I have been a financial planner, broker & advisor for so many years—almost too many to count! I have also been fascinated with Ayurveda since I first read Quantum Healing by Deepak Chopra in 1989. Now, combining these two bodies of knowledge allows for some really interesting analysis from my years of observing clients and their attitude toward money.
You see, Ayurveda classifies people’s mind/body constitutions into three main types, or doshas. They are actually resulting from combinations of the five elements of the material world, as this science sees it. For this short article’s purpose, we will use a simplification into the three-main mind/body types and call them Air, Fire, and Earth.
Here is the description of the three types along with their responses to money and investing:
Air– Changeable, creative, lively, artistic, quick moving, expressive with a tendency toward worry and anxiety when they are stressed, (For example, while watching the volatility of the stock market.). An Air type may be impulsive and enjoy spending money, often to their own detriment. Once they entertain thoughts of the market going south, or the possibility of flaws in their investment plan, they will get anxious and think they’ve made a mistake. They may even lay awake worrying about it.
If this sounds like you, do things to create a calmer life. To reassure yourself, create a plan that includes less volatility, stay prudent, and find someone to coach you so when the markets get scary, they help you stick you your plan. The challenge here is to keep yourself from making rash decisions, foiling your long-term goals.
At your worst, you may impulsively jump in and out of the market or withdraw money for an imprudent purchase.
But, at your best, you appreciate the philosophy and creativity of a solid, wealth building strategy, along with the security of it. You are extraordinary in the creativity department, so devise the terminology and schematic for your financial plan.
Stay away from topics that cause you to worry or obsess about your investments. Go outside and take a walk.
Fire– High intellect, loves having control, ambitious, likes luxury and the finer things in life, often leadership qualities, can get irritable and angry when things go wrong. Mostly good savers until their competitive nature and desire for looking successful causes them to choose big dollar items not always good for their overall financial plan.
Once this group understands the portfolio allocations and their options, they rapidly pick one with an objective they like. They are usually good to go until a buddy brags to them about the new, greatest mutual fund, stock or scheme, which can get under their skin and drive them back in the office to see what is wrong with their portfolio! Patience isn’t such a virtue for this group either.
So, if this sounds like you, it is knowledge that soothes you back into financial health. Do everything you can to keep yourself focused on your plan, regardless of what anyone else is doing, or saying! You completely understand the reasons to stick with it, and keep your vision of success in mind. What will work best for you is giving yourself occasional rewards, turning off economic or financial shows that cause you to become doubtful or irritated, (because you can’t control the markets) and find things that sooth you. Take up yoga.
Earth- These warm kind-hearted souls are ever patient, giving, and understanding. They can save like nobody’s business. Once they decide on a plan, they are loyal to it. They have a tendency to procrastinate, so the first hurdle is making a decision. Once they do they are good to go. The downside of being this type, however, is hanging onto things too long, and that goes for their money too. They may have too much building up at the bank; it’s comfortable, but their money isn’t working for them. This is a type of stagnation. If they receive a recommendation to change assets that are in a poor investment, develop their estate plan, or add beneficiaries, it is easier for an Earth type to push it down the road. At worst, when things go wrong, they get depressed, which causes even greater withdrawal from needed actions. So, if this sounds like you, find ways to get yourself stimulated to take action and tackle these tasks so that you are financially healthy and secure. Find ways to uplift and encourage yourself. You ultimately have more endurance than the other types, so once you do decide on a path, your amassing of a rich life is on the way. No one can stop you once you build momentum. And it is important for Earth types to physically move, so get out and run!
No one is solely one of these types. But we all can recognize dominate attributes of one or two in ourselves. Part of an advisor’s job is to help you devise your goals and strategy and coach you to stick to it when you get in your own way!