Where Is It Going?
“Don’t tell me what you value, show me your budget, and I’ll tell you what you value.” — Joe Biden –
A friend of mine was surprised by how much she spent last month eating out. When I asked her if that was different from any other month, she replied that it was not. She was merely surprised by how much of her paycheck went towards eating out.
She felt disappointed with herself because she wanted to pay off her mortgage as quickly as possible. With an annual income of $200K, she certainly had the means to do so. But she had never set a budget before, never thinking she needed to because she had a good income.
What Are Your Core Values?
I asked her if she was aware of what her core values were? She believed she was. And was she managing her money in alignment with those values?. Most of us rarely manage our finances with awareness and intentionality. We work, get paid a salary, and spend our money. Some of us save a portion of it for retirement.
But how often do we manage our finances in alignment with our core values? In the case of my friend, while she appeared to value being debt-free, she spent her money on eating out with friends more than she would have wanted to.
Throughout our lives, we will face many competing priorities. Do you pay down the mortgage or add to your retirement savings? Get into debt to pay for a family vacation? Take on a second job to pay for your children’s violin lessons instead of spending more time with the family?
Pulled in different directions, we feel stressed by our finances. Much of this is a result of being out of alignment — we claim we value certain things but the reality of our lives does not reflect those values.
So, how do you manage your money in alignment with your top core values? And do you know what those values are? Complete a Values Assessment such as the one attached here. Identify your top 5 core values.
Look At Your Credit Card Statements.
Complete a cash flow worksheet. Analyze this or the last 6 months’ credit card or bank statements, what percentage of your income is going to the following areas?
- · Debt repayment (loans, credit cards)
- · Luxury items (expensive clothes, latest technology, ‘toys’)
- · Health & Fitness (gym membership, health supplements)
- · Hobbies & interests (club memberships, music & film, specialized magazines, events)
- · Socializing (eating and drinking out)
- · Travel and holidays (weekend trips, overseas travel)
- · Personal development (books, courses, coaching)
- · Savings & investments (stocks, shares, property, savings)
- · Charitable giving (regular donations, sponsorships)
- · Rent / Mortgage Groceries and necessities
- Compulsive shopping
- · What are your top three areas?
- · Are you surprised by this?
- · And do you see a pattern?
- · Do you feel that you never have enough?
- · Which areas do you feel trapped in?
- · Are there areas in which you would prefer your money be directed?
What drives your spending?
- Meeting basic needs — survival and security
- Leisure — fun, pleasure, adventure
- Success — growth, and learning
- Giving — contribution and responsibility
Your Money in Alignment Your Values.
Compare your cash flow worksheet with your values assessment. Are you managing your money in alignment with your values? If you are not, then you’re probably feeling torn in different directions — with these competing priorities.
Now that you’ve identified your top five core values, create a budget that aligns with those values. If you have substantial debt but value being debt-free at all costs, find ways to reduce your expenses and put the extra money into paying off your debt.
Money touches most aspects of your life. Become intentional about your money. Direct it in ways to achieve financial goals that are aligned with your values.
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After a long career in banking and finance, Jennifer Thompson writes and coaches individuals and businesses on how to achieve goals aligned with what they value. She can be reached at email@example.com