Money Personalities – The Flyer (aka the Ostrich, the White Knighter, the Avoider)

This money personality is very common. These individuals are often paired with a financial professional or a partner that is a Good Provider or a Saver. That way they can attend to the matters in their life that they enjoy- and money is not a topic they enjoy! Looking at general characteristics, we see the following:

General Characteristics of a Flyer/ Avoider/ Ostrich/ White Knighter:
  • Happy to let someone else take care of the finances
  • Not motivated by money, basically content with life
  • Typically do not budget, don’t know how much they owe, how much is spent or how to keep financial records. Oddly enough, most are not in debt, usually pay the bills and have a partner or relative who is a financial backup.
  • Deeply held belief that they will always survive, even if it is hard for them to deal with money on a day to day basis
  • The idea of working with a financial planner is onerous
  • It usually takes a crisis to make a Flyer pay attention to their money (such as divorce, death, etc.)
  • Positive outlook – deeply held belief they will always survive
  • Possibly embarrassed about how little they know about money and often change the subject when the topic comes up
  • Extreme variation of an Ostrich is the White Knighter – who believes that a winning lottery, an inheritance, marring rich or finding money in some miraculous manner will save them
Strengths of a Flyer/ Avoider/ Ostrich/ White Knighter:
  • Usually not consumed or driven about money – often includes artists, intellectuals or people more interested in accomplishment or spiritual matters
  • Focus first on creativity, productivity, responsibility to others and developing good relationships
  • When they put your minds to changing how they manage money, they will persist until they reach the goal
  • Often holding and developing strong relationships
  • Most are not in debt, usually pay the bills
  • Often have a partner or relative who is the financial backup
  • Once they are committed they learn financial aspects easily and can commit to systems they believe in (if the systems are easy, simple, not time-consuming and are seen to be of value)
Challenges of a Flyer/ Avoider/ Ostrich/White Knighter:
  • Reactionary – Flyers do not think about money, but money is a part of life – sooner or later they have to pay attention to their bills or looming retirement. It usually takes a crisis to have this happen – a baby, illness, death, job loss or divorce. When they have this crisis they tend to make decisions based on fear, not good advice.
  • Lacking in skills needed to solve financial problems – a common strategy is to ignore the problem and hope it will go away. Big foothold for financial infidelity!
  • Disorganized – no filing systems, losing receipts, forms, tax returns etc. which can cause losses to the family in later filings, inaccurate filings and financial infidelity
  • Irresponsible – they don’t actively participate in their financial lives so they leave themselves open to the control of their partners – allowing themselves to be controlled is as much a part of financial infidelity as doing the controlling
  • The pattern is keeping their heads in the sand until all hell breaks loose. Ignoring money problems does not make the problems disappear, and they don’t solve themselves without intervention (ownership).
  • Some Ostriches are too trusting, handing over their money to someone who is not trustworthy, and so leave themselves to the risk of being cheated
  • White Knighters can grow old wondering why other have all the luck and feel they are never singled out for good fortune (such as winning the lottery, inheritance, marrying rich)

As a financial planner working with money personalities I find working with Flyers very satisfying. As noted above, Flyers do not start liking working with money but if they see value, if the process is simple and we can build trust in our client/advisor relationship; there is much less stress for the Flyer going forward.