My favorite subject is getting and keeping people happily married. I have found that Enneagram personality type is an important determinant of people’s approach to money. Personality differences about money can cause chronic anxiety and frustration and even lead to dissolution of the marriage.
Example 1 . Enneagram 5’s are programmed to believe that there is not enough energy, money, resources, etc. They tend to collect things and hoard their money. 5’s long for someone to take care of them and provide security by making money.
Enneagram 8’s love to work and believe that you make money by working hard. They long for the day they wouldn’t have to work so hard.
Fred is an Enneagram 5 financial success. Sally is an Enneagram 8 with a viable but stressful business. When they first started dating, Fred generously suggested that Sally rid herself of problematic customers and he would support her financially. Ironically, Sally thought she had just met her hero. She gave up most of her business and became a part-time housewife (while doing her business part time since she could not bring herself to completely stop working). Within a few months, Fred was raging at Sally calling her lazy and childish. He did not need to be taken care of by a housewife. He wanted her to take care of him by making money. Fred claimed he would never marry her till she did! With the help of HBLU SM, Sally learned she could simultaneously have a successful business and a successful relationship. Fred acknowledged his personality structure. Sally rebuilt her business. Fred stopped raging. They got married.
Example 2 . Enneagram 7’s believe that they can make money by making their big dreams and visions come true. They prefer to occupy their minds with ideas about how to make lots of money without being slaves to the 9-5 establishment. They imagine they can have freedom to stop working whenever they want and play through life. I’ve seen several Enneagram 7’s turn to financial gambling either as stock market investors or venture capitalists resulting in financial ruin and death of relationships.
George, an Enneagram 7, married Sue, an Enneagram 5. George and Sue agreed that they would like to share their life together traveling and having adventures. George decided to make money as a day trader on the stock market so that he could work only when and as many hours as he desired. Sue agreed not to work. George found himself working in front of the computer every day…all day… and doing research in the evenings. Sue accused him of “gambling away her money” and became hostile and anxious. George was successful at day trading and refused to give it up. He tried to assuage her anxiety by inviting her to participate in the research and investment decision – making process. HBLU SM helped them realize they could not reconcile their value systems. Sue gave up trying to change George’s dream and they parted ways.
Example 3. Enneagram 9’s are very generous because they want everyone to love and accept them. When they have money, they feel compelled to give it away.
Sam, an Enneagram 9 married Andrea, an Enneagram 8. They were both hard workers and made equal amounts of money. Andrea was hoping that she could make enough money so that she wouldn’t have to work so hard and could afford to take more vacations (meaning travel to exotic locations around the globe where she could have adventures.) Sam gave money and gifts to charities and people without consulting Andrea. Andrea got furious when she discovered that Sam had “given away her hard-earned money.” Sam, of course, felt that spending money on vacations was a waste. After exploring their Enneagram types with HBLU SM , they agreed not to make donations or gifts over $25 without consulting each other, and to limit themselves to one adventure vacation/year.
Our Enneagram type accounts for much of how we perceive, understand, and value money. To build a healthy relationship, I recommend that everyone discover their and their partner’s Enneatype (there are many books on the topic). Understanding each other’s approach to money will enable you to make healthy financial agreements through all the years of your partnership.
Copyright 2005 Judith A. Swack, Ph.D.
October 2005 Judith A. Swack and Associates, Inc. Newsletter