Got money troubles? Maybe astrology is to blame

If astrology can help us make sense of our relationships, careers and life goals, can it help us understand our personal finances?

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Hanna Horvath, CFP®Managing Editor & Certified Financial Planner™Hanna Horvath, CFP®, is a certified financial planner and former managing editor at Policygenius. Her work has also been featured in NBC News, Business Insider, Inc. Magazine, CNBC, Best Company, and HerMoney.

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Mara Ruocco has been obsessed with astrology for as long as she can remember. Her mother bought her astrology books when she was a child and she pored through them, hoping to learn more about this mystical philosophy, and maybe something about herself. 

“I love the idea that we’re connected to the stars,” the 26-year-old real estate agent said. “I don’t think if it’s scientific, really, but we can all agree that the moon affects the tides and gravity is an invisible energy tying us to the earth, so astrology can’t be that far off.” 

Ruocco is right —  several studies agree that astrology has no scientific basis. So why do people still tune in? Nearly one-third of all U.S. adults believe in astrology, according to a 2018 Pew Research Study. It’s become a daily obsession for some. Horoscope apps, like Co-Star and AstrologyZone, have exploded in popularity, growing revenues by 64% to $40 million in 2019. Some astrologers have reached celebrity status through social media

Millions of people have turned to astrology since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. Increased fears and uncertainties about the future have many seeking answers through astrology, said Susan Miller, astrologer and founder of Astrology Zone, a horoscope website attracting 11 million readers annually. 

“People just want to feel grounded, to figure out everything going on around them,” said Miller.  “And my job is to help them to help them make sense of it all.” 

If astrology can help us make sense of our relationships, careers and life goals, can it help us understand our personal finances? 

Astrology vs. your money

Astrology studies the influence the stars and planets have on our lives. Twelve zodiac signs represent different periods of the year. Your zodiac sign and horoscope determine things like how you perform at work, how you act in relationships and even how you handle money, said Rachel Gordon, an astrologer and author. 

“Every sign approaches money differently and they all have challenges and strong suits when it comes to money,” she said. “For example, Aries is great with knowing when to take a financial risk. Scorpio excels in financial negotiations and Aquarius wants to amass wealth so that it can be divested to where people need it most.” 

Ruocco’s a Virgo, which means she was born between Aug. 23 and Sept. 22. According to Miller, Virgos are known to be “extremely practical” and “thrifty” with money. Ruocco isn’t sure how accurate that is. 

“My sign definitely doesn't dictate my financial situation,” Ruocoo said. “Are Virgos supposed to be frugal? Because I’m not.” 

Your sign determines how you make decisions, like what you want to eat for lunch to who you’re attracted to, said Nicholas Campion, associate professor in cosmology and culture at the University of Wales Trinity Saint David. It can also influence your money choices. 

Some investors see a stock price ticking up and buy. Others look to the stars to decide what to do with their money. Gordon said astrology helps identify overall market behavior, pointing to market upswings and downturns before they happen.

“There are many market analysts, hedge funds, CEOs and even realtors that consult the planetary patterns and speak to astrologers,” she said.

Here’s how well you handle money, according to your sign 

We asked Miller to walk us through how each sign typically approaches money. Here’s what she said: 

  • Aquarius (Jan. 20 - Feb. 18): Aquarians are known to be altruistic and donate their money. They are less likely to invest their money in the stock market and more likely to put it toward alternative investments. 

  • Pisces (Feb. 19 - March 20): Pisces put all their money toward creative endeavors, like artistic hobbies. They have an “out of sight, out of mind approach” to money management and rarely budget, said Miller. 

  • Aries (March 21 - April 19): This is a typically competitive zodiac sign, and Aries often try to build wealth as quickly as possible, opting for a get-rich-quick scheme over long-term growth. 

  • Taurus (April 20 - May 20): Taurus is often an overspender and “really loves the finer things in life,” said Miller. They may struggle with budgeting and living beyond their means. 

  • Gemini (May 21 - June 20): This sign has a strong money outlook and loves learning about finances, frequently monitoring the business news for their next investment. They’re most likely to have a financial adviser.

  • Cancer (June 21 - July 22): Cancer signs are fairly thrifty, and are known to go the extra mile to get a good deal on something. 

  • Leo (July 23 - Aug. 22): Leos sometimes spend impulsively, but are known to also set bold, ambitious money goals and will stick with their plan until they accomplish it. 

  • Virgo (Aug. 23 - Sept. 22): Virgos tend to be responsible with money and are diligent budgeters. They make level-headed investment decisions and are fairly risk-averse. 

  • Libra (Sept. 23 - Oct. 22): Libras are indecisive, which can make it hard for them to commit to a big money purchase or investment. They would benefit the most from a financial adviser to make the decisions for them. 

  • Scorpio (Oct. 22 - Nov. 21): Scorpios are known for their street and money smarts. They can make a money decision without hesitation, and regularly follow business news to find new financial trends. 

  • Sagittarius (Nov. 22 - Dec. 21): Sagittarians are goal-driven and enjoy putting their money towards self-improvement goals, like education. They are also charitable and enjoy donating. 

  • Capricorn (Dec. 22 - Jan. 19): Capricorns are rule followers and are responsible when it comes to money. They have a long-term investment outlook and don’t take crazy money risks. 

What astrology actually tells you  

Remember, astrology isn’t based in science. But, it may help you understand your behavior, which allows you to make more informed decisions with your money. Even a spendthrift sign  — looking at you, Taurus — can be frugal. In fact, the biggest hurdle to saving money may not be the month you were born, but cognitive biases like present bias or limited memory. And while you can change your birthday, you can work to overcome certain biases (we explain how here).

Campion explains that while astrology won’t determine your future, it may help you make sense of yourself and how you deal with complex issues like your personal finances. Understanding your behavior can help you make better investment moves and determine the right time to make a financial decision, like buying a house or changing jobs. 

For example, I'm a Scorpio, which means I'm known to make rapid (sometimes impulsive) money decisions. This is only somewhat accurate, but staying cognizant of some my financial biases can help me curb impulse purchases and think through larger financial decisions. Reading my horoscope regularly, whether I agree with it or not, helps clarify my intentions before I make a decision.

Ruocco agrees. 

“I don’t allow my horoscope to make decisions for me but sometimes it helps me make sense of things I feel or struggle with,” said Ruocco. “I’m able to self-reflect and understand why I’m making the financial decisions and how to course-correct.