Each of us has our own unique set of money values and beliefs that we inherited from the people around us and the things that we experienced as we grew up. Here at Flourish, we refer to this history of financial influences as your “money story.” We have seen again and again how it defines how you relate to money, and it significantly impacts your financial habits – often in ways that you may not be aware of.
Having a better understanding of your money values and your money story can allow you to identify what may be hindering you from reaching your financial goals, while also providing you the opportunity to begin using your pre-existing money beliefs to your advantage.
Here are some tips on how to make your money story work for you.
Set goals that are properly aligned with your money values
It’s easy to mismanage finances if you’re not actively working towards something. Setting goals for yourself, both short- and long-term, and putting a financial plan into place to reach those goals can help ensure that you’re staying on track and being smart with your money.
Take some time to do a values check by writing down your top 20-30 values and then deliberately refining that list to around five key values that you want to honor in your decision-making. It’s rare that we’re ever forced to really sit down and think about the things that we value, so be sure to give yourself time to really reflect on what matters most to you. Instead of simply looking at retirement through a dollars-and-cents perspective, ask yourself what you want to fill your time in retirement with? Who do you want near you? What will make you feel fulfilled? Then, work backwards from there in terms of how much you’ll need to have saved to support the kind of lifestyle that reflects your core money values.
SEE ALSO: How to Discover Your Money Story
Don’t shy away from money conversations
Your money story is unique to you, so chances are your attitudes and values regarding money are going to be different than those of your spouse or partner, your parents, or even your best friend. Having open and honest conversations with your loved ones about what you’re prioritizing and how your money plays into that is a crucial step toward familial financial planning. It can be difficult to begin broaching topics surrounding finances, especially since our society still considers money to be a taboo subject, but they’re important conversations to have. (This is especially true for couples.)
Take plenty of time to prepare for a money conversation. It’s not something you want to spring on someone without notice. Be sure to enter the conversation with the intention to listen to one another with an open mind and offer each other mutual respect. It’s okay if you don’t see eye to eye on everything – you most likely won’t. What’s important is being honest and clear with one another about your expectations and money values so that you can work together to come up with a plan that supports your shared values and goals.
Invest in your own happiness to strengthen your finances
While we can’t rely on money to buy happiness, that’s not to say that we should shy away from treating ourselves to things that make us happy from time to time. Sure, you want to prioritize being smart and frugal with your funds, but taking some time here and there to practice a more indulgent form of self-care can support your overall well-being. Whether that’s going to your favorite restaurant once a month for a nice dinner or planning a short vacation each year, working these kinds of special purchases into your budget is a great way to reward yourself for how hard you’re working toward your goals.
Do you understand your money values?
Too many people neglect to consider how their core values impact their financial habits, goals, and plans. Once you give voice to your money story and determine your money values, you can more easily integrate them into your financial plan and decision-making. You may even find that you need to make changes to the way you’ve been managing your finances so that your decisions are more in line with your values. Perhaps you find that you want your money to work harder, not just for you, but for those around you as well. Is there a way that you can work toward accomplishing your goals while also supporting causes that are important to you? The key is to be intentional in your decisions, referring to your values whenever financial decisions arise to ensure that you’re acting in your best interest for the future you desire.
Identifying your values can be an incredibly personal process, as can managing your money. However, having a financial advisor you trust means professional guidance in creating a financial plan that properly supports the values you want to embrace. At Flourish Wealth Management, our team is committed to values-based financial planning because we understand that knowing your values is key to financial – and life – success. If you’d like to begin a conversation with one of our professionals about how you can infuse your values into your financial plan, contact us today.