March 13, 2024

Finding Your Financial Resolution Success Strategy with The Four Tendencies

By Kaitlin Nicholis, Certified Financial Planner (CFP®)

Finding Your Financial Resolution Success Strategy with The Four Tendencies

As the end of the first quarter approaches, let us revisit and recommit to our New Year’s Resolutions. Resolutions usually involve forming a new habit – be it to improve your health, sleep, finances, etc. – which is challenging. According to a recent Forbes poll, “the average resolution lasts just 3.74 months.1” To set yourself up for success, you may first need to get to know yourself better. In other words, a strategy that works for one person, such as a daily calendar appointment, may not work for another. Once you find the strategy or strategies that work best for you, you will have a far easier time sticking with your new habit.

With that in mind, our team at Marcum Wealth recently took The Four Tendencies Quiz2 designed by Gretchen Rubin, author of the New York Times Bestseller “Better Than Before” and “The Four Tendencies.” The Four Tendencies is a personality framework that helps determine your tendency to meet or resist expectations, both expectations you have of yourself and that others have of you. Once you know your tendency, you will have a better idea of what strategy to implement to help you stay on track.

What are the Four Tendencies?

  • Upholder – Meets Outer Expectations and Meets Inner Expectations
  • Obliger – Meets Outer Expectations and Resists Inner Expectations
  • Questioner – Resists Outer Expectations and Meets Inner Expectations
  • Rebel – Resists Outer Expectations and Resists Inner Expectations

In other words, Upholders can do what is asked of them and what they ask of themselves, and both types of expectations hold equal importance. Obligers readily do what others ask of them but have difficulty doing things for themselves. Questioners easily do things they deem important but find it challenging to do something for someone else’s reasons alone. Rebels tend to resist any expectation and prefer freedom of choice.

When forming new habits, Upholders need rules, Obligers need accountability, Questioners need justification, and Rebels need freedom. To put this into context, let us assume that the new habit you are trying to form is to save $100 per week. If you are an Upholder, you might schedule a time on your calendar every Friday at 1 PM to transfer $100 from your checking account to your savings account. If you are an Obliger, you might involve a friend or family member to check in with you once a month or to save along with you. If you are a Questioner, you might set a specific goal that is important to you to justify why you are saving, such as buying a new car or going on a nice vacation. And if you are a Rebel, you might decide to save an unspecified amount on a random day every week when you feel like you want to, giving yourself the freedom to choose.

Good habits play a role in promoting your happiness and reducing stress. Good habits are also crucial when reaching your financial goals, especially regarding saving and spending. When you know your tendency toward inner and outer expectations, you can use that information to help you retain your good habits all year long. Take the quiz and let us know your tendency. Your Marcum Wealth advisor is here to help you establish rules; if you are an Upholder, hold you accountable; if you are an Obliger, provide you with information and research; if you are a Questioner, or home in on your values and allow you the freedom to choose your path, if you are a Rebel. In short, we are here to help you reach your financial goals in the best way that works for you.

1New Year’s Resolutions Statistics 2024, Forbes Health.
2The Four Tendencies Quiz

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