First things first, I want to say thank you thank you thank you for your response, encouragement, support, and feedback. Week one has been overwhelming – my expectations have been blown out of the water. So thank you.
As we begin, I suggest starting a Google doc or note on your phone or writing things down in a notebook – whatever works best for you. I recommend something you will see often and can easily update as thoughts come, so you will have everything in one place as we learn and build each week. Cool? Let’s dive in.
This week we get to dream big. Over the next week, I want you to think about why money is important to you. Your initial responses might include freedom, independence, flexibility, peace of mind, the ability to retire, something like that, and those are great answers. But I’m going to call those Monday/Tuesday answers in this exercise.
As you continue to think about this throughout the week, dig a little deeper. Keep asking why until you get to the core of what really matters to you in life, what you dream about doing, your core values. And trust me, this isn’t just a self-reflection exercise. This is going to help you make financial decisions down the road. We’ll get to plenty of numbers and details in time.
By next Monday, I hope you’ve discovered the two or three elements at your core, the answer to why money is important to you.
Let me give you a hypothetical example of what this progression might look like:
- Monday/Tuesday: Money is important to me because I want flexibility.
- Wednesday/Thursday: Why do I want this flexibility? I want to do what I want when I want and to not feel confined to one thing.
- Friday/Saturday: What is it that I want? I value time outside and want to be able to spend beautiful days in the outdoors (and not in an office) and also want to travel frequently.
- Sunday/Monday: Why do I value these things? I feel better in all aspects of my life when I am active and spend time outside. I enjoy traveling because it allows me to spend time with the people I love and also learn from new people, places, and experiences.
This person might then make a note as follows:
At my core, I value:
- Spending time outside being active.
- Making time for the people in my life that matter most to me (specifically, my family and close friends).
- Building up a savings account which will allow me to seize travel and other opportunities that allow me to learn and grow.
Others might value:
- Spending time with their kids, walking them to school and picking them up every day
- Eliminating credit card debt once and for all and making that their primary focus (until it’s eliminated and they can focus on another value)
- Starting a business
- Splitting time between a paid job and a cause they feel passionate about
- Turning a hobby into paid work
Remember to keep asking why to be sure it’s the right thing to focus on and prioritize. Also, recognize that your values can and should change over time as your life changes. Identify your priorities for your life right now and make a mental note that they can and will change as life changes. You’re not getting locked into anything here!
A Personal Example
To share a personal example, I used to want a house and think I should begin looking to buy one because paying rent is such a waste, right? (Answer: It’s not. At least, not always – stay tuned for a future post.) But when I really thought about what I valued, a house had nothing to do with it. Our core values help us know how to spend and save our money.
Talk It Out
As you think about this, I encourage you to share your thoughts with a close friend (I suggest your spouse if you’re married) or spend some time alone where you can reflect on these questions. Write down the two or three things you discover and put them in a place you will see often. I’d love to hear your responses, too, so feel free to send me an email and share – or engage in a conversation if you’re stuck. And don’t limit yourself – if you really want something, write it down.
Remember: Life’s too short to take too seriously. So go on, Let Luc.