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How Openness Personality Affects Financial Planning and Investment Decision Making

As originally published by Forbes; Oct., 2018

By: Marguerita Cheng
Tel: 301-502-5306
Email Ms. Cheng


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Financial planners begin their initial client meetings with a discussion of money goals, attitudes, and risk tolerance. Why? Well, it's because all investors are not created equally. Open individuals crave adrenaline-spiking adventures, always looking for thrilling activities. Most of the time, they are curious about information and knowledge about financial planning and investment decisions. These individuals enjoy researching and finding out about finance topics of interest.

Five Characteristics of Open People That Influence Financial Planning and Investment Decisions

1. Imaginative

Openness to experience is linked to creativity and imagination. These are people who can derive valuable investment ideas from using their imagination. Some may be inspired by specific skills, knowledge, objectives, issues, or anything that will trigger an idea. Their imaginative and creative ability is also associated with scientific and artistic professionals. Investors who invent technological products and services are also likely to be open people.

2. Adventurous

Open investors explore new ideas and interests. Adventurous people are inclined to make financial planning and investment decisions that involve new experiences. Open investors with an adventurous spirit will choose ideas or ventures that align with their interests.

3. Knowledgeable

Openness involves curiosity and the need to know, an aspect that can influence financial and investment decisions. Open investors have a quest for knowledge. They will thoroughly research until they obtain sufficient information. Open people are inquisitive because they want to know as much as they can. Open people are intelligent and informed because they enjoy learning about new investment opportunities. Investors who are open to learning are successful in their endeavors and work. Such individuals like planning for their future and work well with their financial planners.

4. Social

Open investors are not only interested in people with commonalities, but they are also fascinated with life beyond the daily grind. Such individuals easily adapt to new environments and choose unique investment ideas. They adapt to change and consider it an opportunity to learn about new investments. Investors with openness thrive in investing in multinational corporations that expand to new territories and have new experiences beyond our borders.

5. Positive Emotions

Open individuals have stable emotions because they are flexible and ready for any financial eventualities. Positivity in the investment world makes open people agile in their work and social activities. Open people also have positive relationships with their financial planners. Openness to experience is closely related to happiness, self-satisfaction, and a positive attitude. These positive emotions are critical in making investment decisions and implementing their financial plans. Their attentiveness to financial details also supports positive emotions and inner feelings. They are sensitive to financial and investment challenges and expressive when they need to be.

Two Strengths of Investors with the Openness Trait

1. Flexibility

Unforeseen financial circumstances characterize the modern business life. Open investors deal with these events because of their attitude. They enjoy an unpredictable life that has new financial adventures and encounters. If they encounter a period without an investment opportunity, they create one. The change is a learning experience, and they enjoy the associated risks and opportunities. Open entrepreneurs also appreciate financially challenging tasks associated with new things.

2. High Quality of Life

Open individuals expose themselves to many experiences such as knowledge, entrepreneurial encounters, business ideas, thoughts, and feelings. Monotony and daily routines are deal breakers for open investors. Their sociable nature creates excellent and healthy business and investor relationships with others, despite their differing beliefs or mindset. Investors with this trait are inclined to venture and add value to other investors and business partners.

Two Weaknesses of Investors with the Openness Trait

1. Impulsivity

Open people are prone to take action against a financial crisis or make investment decisions without critical consideration. Investors influenced by impulsive decisions may end up investing in high-risk ventures and incur losses. Open people are also likely to make impulse purchases, which could affect their financial plans. Impulsivity may also cause instability if it is not managed.

2. Prone to Disorders

According to financial research and studies, the openness-to-experience personality is linked to certain personality conditions: impulsivity, cognitive distortion, excessive fantasizing, unstable goals, peculiar thinking, and diffuse identity are some of the possible disorders likely to affect open people. Their imaginative and creative thinking may go beyond the ordinary. An investor who spends too much time fantasizing will be distracted by other stocks or new investments. The unstable or unrealistic goals of open individuals could lead to financial setbacks.

Because of their inherent risk-taking nature, open investors have more opportunities for success than conservative individuals. However, they must learn to curb their impulses and apply more discipline to their financial decisions to realize their desired outcome.


Marguerita M. Cheng, CFP®, CRPC®, RICP®, Chief Executive Officer at Blue Ocean Global Wealth, is a Certified Financial Planning Expert with 18 years of experience. Prior to co-founding Blue Ocean Global Wealth, she was a Financial Advisor at Ameriprise Financial and an Analyst and Editor at Towa Securities in Tokyo, Japan. Ms. Cheng serves as a Women's Initiative (WIN) Advocate and subject matter expert for CFP Board, contributing to the development of examination questions for the CFP® Certification Examination. In 2017, she was named the #3 Most Influential Financial Advisor in the Investopedia Top 100, a Woman to Watch by InvestmentNews, and a Top 100 Minority Business Enterprise (MBE®) by the Capital Region Minority Supplier Development Council (CRMSDC).

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