Last week, my friend, Tess, sent me an email asking me to describe her in six words. In her email was a link to a website, where I was presented with a list of dozens of adjectives – some positive, some negative – from which I could select. All these words got me thinking about our personal attributes when it comes to money, and which financial word would best describe me.

I started by coming up with a list of financial words, including:

  • impulsive
  • begrudging
  • patient
  • stubborn
  • cheap
  • frugal
  • spendthrift
  • intelligent
  • honest
  • insightful
  • stupid
  • dependable
  • trustworthy
  • professional
  • educated
  • diligent
  • lazy
  • wealthy
  • poor
  • sensible
  • practical
  • responsible
  • bankrupt
  • debt-ridden
  • goal-oriented
  • short-sighted
  • emotional
  • generous
  • scrooge

I’m sure there are far more than 29 financial words out there, but these are the adjectives that first came to mind. I decided to narrow down the personal attributes that best described me to five; then, I’d select the best describing word from this group:

  • Stubborn: I’ve lost money in investments before, largely because I tend to hold on to things for too long… not because I’m patient, but because I’m simply too stubborn to cut my losses, admit it was a poor investment, and move on.
  • Frugal: Unlike the financial word “cheap,” I see far more positivity with this word. I think it suggests someone who works to keep costs low, but does it with insight and forethought, instead of pure miserliness.
  • Emotional: Separate from being impulsive, sometimes I make decisions based on my emotions – like deciding to buy something I don’t need when I’m feeling blue – instead of practicality.
  • Goal-oriented: When I set goal, I’ll work hard to get there, whether it’s saving for a new house or a nice dinner with my husband.
  • Educated: While my money IQ isn’t naturally all that high, I’m more than willing to educate myself about any topic or idea, which I’ll mull over before making an educated decision.

Of all these financial words, two of them really stand out when it comes to describing my money motto: frugal and goal-oriented. And I think they’re inextricably tied together. Part of what allows me to be so goal-oriented is my frugality; the money I save from my frugal ways goes directly to funding my goals.

Reader, which financial word or words best describe you? Why?