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SM Money : Hey big spender! What do your bank statements say about you?

Byline: NICK SOMMERLAD

STEER clear of astrologers, throw away the tarot cards and wave goodbye to your palm-reader.

That is the findings of a study conducted by UK bank the Woolwich.

They called on a leading psychologist, Dr Richard Wiseman from the University of Hertfordshire, to examine the complex clues about lifestyle that a bank customer can leave.

He examined statements from volunteers, analysing the location and frequency of financial transactions and the method of payment used. He concluded there are three types of people; hedonistic grazers, material martyrs and steady builders.

Almost daily cash machine withdrawals indicate an impulsive type, unlikely to plans for the future.

Such characters, like the fictional Bridget Jones or Tony in Men Behaving Badly, would be described by Freudian psychologists as 'oral'.

They shop for food as and when it fits in with their lifestyle and are far more likely to grab a ready meal from the 24-hour shop than plan ahead and do a big weekly grocery shop at the supermarket.

Their bank statements reveal frequent withdrawals of small amounts of cash and several small debit card payments for grocery shopping spread throughout the month.

Dr Wiseman said such people are instant pleasure-seekers who dont like to postpone fun and extravagance any longer than is absolutely necessary.

Uncomfortable in their own company, they prefer to socialise with a wide circle of friends in pubs and bars and make large numbers of debit card payments to pubs, hotels, cinemas and restaurants.

Often young and single, possibly recently divorced, they are likely to be overdrawn towards the end of month, rarely pay bills via direct debit and have no mortgage.

Uninterested in surrounding themselves with home comforts, they rarely buy items for the home or do DIY.

So-called material martyrs, on the other hand, are more interested in domestic pleasures.

Like Monica from Friends, or Frasier, they are control-freaks, valuing security and with a strong need to plan ahead.

They are examples of the classic Freudian 'anal' character type or control freaks.

They withdraw enough money from the cash machine to last them for several days and do not like to take out more sooner than expected. They are likely to remain in credit throughout the month.

They tend to plan menus a whole week before they go shopping, stockpiling the freezer.

Bills are paid on time and bank statements and receipts are meticulously filed away.

The statements reveal one or two large supermarket spends monthly, bills paid via direct debits and frequent payments by cheque, possibly as this is a more concrete record of the transaction.

Introverted and home-loving, they take pleasure in depriving themselves of little indulgences and feel guilty about spontaneous extravagance.

They enjoy time alone using the Internet or watching TV or in the company of a close friends.

They are willing to "go without" in order to save.

Saving also comes naturally to the third type - the steady builder.

Such characters are the most settled of the three types and, like Bill Cosby's character in The Cosby Show or Robert Lindsay's character in My Family, are often homeowners with children.

They fit the Freudian profile of 'adults', Dr Wiseman claims.

They tend to shop in very traditional high-street stores, though some are ardent viewers of the home shopping channels.

Along with the mortgage payments, their bank statements show high numbers of debit card payments to cable TV, the Internet, and DIY stores.

Preferring to spend time in the company of friends and family, payments to pubs, restaurants and cinemas are rare.

With many mouths to feed they make one or two large monthly supermarket shops.

Despite a strong sense of responsibility they enjoy moments of "sensible" self-indulgence and extravagance - after some debate.

They also keep an eye on the future, when theyll be able to enjoy the fruits of financial planning.

In the meantime, despite a high number of direct debits and standing orders to financial institutions,, they are likely to remain in credit at the end of the month.

Dr Wiseman said: "Previous studies have made me sceptical about some of the traditional methods of personality analysis.

"Bank statement reading is a far more accurate approach."

CHAOTIC CARELESS WITH THEIR CASH

Daily cash machine withdrawals indicate an impulsive type, unlikely to plan for the future. Such characters, like Bridget Jones, played by Rene Zellwegger or Tony in Men Behaving Badly, are 'oral' say Freudian psychologists.They shop for food as and when it fits in with their lifestyle and are far more likely to grab a ready meal from the 24-hour shop than plan ahead and do a big weekly grocery shop at the supermarket. Often young and single they are likely to be overdrawn towards the end of the month.

MISER MARTYRS MINDING THEIR MONEY

So-called material martyrs are more interested in domestic pleasures. Like Monica from Friends, or Frasier, they are control-freaks - Freudian 'anal' types - valuing security and with a strong need to plan ahead.They withdraw enough money from the cash machine to last them for several days. Likely to remain in credit throughout the month. They tend to plan menus a whole week before they go shopping, stockpiling the freezer. Bills are paid on time and bank statements and receipts are meticulously filed.
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Sunday Mirror (London, England)
Date:Nov 26, 2000
Words:878
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