Is your spending killing your happiness? How your personal core values are a key part of your financial plan.
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Money that pesky little detail that impacts so much of your life, both positively and negatively. They say that money can’t buy you happiness, yet maybe it can. Or maybe money can buy you unhappiness? BOOM! That’s it! Read on to see how you can be truly happy about not only your finances but your life as well by identifying your personal core values.
Your Relationship with Money
Money, it’s one the most important relationships in your life. Now I know that sounds kinda shallow but go with me here.
Think about it, what are the relationships that you will have for your entire life? A relationship with yourself, food, and money. People and things come and go, but those three relationships you will carry with your forever. So it’s probably a good idea to make sure that these relationships are healthy ones, oddly enough they happen to be the most volatile for many people.
You need, and deserve relationships that support you, make you happy and encourage you to be a better person. Yes, loving broccoli is good for you, and so is having a positive relationship with money.
We’re going to go through one of America’s most trusted financial expert’s framework for achieving financial success, David Bach. He calls it a Values Circle, and you can read in-depth about the process behind it in his books.
Longtime financial expert and many times over bestselling author, David Bach goes in depth about the core values process in his book Smart Women Finish Rich
What are Personal Core Values and Why You NEED to Know Yours
Personal core values, or your core beliefs, are a set of beliefs that help guide your behaviors and ultimately shape your life. They reflect who you want to be and how you (should) ideally live your life. They influence your decisions and your attitudes, which in turn help reinforce your beliefs and behaviors.
When your actions and behaviors support your core values you experience fulfillment and even happiness. Since money is usually part of your everyday life it makes sense that your relationship with money impacts how you feel on a daily basis.
Money and Your Personal Core Values
Let’s get cozy and share some personal stuff. Comfy? Good. So one of my own main core values is “security”. For whatever reason, I am very afraid of not having enough money to retire on, or of leaving my daughter unprotected if my husband and I should pass away unexpectedly. It scares me. It scares me a lot. Some call this bag lady syndrome, sounds so lovely huh!
It would make sense that I would spend my effort, time and money on making my family more “secure”. This means that my husband and I have a Will & Living Trust in place. This means that my husband and I each have a life insurance policy. This also means that we are saving money every month to go into our retirement accounts so that we can support ourselves in our old age.
Having these things in place makes me feel more secure, which in turn makes me happier. If we spent our money on stuff every month and never saved anything, I would not be living by my core values and I would feel the opposite of secure, I would feel agitated and probably scared. Yet every day we are pulled in by countless marketing schemes to lure us to spend our hard earned money on things, or what I call “stuff”, which I consider to be a bad word! So balance and habit change is key here.
Here are my own personal core vales…
Figuring out Your Own Personal Core Beliefs
Okay, your turn! Are you happy with your life? (insert awkward silence.)
Yes, we just met, but let’s do this together.
Ask yourself “What really makes me happy? Let’s get to the root of what is really important to you. Some of you may say good Health, strong Marriage, a loving Family, or a strong Spiritual self. These are all great values to live your life by. There are over 200 values to choose from, so if the ones above don’t resonate with you click below for the workbook that will guide you through which values speak to you.
So if you have your workbook then great, lets do this! Sit for a minute and think about what makes you truly happy. Not your TV, or your new Athleta Hoody. This should be the heavy stuff, the big picture stuff. If all you can truly think about is your TV let’s dig deep into that. What do you love about your TV? Is it so great or different from other TV’s? Or is it that you sit with your husband and couch cuddle watching old seasons of Survivor? Here we are, you’ve arrived! It’s the quality time and connection you get to have with your hubs. Or to phrase it a different way, it is a strong Marriage. Or if you’re solo, maybe it’s the relaxation and self-care piece that is really hitting it here.
So let’s take a more in-depth look at Marriage as a value in this example. Having a stable and loving relationship is very important to many of us, and yet if we dig deep, we may find that our small, little daily actions aren’t supporting this core value. For example, You have an amazing job; it challenges you and you do work that is fulfilling. Oh, and did I mention the high salary? You live in this fantastic house! Yet the hours stink, you do lots of working dinners or weekend seminars to schmooze potential clients.
That leaves you with little time to spend with your spouse. When you are home, you may be exhausted from your work to truly appreciate your partner or your big house. This job that you think is great is actually in direct conflict with your core values.
Now I am definitely not saying that you should quit your job. What I am saying is that you need to be aware of the tradeoffs that you are making and how they are impacting you on a really deep level. Maybe you need to relook at your working dinners and limit them to only two a week. Or perhaps you nix the weekend seminars that are out of town which would require travel. Or maybe you keep the above items in and take a Wednesday off instead.
You just don’t want to go through life and say to yourself “But I have a great house”. You don’t want to stand in that house and look at all your “things” and wonder where your life went!
Remember the BOOM from earlier? We’re back to that point… maybe money can really buy you unhappiness!
So let’s flip it and you can use your money to support what does make you happier in the long term! I want you to live an amazing life, full of purpose, happiness and in line with what matters most to you.
Develop Action Items to Support Your Core Values
So for each of your values, list out 3-4 actionable items/goals that you can do to support this value. So for my personal example of security, I listed out…
- Get a Will, and a Living Trust set up (due in 2 months)
- Have adequate life insurance coverage for both of us (due in 2 months)
- Set up a home emergency binder set up & complete (due in 2 weeks)
- Establish a special needs trust set up for my daughter. (If I haven’t mentioned it before, my daughter who is three years old has Cerebral Palsy, she has more complex issues/needs that can be covered in our own Living Trust.) ( due in 3 months)
- Set aside money in our retirement plans and daughters trust every month, set up autodraft (due in 1 week)
As you develop your action items, make sure that they are specific and within your direct control. If you chose Health as a core value, and then lose 20 pounds, it sounds like a decent action item. Yet, you can’t really control if your body will comply with that. However, you can write your goal as “go to the gym on Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 8 am, every week”. That is something that you have direct control over.
Align Your Spending With Your Action Items
Doing this exercise hopefully will show you where you should be putting your resources (aka money). If “Style” wasn’t a core value of yours, then maybe you now know why that buying a new pair of shoes only brings you a few moments of happiness, and then you feel bad again later on.
Look at using your money where it will serve you best. Maybe under Family you feel that spending more time together without the TV would be great, so purchasing some tabletop games for family Game Night would serve you better than that pair of shoes. (Yet, I do realize that there are some shoes that you just have to have!) 🙂
I know that this will be an “easy say hard do” kinda thing. As our current habits are deeply ingrained in our lives, so being aware of your spending habits and learning how to change them will be key. It takes conscious thought and will power but it is totally doable! You got this!
If you want to read more in-depth about core values, David Bach has a few different books for you, which are tailored to your situation. Don’t forget he’s nine times NY Times bestselling author, so he knows his stuff! There is Smart Couples Finish Rich, or there is Smart Women Finish Rich.
I have read both, and they are equally great, yet you don’t need to read both to master this concept, just pick the one closest to your situation. They are both fast reads, with actionable items for you to do to help you get to where you want to be. I am finding a good number of items that I want to do to help support my financial goals!
If you’d rather jump straight to figuring out your personal core values then click the button below for my easy to use How to Guide on Discovering Your Core Values.
Do right by YOU!
You know that in life you are going to spend money. So it would make sense to spend your money on things that are going to support your overarching goals and core values. So be happy about $25 Scattegories purchase, don’t forget the popcorn!
What are your core values? Share one value and one action item in the comments below so I can cheer you on!
- Smart Women Finish Rich by David Bach
- Smart Couples Finish Rich by David Bach
Sign up below to download your free Core Values Workbook and start living your life by what is really important to you!
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