By: Colleen Weber
News and Updates
Comments: No Comments.
By Colleen Weber, CFP®, CPA
Have you ever found yourself obligated to do things you didn’t really want to do? As kids, adults often dictate our choices, and as teenagers, we anticipate that adulthood will bring total freedom. But then reality sets in when we realize that being an adult comes with its own set of responsibilities, like the early-morning work routine or grocery shopping trip when the fridge is bare.
When it comes to your finances, you may be wondering how you can feel more in control of your money. The easiest way is to match your money with your values. Your values are like your compass, guiding you toward what’s most important. When your money mirrors who you are and what you believe, you’ll feel like you’re the master over your money, steering your own ship. But how can you make your money align with your values? Here are five easy steps.
1. Identify Your True Values
Start by separating your values into two categories: the values you were taught, and the values that truly make you happy. There may be some overlap between the two, but the goal is to find out if there is a difference between the values you think you have and the values that are truly meaningful in your life.
For example, you may have been taught to work hard and pour your soul into a corporate job that pays well, but maybe it’s not bringing you any personal satisfaction. In reality, you might find more fulfillment from a nonprofit job that pays less but whose mission and good work you believe in. To start this process, psychologist Jim Taylor recommends answering the following three questions:
- What do you choose to do in your life on a daily basis?
- What activities are you passionate about that bring you true joy when you participate in them?
- What experiences and people cause you to feel deeply engaged and connected to the world around you?
Digging into these questions can uncover the values you hold that truly fulfill you and bring joy to your life. If you’re constantly unhappy, whether that be from your job, your financial behaviors, or something else, this is a sign that you may not be living according to your true values.
2. Understand Your Money Mindset
You also need to take stock of your money mindset. Your money mindset has been cultivated from your life experience. You may have learned good financial habits from your parents, such as having an attitude of gratitude. You may have even learned bad financial habits if you watched your parents fail financially. Whatever your experiences have been with personal finances, they are the key to understanding why you behave the way you do around financial matters.
Understanding your money mindset is important because it allows you to grow intentionally. Identifying a toxic or substandard financial mindset is the first step to changing that mindset. By knowing what you want to change, you’re in more control over how and when you change it.
3. Be Honest With Yourself
Here’s the hard part. You need to be honest with yourself about the alignment of your values and your money mindset. It’s tough to be honest with ourselves. It takes hard work. But it’s been said throughout history that self-reflection is one of life’s most difficult yet rewarding endeavors. (Socrates’ famous statement comes to mind: “The unexamined life is not worth living.”)
Reflecting and being honest with yourself about the disconnects you’ve identified will help you get on the right path to healthier behaviors and goals. If this process leads to greater fulfillment and an easier time reaching your realistic financial goals, it will all be worth it.
4. Sync Your Ideal Life With Your Lived Life
After all this reflection, your ideal life probably looks a bit different from your day-to-day life, your reality. To reach that ideal lifestyle, you must sync your “living life” with the values you identified that actually make you happy. Remember that these are the values that connect you to the activities, experiences, and people that bring you the most fulfillment.
Only then will you be able to create financial goals that truly reflect your values. When financial goals are connected to your values, your finances become the tool that allows you to reach the real goal, rather than being the end goal in and of itself. From this vantage point, you’re ready to experience long-lasting happiness.
5. Partner With a Professional
It’s always a good idea to have a second set of eyes on the big picture of your financial journey. At Colleen Weber CPA, CFP, our commitment is to offer advice tailored to your specific goals, which can empower you to lead a more fulfilling life. As we keep your values a priority in the conversation, we collaborate to make thoughtful financial decisions that align your needs with your ideals. For further information, book a free introductory meeting online or call (952) 470-0750 to start the conversation.
Colleen Weber is a fee-only financial advisor, CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ professional, and CPA with more than 20 years of financial planning experience. Providing comprehensive financial planning and wealth management, she specializes in serving clients nearing retirement, retirees, busy professionals, and women. She is passionate about developing financial plans that save clients on taxes and investment strategies that help them pursue their goals. Learn more about Colleen by connecting with her on LinkedIn or booking a complimentary phone call meeting.