Freedom. It’s what we are really after in life.
It’s the ultimate motivation to create wealth and the drive behind the need for professional financial planning. On the path to build wealth, however, “freedom” can be an elusive outcome, simply because it is often not well defined in our lives.
What does freedom mean to you?
It doesn’t take much digging to realize that the freedom you wish to create is directly connected to your personal values – what is most important to you.
However, many financial planners assist with making the right financial decisions to meet standard long-term financial goals (i.e., retirement, buying a home, etc.), not necessarily the money decisions that align best with your values.
Are you making money decisions that truly align with your values?
Building and maintaining wealth is much more than the numbers in your accounts. It is about creating a life that produces the freedoms you want and moves you closer to the legacy and impact you desire to make.
Simply, before you make any major money decision, you must answer this question: what is your “why”?
Behind that question lies two deeper questions you should ask yourself:
- Who do you want to be?
- What do you want to accomplish in this life?
Financial planning should really be an extension of these questions.
With this in mind, here are five steps you can take to help you make money decisions that align with your values.
Step 1: Know Your Priorities
Before you reevaluate your money decisions, start by clarifying your priorities. List them out in order of importance. For most people, that list might look something like this:
- Material things: Real estate, car, boat, etc.
There is no right or wrong answer, but there is an answer that aligns with your values. What’s most important to you might not match what another feels is important.
If you’re having trouble finding the “right” answers for you, ask yourself something like this:
If you went to the doctor and discovered you only had 5-10 years left to live, how would you live? What would you purchase? What would you invest in?
Priorities get much clearer when you apply the right perspective.
Step 2: Determine Your Biggest Goals for This Year.
Goal setting is synonymous with wealth building.
What do you want to accomplish this year? What about three years from now? Five years from now? 10, 20, or maybe 30 years from now? Look as far out to the future as possible and determine what you want to accomplish.
Once you are clear on your priorities, it becomes much easier to set goals. Every solid financial plan is tied to one or multiple goals, and each goal needs a time frame.
Do you want to save for a large purchase?
Do you want to invest in a specific project or business?
Do you want to plan for your children’s education?
If you have not already, set specific goals in order to allocate where your money should be going.
Step 3: Assess Where You’re Money is Going Currently and if it is Flowing to the Things that Matter Most.
In a world of automated payments, fund managers, and impulse buying, it can be easy to find yourself somewhat detached from all the spending you do. Value-aligned spending requires mindfulness and intentionality.
You might also find yourself spending and investing in things just because an advisor recommends everyone do it or even because a friend is doing the same. Don’t follow the crowd.
Now that you have goals in place, you can begin to see clearly whether or not your spending matches your priorities. Your current financial plan might not be aligned properly with the values you hold most dear. Then again, you may already be making some of the best decisions with your money.
Evaluate where you are spending your money and where you are investing it.
Step 4: Make Adjustments to Current Spending
With a clear picture of where your money is going, make the adjustments necessary to align with your values and move toward your goals.
Conversely, it’s not unusual for affluent individuals to avoid spending. Rather than spend money, a mindset towards hoarding can slowly take over. It’s okay to spend money on things that matter.
Now, every dollar has a purpose.
Step 5: Create, and stick to, a Plan that Now Aligns with Your Values
With the help of a financial advisor, create a comprehensive plan to spend and invest every dollar toward your priorities and goals.
Are you investing in a way that matches who you want to be and what you want to accomplish?
Are you spending money in alignment with your values?
The right plan might look more like a life plan than a standard financial plan.
Align your Money with Your Values, Starting Today
On the journey toward creating a life of freedom, the path ahead can get clouded. The drive to build wealth can sometimes get in the way of what actually matters most to you. Acquiring more material things and following the crowd can look enticing, but if it doesn’t resonate with your purpose, you’re wasting more than money and may not feel fulfilled.
When you clarify who you most want to be and what you want to accomplish in this one life you have, your money takes on a whole new meaning. And spending the wealth you’ve worked so hard to earn can bring you greater satisfaction.
If you are looking for help clarifying your values and applying them to your financial goals, schedule a free consultation with Prosperity Road. We will assist you in doing everything you can to preserve your wealth, honor your family, and leave a legacy far beyond your life.