What would you say are your greatest strengths? Weaknesses?
Think back on the last few job interviews you had for a moment. How many of them included these generic, broad questions? They’ve been handed down through generations of well-meaning hiring managers, but because they don’t relate to specific requirements for the job (other than if the job requires narcissism or self-deprecation) and they’re not tied to a specific aspect of a job (i.e., strength for what?), they are a bit meaningless other than to get you talking and warm you up to (hopefully) better, more job-related questions.
There is some value, though, if you’re attaching these questions to a specific job. Let’s rephrase our question above for the sake of self-exploration:
When it comes to managing your finances, what are your greatest strengths? Weaknesses?
There. Asking this question specifically related to the context of financial management allows us to think about this question in light of something near and dear to us.
How would you answer questions about your money-related strengths and weaknesses?
Let’s first consider a few of the factors that have been proven to relate to effective wealth-building. Here are a few examples of what you might consider when contemplating strengths and weaknesses:
- Goal Setting & Planning – To succeed in meeting any goal, that goal must be well defined and have a clear plan to completion. Successful, self-made individuals are able to set and meet goals consistently. Knowing what you’ll do in advance of a down market, for example, is critical.
- Discipline – Are you really good at sticking to a budget? How about ignoring what others around you are driving, buying, and wearing? Being disciplined when following a financial plan is critical to building wealth.
- Being a Financial Leader – Maybe you’re confident in making financial decisions. Perhaps you are one of those types of household CFOs who owns those decisions, and takes responsibility for your own financial outcomes. This strength will help you recognize how your own behaviors are impacting your ability to build wealth. Likewise, being a financial leader in your household also requires outsourcing to professionals (e.g., financial advisors, CPAs) when necessary, and making sound decisions about who you will involve in these matters.
You may be strong in each of these areas; or perhaps you need help with all of them. Either way, having an objective and accurate understanding of your strengths and weaknesses in the area of wealth creation can allow you to set and meet goals that can lead to financial success. We know from our research that the more an individual exhibits these patterns of behaviors the more likely he/she is to have a higher net worth, regardless of income level or age. Our research shows these characteristics prominently exhibited over and over as the linchpins to building wealth.
Awareness of our strengths and weaknesses allows us to capitalize on what we do well, and build on what we need help with (whether through self-improvement or outsourcing financial tasks). Good leaders, whether in a Fortune 100 organization or in our households, are open to feedback and development to help drive improvement.
Maybe a prerequisite for fostering wealth-building characteristics is being open to learning where we might fall short.