What the Enneagram can teach you about your money relationship

written by Angela Raines September 4, 2018
What the Enneagram can teach you about your money relationship

Guest Post By Angela Raines

You can’t get away with being Bari Tessler’s co-writer for eight years without getting a serious education about money.

Boy, howdy: immersing myself in this world has taken me to some steep growing edges. I’ve had to face inner demons I didn’t know I had. I’ve taken practical steps and broken through money ceilings. And I’ve made friends with money in a way I never dreamed I could. (It’s a work in progress. But there’s definitely progress.)

What I most appreciate about Bari’s work is how she invites us into deeper, more attuned, and intimate connection with ourselves and others through the portal of money.

As Bari says: money is never just about the money. It dredges up our dreams and wounds. It reveals us to ourselves: our gifts and struggles, self-doubts and emotional hang-ups. All of those perceptual filters and habitual ways of thinking, feeling, and behaving. So … how do we work with these, when they arise?

In the past eight years of my money journey, I’ve worked with these habits and energies in a few ways. Somatic work, Zen meditation, long walks (the longer the better), and no-holds-barred chats with dear friends.

But by far, my favorite way to work with any psychological or emotional pattern that arises? The Enneagram.

Enter the Enneagram

Bari and I have had many a conversation about this esoteric-yet-practical typology system, and I think it’s awfully wise that she recommends folks check it out to support their money work. I’ve studied the Enneagram for a decade, and have spent the past three years completing professional trainings through the Enneagram in the Narrative Tradition. I simply don’t know a better system for self-knowledge (which leads to self-awareness, which leads to self-transformation).

The Enneagram reveals those core motivations undergirding our behavior. Those deeper desires, drives, and grooves of emotion and attention.

Once we’re aware, we can choose. And often, given the choice, we choose to do something a little softer, a little bolder, a little kinder. As Ian Morgan Cron says, “the Enneagram doesn’t put you in a box. It shows you the box you’re already in and how to get out of it.”

There are nine types in the Enneagram, usually referred to as their numbers (ex: Type Two). This isn’t a ranking system -- no type is better or worse than another, but each Type has its own gifts and challenges. And because each type has different focuses of attention and habits of emotion, the Enneagram makes it clear: there’s no such thing as a one-size-fits-all approach to personal growth.

For example, let’s say you and I both want to address our money shame. Maybe my money shame is driven by a feeling of worthlessness, and feels like going numb and sleepy. My path to growth, then, might be firing up my motivation and go-get-em-tiger energy. But maybe getting fired up is your version of being triggered. Maybe your shame expresses itself as anger at loss of control -- so your pathway through money shame might mean cultivating a little more calm and spaciousness.

Real-life money stories from the Nine Types

Below, you’ll find stories from real-life people about how their Enneagram type shows up in their money relationship. I’m extremely grateful to the generous, self-aware folks who took the time to share these stories and insights.

If you’re already familiar with your Enneagram type, I hope you’ll find some gifts to celebrate -- and some loving challenges for growth. If you’re not yet familiar with your Enneagram type, perhaps you’ll recognize yourself somewhere in these stories. Either way, I hope you’ll appreciate how differently others may “do” money. Because while there’s so much we all have in common around money, sometimes appreciating our differences can unlock even more understanding and empathy.

Super-important caveat #1: I do not mean to suggest for a moment that the rich, complex, multi-faceted YOU can be reduced to type. Nu uh. You — and your relationship with money — are influenced by so much more than your Enneagram type. The Enneagram is one lens through which to view all of this, but I do not mean to suggest it is the only lens or influence.

Super-important caveat #2: This is in no way an exhaustive treatment of the Enneagram and money. I interviewed a number of people, but their stories aren’t The Definitive Treatment of How Enneagram Type Six Does Money, for example. If you don’t recognize yourself below -- that’s OK.

Super-important caveat #3: There’s a ton of depth and complexity within the Enneagram system that I don’t have the space to explore in this introductory article. In particular, the instincts and subtypes can be extremely influential in our money relationship (and I won’t be discussing those here). For more information on the Enneagram, explore the resources at the bottom of this article.


What the Enneagram can teach you about your money relationship

Type One: “The Reformer” or “The Perfectionist”

The One’s attention naturally goes to what’s wrong or needs correcting, so they can be good enough to be worthy of love. Conscientious, improvement-oriented, and principled, they can also be worrisome, rigid, and highly critical of themselves and others.

Gifts around money:

  • “I’ve always embraced money to a degree (even when having a mixed mindset about it). It fed my sense of wanting to feel independent. I even did my own tax returns from the age of 16 on.”
  • “I believe in the power of the dollar and spend my money in accordance with my beliefs. I often spend money on improving myself: workshops, therapy, physical health.”
  • “I’ve taken on the sense that money can really be a tool for positive things: freedom, choices, independence, adventure, and positive impact in the world.”
  • “If I’m going to spend money on something — like going out for dinner or clothes or coffee — I will only spend it on something I REALLY want. I won’t spend it on something that’s part-way satisfying.”
  • “My inner advocate has helped me stand up for myself and ask for the raise or negotiate better pay. In my first nonprofit job, I took a stand to get a retirement benefit. In another nonprofit job, I negotiated for a higher starting salary.”
  • “Always striving to do better and evolve myself has its gifts — especially as a business owner — when it comes to money.”

Challenges around money:

  • “I judge myself for money behaviors. I always think I’m behind where I ‘should’ be and that my friends are better off and have done it right, and I haven’t. I always think I should be saving more, investing better, etc.”
  • “I tend to ignore money because I can’t do it perfectly.”
  • “I have undervalued my contributions in the world and not brought in the money that I would ideally have liked to have made.”
  • “For so long, I’ve not been connected to my own true desires. I think it isn’t easy for Ones to listen to our internal voice. I’ve been working to uncover my true desires and create my life to realize them.”
  • “For many years I considered money mostly as a non-righteous but necessary thing in my life. I was raised in a blue collar, lower middle class cultural mentality and a German & Irish American, Catholic environment. The messages I got were mostly that money is a negative thing and good people didn't need it or want it or probably have a lot of it. The One in me took these messages and decided that working in nonprofits was the only way I could do meaningful work. I wore my ‘noble poverty’ (as Mikelann Valterra calls it) mindset like a badge of honor.”

Helpful practices + advice from fellow Ones:

  • “When I start to worry about money and get contracted, I try to breathe and open my heart.”
  • “Self-compassion can be very helpful as you engage in your money life.”
  • “I have learned that I can serve the world, be a good person, AND have a life that I love and am not totally depleted and deprived by. I can be useful in the world without getting used up (turning my passion and commitment into workaholism).”
  • “Diligence and paying attention. As Ones, we are trained to see the imperfections. But if we master that skill, we can use it to discern differences and see important patterns in financial (or all) situations.”
  • “Rather than putting my attention on living within my means and budgeting (which I used to be really good at), I’m learning to ask myself what I want, how much that will cost, and then how I can make that much money. I try to think of it all as a game, or experiments I’m running. This makes it less scary and serious, and more spacious.”
  • The Body Check-In that Bari teaches has helped me most. I know that decisions around money are best made when I’m connected to my whole body — not just caught up in my head.”

Type 2: “The Giver” or “The Helper”

The attention of the Two naturally goes towards what other people want and need. Relationship-oriented, caring, and generous, they can also be prideful and over-accommodating, avoiding their own needs.

Gifts around money:

  • Optimism: “I have trust and feel everything will be OK and work out with money, even though I’ve struggled at times.”
  • Generosity: “We give 10% or more of our income to the church and other non-profit organizations. We will open our home and share our resources freely and generously.”

Challenges around money:

  • Over-giving: “I have a PhD In making decisions based on my lack of concern for my own financial well-being. I over-give when I don’t have enough, due to the desire to be connected.”
  • Guilt: “I feel guilt around spending or having nice things.”
  • Receiving: “It would be hard for me to be needy or receive financially.”

Helpful practices + advice from fellow Twos:

  • “I am paying more attention to what I really need vs. what I give for connection.”
  • “Pay attention to over-giving. My type amplifies how needy other people are, so I remind myself that they are capable and that often, I’m not really helping them by diminishing their capacity in my mind. So I see my amplification of others’ needs as a reminder to come home to myself. This means that I am respecting others and myself. It allows a more reciprocal relationship of giving and receiving with others. Resentment is a good cue that I'm over-giving.”
  • “I’m learning to spend more freely and be more generous with myself, not just other people.”

Type 3: “The Achiever” or “The Performer”

The attention of the Three naturally goes towards what they can do or achieve to look good and thus get love and approval. Energetic, adaptable, and achievement-oriented, they can also miss their own feelings and move habitually into action instead of being with what is.

Gifts around money:

Threes are goal-oriented, take work seriously, and want to be successful. Many of them shared with me that this makes earning and managing money easy for them.

  • “I love setting goals and achieving them. If I want to buy a high-ticket item, it’s not hard for me to make that happen. Once I make my mind up to do something, I know I can accomplish it.”
  • “I love budgeting! I can put my money goals down on paper and make a plan to accomplish those goals. It’s something I can keep coming back to and it keeps me on track. I can make anything happen!”
  • “I figured having $45,000 of student loan debt was normal, until I took a Dave Ramsey class on getting out of debt. Here’s where being a 3 comes in! I was completely single-minded in my goal to become debt-free in 3 years. I quit my job and found another with better pay and overtime. During that first year, I made $30,000 in overtime pay alone, working 50-70 hours every week. Did I make my goal? Yep! Did my health suffer as a result? Yep! I was now debt-free, but the countless hours sitting in front of a computer gave me two bulging discs in my lower back. This was debilitating. But in classic 3 fashion, I made a new goal for myself: balance. I decided I would heal my back without surgery by learning everything I could about nutrition, exercise, and movement, and by forming a better community for myself to de-stress and have fun. Today, my back is healed, and I’m still debt-free.”

Challenges around money:

  • “I can do do do to the detriment of being and enjoying.”
  • “I have to watch out so I don’t slip into using money for style and image, but instead according to my values and principles.”
  • “The single-minded obsession to accomplish my financial goals has made it difficult to maintain a healthy balance in my life.”

Helpful practices + advice from fellow Threes:

  • “Try to realize how important it is to maintain balance in your life while working toward important goals. If your health suffers as a result of neglect and imbalance, you’ll have a much harder time reaching your goals, anyway.”
  • “Learn self-reflection, so you can reign in bad habits.”
  • “Grow your empathy and watch out for pride — sometimes, others know better than you what to do about money.”
  • “I’ve moved from focusing on the use of money to create an image to using money consistently with my values to the advantage of people other than myself.”

Type 4: “The Individualist” or “The Romantic”

The Four’s attention naturally goes towards what’s missing in the here-and-now (or what’s best about what’s not here). Idealistic, deeply feeling, and creative, they can also get dramatic, moody, and stuck in darkness.

Gifts around money:

  • “I insist on bringing deep meaning and beauty and authenticity into every area of my life — or die trying. That includes money. It has to, for me.”
  • “As a 4, I tend to think out-of-the-box by default and this is incredibly helpful in business and money. My creative boldness has lent itself well to boldness and risk taking in business, which leads to success in finances.”
  • “I have no problem investing money in something that’s creatively engaging or holds deep meaning for me.”

Challenges around money:

  • “OMG I can be such a snob. It physically hurts to bring something into my home that offends my aesthetic sensibilities. I have the tastes of a royal and the pocketbook of a pauper, and this can be very painful. Sometimes, I overindulge and overspend because of this. Other times, I deprive myself of necessary things for ages and ages, because I can’t afford what I really want, so I refuse to buy anything at all.”
  • “My primary struggle is wanting to give my energy to the creative, artistic, and spiritual realms. It's where I belong. It's been a challenge in life to decide whether focusing in that way is better -- because sometimes it can lead to money -- but other times it can be indulgent/sticky and I need to get objective and focused outwardly to stay in balance. In my 20’s and half of my 30’s, I leaned towards the artistic: both in healthy ways and in the 'I don't want to deal with the outer world, external needs, structure’ ways. Since then, I feel I've gone hard the other way - getting my finances in order perhaps at the expense -ahem- of my creative gifts and needs. For example, I taught myself how to day-trade cryptocurrency/stocks in order to help my finances last year. I did well, but honestly, that is such a waste of my energy and talents, and I paid for it in my body too.”
  • “I’m so oriented towards creating and meaning that I don't have the default business acumen disposition I see in other types. It really takes conscious energy for me to say, ‘OK, I need to make money and make this thing I'm doing make money,’ when my real gifts are in the diving deep, expressing, and helping. I've grown strong in finances, but it will always remain a second language to me.”
  • “I have to watch out for envy. If I’m not careful, my attention drifts to all the money and financial savvy and privileges other people have and I don’t. I can start feeling irredeemably broken and swirl around in woe. It’s super unproductive and disconnects me from myself and everyone else — and that’s the last thing I want!”

Helpful practices + advice from fellow Fours:

  • “Start to be curious about how a good money practice could actually support your creativity and your uniqueness in the world. Consider that these two are not in opposition with one another and see how that changes your perspectives and actions.”
  • “With love from an Enneagram 4 to another: f*ck your feelings 😉 I’m partly joking, but our feelings as 4’s need to be balanced by the cold steel of facts with money. And really, it can be quite refreshing because unlike navigating our own ever-changing inner world, numbers are nice and predictable. I have 100% become hella disciplined. I have multiple budgeting spreadsheets for my businesses and I use the YNAB app as well. I have budgeting sessions weekly and often more than once per week. I have bigger financial and life reviews to help steer my money path. This is definitely the last thing I would have preferred doing 10 years ago, but now I see it as a necessity and feel much more confident in my ability to manage and execute around money.”
  • “Sometimes, things aren’t ideal. Wallowing in that gap between reality and your imagination doesn’t make you enlightened, though. You have incredible gifts for recognizing beauty and meaning in everything. So bring this to bear when things are uncomfortable or you have to make do with something less than stunning. Learn to find the beauty and spirit in the ordinary. And most of all: notice when you’re abandoning your own heart. Come home, come home, come home.”

Type 5: “The Observer” or “The Investigator”

The Five’s attention naturally goes towards overly intrusive demands on their time and energy and what they have to do to protect their resources so they can feel stable and certain (and not empty or incompetent). Thoughtful, self-sufficient, and dependable, they can also be detached, avoidant, overly private.

Gifts around money:

  • “I usually spend within my means and I enjoy that feeling of control.”
  • “My desire to be capable and competent has influenced my relationship with money: I like spending within my means. I'm really independent and I tend to follow my own consciousness and tastes. I’m not particularly susceptible to spending money in order to fit in or keep up with other people.”
  • “I can use my gifts of logic and perspective to work on safety and security issues.”

Challenges around money:

  • Communication: “I’m not good at communicating about money with a partner.” And from another Five: “I’ve never had a partnership that’s been conscious about money communication.”
  • Avoiding the feeling of incompetency: “I get so anxious and overwhelmed about saving for retirement or investing or even developing a budget, that I just avoid dealing with it. It’s so daunting, I get overwhelmed and turn to something else I feel more comfortable (or competent) with. Sometimes, I never come back to that scary financial stuff. I was laid off a few years ago and needed to do something with my 401K account from that old job — but I got overwhelmed by the bureaucracy involved and just never did anything with it.”
  • “I’ve spent most of my 45 years feeling very unsafe and ungrounded with money. I can rationalize away bad financial choices or a lack of self-education.”

Helpful practices + advice from fellow Fives:

  • “Privacy is like oxygen to money manifesting. Having solo money time has been key. Not talking about what I spend, what I’m processing, or my plans. It took me awhile to own that and not second-guess it. There’s so much pressure to do extroverted processing in our culture, but it only scatters my energy. I don’t like to do classes, I like to have MY relationship with money be MINE, which means alone time. I need to be alone and get into my creative process with money — just like when I write or do any other creative activity.”
  • “Set up systems and make them as automatic as possible. I tend to not pay much attention to daily details, especially in times of stress, so I’ve learned this the hard way. Direct deposit and automatic transfers to savings have really helped me.”
  • “We Fives like intimate relationships with a lot of focus: one relationship at a time, small groups. Anything that’s too demanding of my attention, I block out unless it feels really intimate and special — and then I totally prioritize it. For money, I have to do that. I have to treat money like a beloved person or friend. I have to love it and feel loved by it, which means putting a lot of mindfulness around my rituals and self-care when I am looking at financial things. So I sit down at my beautiful writing desk with my beautiful view to do money stuff — or I need to journal so I can get into that place where money feels like an intimate friend. When I do that on a regular basis, it’s wonderful: I’m empowered and in partnership with money and it’s great. But when I let go of those habits, my consciousness and attention to money deteriorate. Money starts to feel like one of my “outer circle” friends that just sends me an email out of the blue and I’m too overwhelmed to respond. So I just don’t give money attention at all.”
  • “I have worked really hard to nurture an intimate relationship with myself and to allow money be a part of that nurturing. That’s how I’ve gained any tiny bit of equilibrium inside to take risks, put myself out there.”
  • “Life is easier with money than it is without it. Do what you need to create a strong financial foundation for yourself. Then go and do your sh*t in the world.”

Type 6: “The Loyal Skeptic” or “The Guardian”

The Six’s attention naturally goes toward danger and what might go wrong, so they can keep themselves and those they love safe in a dangerous world. Complex, loyal, and responsible, they can also be self-doubting, cynical, and have ambivalent relationships with authority.

Gifts around money:

  • “I insist on feeling like I know what’s up with my money, so I feel secure. That makes me willing to learn about money, to work at it.”
  • “I LOOOOOOVE the routine and structure of our weekly household meetings. I love the time my wife and I spend together planning and going over mistakes and successes. I make sure we stick with this, too: I am an absolute pain in the ass if we don’t have family meeting by early Sunday.”
  • “I am very loyal to my family and household. I love feeling like a team, like we’re on the same team, with money. THAT is great.”
  • “I have a strong desire to do my part. To be dependable and contribute.”

Challenges around money:

  • “I have a great deal of insecurity around money -- around the belief that I can handle it or know what I'm doing. I look to others — my wife, my best friend, Bari's ideas — to either make decisions for me or help me make decisions about money.”
  • “Insecurity/anxiety. I have gone back and forth between really wanting to be frugal, and really being a spendthrift. I have gone through periods of looking at my accounts every day to avoiding them for a month at a time.”
  • “I cannot emphasize enough how powerfully the belief that I *cannot* understand money has affected my relationship with it. I really have to watch out for this. I used to say, ‘I have a chip missing in my brain, where money is concerned.’ I have big problems with money ceilings because I have trouble believing that I can understand enough about money to make substantial income.”

Helpful practices + advice from fellow Sixes:

  • “Learning to look. At. My. Numbers. Facing up to the fear I always have that I'm doing it wrong and that others can do it better, that I don't understand something and can't understand it... Facing that fear every day is a personal triumph.”
  • “The belief that I *can* learn about money and grow a sense of sovereignty around it is an ongoing revelation. I am capable of learning more all the time. I am *capable* of *learning* what I don't know. I don't have always to look to other people to show me what to do--I can learn what I need, even if it's slow.”
  • “Structure helps me. When I have structure and systems that work, I adhere to them. But I have a hard time creating my own, so I’ve learned to get help with that part. I use spreadsheets my wife created for me and project management software my team suggested. I did a business model intensive that gave me structures and spreadsheets and ways of thinking that I find helpful. I love planning now!”

The Seven: “The Enthusiast” or “The Epicure”

The Seven’s attention naturally goes towards pleasure and positive possibilities. Imaginative, fast-thinking, and fun-loving, they can also be scattered, impulsive, and self-serving, as they avoid facing pain and limitation.

Gifts around money:

  • “I do a good job of manifesting money! My optimism makes it so I’m never down and out.”
  • “I’m often generous, even when I don’t have money.”
  • “We Sevens are high earners. We know how to manifest and self-promote.”

Challenges around money:

  • “I never really paid attention to where my money went. It's ridiculous how much money I burned through just to have a good time and fun. I never saved. I probably could have $20K+ in liquid if I had focused and had some order or discipline.”
  • “I overcommit. I don’t think about how much something will cost and the ramifications of that. I just spend money and think it will be OK.”
  • “Spending is a way to deal with my existential dread and anxiety. I used to just go shopping and feel better — it was like the hit of drugs.”
  • “Money is a limit, so it’s out of my awareness. Feeling limited is so painful. Once, my daughter asked for money and we couldn’t give it to her. It was horrible.”

Helpful practices + advice from fellow Sevens:

  • “If you’re going to be a spiritual warrior, you don’t get to ignore money. The universe is going to b*tch slap you with the most frightening experience. The spiritual path is really humbling, and made me realize: I wasn’t who I said I was, if I wasn’t dealing with this most basic form of survival, money. So: are you really doing your work? You can sit there in your 7-ideal-la la-land, but now, here, on the ground, can you pay your bills?”
  • “Pause. When you buy something, appreciate its beauty. Ask yourself: what does it feel like when I don’t buy this? What happens inside? Ask yourself: once it’s at home and in your cabinet and that first hit of newness is gone — will you be bored with it?”
  • “Focus on what you really want (long-term) vs what’s new and exciting right now. The trap of the 7 is immediate gratification. Embrace holy work. It will give you more satisfaction than you have ever known.”
  • “Keep at it. Remember: Money likes order and money likes process.”
  • “Embrace limits. Now, I love saying, ‘I don’t need that.’ Instead of spending, my creativity has come back: I make curtains and baskets, repaint the dresser in the basement instead of buying a new one, etc.”

Type 8: “The Challenger” or “The Protector”

The Eight’s attention naturally goes toward power, control, and fairness, so they can stay strong (and hide their vulnerability) in a tough world. Assertive, intense, and take-charge, they can also be dominating, impulsive, and excessive.

Gifts around money:

  • “As an Eight, I see myself as master of my own destiny. So as I became an adult, I always felt very in control of my money and never had any concerns about it. I always believed that if I needed money, I would find a way to get it.”
  • “People look to me for leadership, even if I don’t know what I’m doing. I somehow get put in charge and put in the authority position. Sometimes, this gets me raises.”
  • “Once I bought into the idea of creating and sticking to a budget, I was committed to it. I work with my husband every month to create our budget, and I do my best to stay within my limits. I know that my go-get-it attitude helps a lot in this area.”
  • “At work, I’ll give you all I’ve got. 110% everyday. I show up and work until I absolutely can’t. I have a ton of energy and no problem working and getting things done. That’s served me in jobs, because when things do come up, and I have to miss a day, people are more lenient with me. When I’m there, I work harder than anyone else.”
  • “When I have money, everybody has money. I’m very generous with the people I love.”

Challenges around money:

  • “After getting married, I often refused to talk about money in any concrete ways because it felt as if my partner was trying to control me by not allowing me to spend money when I saw fit. I really denied that I had a problem with managing money at all, and refused to see it as a barrier in our relationship at all.”
  • “The most difficult thing about money for me is budgeting. I was never a person who budgeted my money until 2 years ago after my partner pleaded for me to do so. It took a lot of fighting to get me to concede. I think that most of the reason that I felt held back was that I did not want to feel controlled in that (or any) aspect of my life. Consequently, budgeting has made me feel more in control of money, but I didn't think that was the case before I fully bought into it.”
  • “If I want something, there is little that I or anyone else can do to stop me from getting it. If I wanted something, I would buy it prior to committing to a budget. I wouldn't worry about whether we had the money. It wasn't out of control by any means, but I felt as if I was entitled to getting the things that I wanted. I feel that was where I saw “lust” {the drive for intensity and vitality, not necessarily sexual, associated with Type 8} come into my life.”
  • “Money feels like a game I don’t want to play.”

Helpful practices + advice from fellow Eights:

  • “If you don't take control of your relationship with money, it will take control of you.”
  • “It’s helped me to understand that being in a partnership means that you both work toward financial peace. I wanted to put all of the work on my husband because he seemed to enjoy it and was good at it, and he needed me to be an equal partner. I needed to see that it wasn't an all or nothing situation with our money. I didn't have to have all of the control or none. It could be both.”
  • “Understand that other people might have a better, fuller perspective than you do when it comes to money, and if they want to offer their help or opinion, this isn't a coup. That's just being on a team.”

Type Nine: “The Peacemaker” or “The Mediator”

The Nine’s attention goes towards everyone else’s positions, so they can keep the peace, avoid conflict, and feel comfortable and worthy. Laid-back, steady, and receptive, they can also be conflict-avoidant, self-forgetting, and stubborn.

Gifts around money:

  • “I can often come from a place of optimistic self-reliance. I don't really worry about losing my job, for instance, because I know I could go out and find another one, or work for a temp agency, or whatever. It'll work out, but it'll work out because I'll be proactive and engaged. This helps me not freak out TOO much about money, because I can see lots of different ways to solve problems and believe myself capable of doing it.”
  • “I am very generous with my time and with money. One of the gifts of my type is that I can often 'see' the struggle of the other. I can see the strengths and weaknesses. And if a gift, be it money or flowers or a massage, can bring some comfort, then I do it. Since I have retired and I am living on a fixed income, most of those gifts are gifts of time and attention.”
  • “Up until my late teens I was what most would consider ridiculously financially responsible. It was kind of a fun game for me that made me feel safe, and calm about the future.”

Challenges around money:

  • “Financial security has sometimes lulled me into not paying attention to work in the world that I needed to do or changes that I needed to make.”
  • “I’ve definitely experienced being disconnected from money, kind of drifting along assuming everything would work out without looking deeply at the real numbers or making actual, concrete plans. I once thought I was up to date on a particular bill, when it turned out I had missed one and was paying it late every single month for like a year.”
  • “One thing I struggle with is always avoiding conflict. Sometimes I have given money to one of my boys when I knew (in my gut) I was only doing it so he wouldn't think I didn't love him. Another time, a friend asked me to guarantee her student loan for graduate school and I did. I 'knew' it was a risky decision (which turned out to be true) but I wouldn't let myself even think about it because I knew she needed it. That decision has cost me thousands of dollars and hits to my credit because she has had periods of unemployment. My inability to say ‘no’ her was rooted in my type structure.”
  • “When I was 18, I was diagnosed with a chronic disease. Lab tests, procedures, and ice cream shaved away significantly more than what I’d squirreled away. Under a sudden pile of debt, and unable to work for most of a year, I began doing what most all unhealthy 9’s: I sank into my turtle shell and ignored it.”
  • “Claiming what was rightfully mine financially in a divorce was very, very difficult. I wanted to avoid conflict, and claiming my share of financial assets caused huge conflict. It was a growth experience to insist on what was mine.”

Helpful practices + advice from fellow Nines:

  • “Pay attention to your finances regularly, don't let the bills and numbers intimidate you into not checking in with your finances. Avoiding that information is disempowering.”
  • “As I've become more engaged in general, I've also become more engaged around money.”
  • “Pause and think about your money decisions especially in relation to family and friends. Notice your fears and anxiety about using money to limit conflict. Take the time to reflect before you say ‘yes’ to anything or anyone. Even though it’s really hard, ask yourself the essential questions: Is this something I want to do? Is this in my best interest? Is what I am afraid will happen real, or is it a projection?”
  • “I’ve moved from being apologetic and unwilling to charge money for my time to being able to claim the worth of my time (and thus of my self) by asking to be compensated for my work.”
  • “Reflect on your choices regarding money and think about your own needs. In the past, I was generous with everyone but myself. I am learning to think about me first in relation to money (and many other things).”
  • “Find a system that works for you to track your money and plan, but also give yourself mad money that you don't HAVE to track and justify, so there's a space in which money is easy and can be used for fun and comfort. Using YNAB has been the most helpful, because it walks the line between being engaged and having plans, but also being flexible enough to respond to things as they emerge.”

Enneagram Resources:

The Enneagram in the Narrative Tradition - This is the school I’ve studied in, and their website includes fabulous descriptions of every type, including videos of people talking about their own internal experience.

The Wisdom of the Enneagram - The classic Riso-Hudson book. Love.

The Complete Enneagram -- In addition to the 9 types, there are also 3 subtypes (for each type), which add a WHOLE 'nother layer of depth to the Enneagram. Beatrice Chestnut is doing profound work with this.

The Spiritual Dimension of the Enneagram — I started reading this many years ago and had to put it down. I wasn’t ready for it. Now that I am? It’s incredible. Beware: not for the faint of heart.

Enneagram Coaching — If you’d like to learn how to dance more artfully with your type (in money, business, love, and spiritual growth), I’m available for Enneagram typing interviews and coaching. Learn more here.

Angela Raines is obsessed with understanding. Not just the kind that comes from artfully placed words (though: swoon). The kind that does the magic of bridging worlds: yours and mine. She helps soulful entrepreneurs build these bridges to their audiences through witty, wakeful web copy. And she helps anyone with a willing heart understand themselves better through Enneagram coaching. She’s a wordsmith, ghostwriter, Enneagram practitioner, lay-ordained Zen monk, and collaborator on the award-winning The Art of Money. After far too many cross-country moves, she currently lives, writes, and tangos in St. Louis with her two outrageously adorable kittens. Learn more about her Enneagram typing and coaching here.

You might also like: