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 a 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 (I like to think of it as your core but call it whatever you like) of what really matters to you in life, what you dream about doing. And trust me, this isn’t just a self-reflection exercise. This core 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 process 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, 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…with the realization that I don’t have to leave the country to learn.
This person might then make a note as follows:
At my core, I want to:
- Spend time outside and being active.
- Make time for the people in my life that matter most to me (specifically, family and close friends).
- Build up a savings which will allow me seize travel AND other opportunities that allow me to learn and grow.
Others might find spending time with their kids at their core. Someone else might want to eliminate credit card debt once and for all and make that their primary focus (until it’s eliminated and they can make a new list). Someone else might want to start a business, split their time between a paid job and a cause they feel passionate about, or turn a hobby into paid work – but remember to ask yourself why.
As an 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, what was at my core, a house had nothing to do with it. Our core helps us know how to spend and save our money.
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.
One other note: Your core will change as your life changes, so identify your core priorities for your life right now and make a mental note that they can and will change as life changes. We’re not getting locked into anything here.
Remember: Life’s too short to take too seriously. So go on, Let Luc.