent it, and I'm definitely not claiming to have OCD, I'm just posing a question that I don't know an answer to because I don't know enough about OCD.

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