Money Management Isn’t About Money
What if we made personal finance about values, habits and intention instead of money? Money management isn’t just about money, after all. The state of your personal finances is a lagging result of a disconnect between what we think we want (external motivations) and what we actually want (internal motivations). So, if you’re trying to get your financial s#%&t together, put away the spread sheet and start soul searching.
Don’t get us wrong—financial literacy is critical, but financial tools and strategy are secondary to understanding your own values, habits and intentions.
Whatever your financial goals may be—eliminating debt, saving for an adequate emergency fund or investing for early retirement—consider your values, habits and intentions as a road map to get there.
Instead of feeling restricted by your budget, look at it as an opportunity to prioritize spending on what is truly important to you. To do this, ask yourself: What brings me the greatest joy in life (internal motivations)? Independent of external motivations, what is important to me?
For the sake of this example, let’s say it’s 1.) gastronomy 2.) travel and 3.) family. So, this means you should funnel most of you finances towards these three categories. This serves as a deterrent from emotionally spending, aka purchasing things for the fleeting feeling of happiness, as well as a compass for when you are making tough financial decisions such as…
- Rent vs. Own
- Financial Advisor vs. DIY investing
- Financing a car vs. Purchasing a car in cash
- Credit Card Option A vs. Credit Card Option B
Instead of making these decisions based on whether you are able or willing to devote enough time to do the thing—try to ask yourself how each option would serve one or all of your values.
For example, if travel is a core value for you, then when deciding between credit cards you should focus on options that offer the best airline points or travel rewards. If family is important to you, perhaps renting makes more sense because you want your kids to be in a school district in which you cannot yet afford to buy.
The point: Allow your values to shape your budget
If you have ambitious (but still achievable and measurable) financial goals, you’re off to a great start. But these big goals will not be met by a one-time big effort or even multiple major pushes. It’s the little things you do every single day that will get you there—yes, we mean habits!
Do not let your goals intimidate you. Simply concentrate on putting one step in front of the other. This looks like…
- Easy savings like bringing your lunch to work or brewing your morning coffee at home
- Weekly tracking of your spending
- Monthly financial check-ins with yourself
- Transparent financial conversations with your partner
- Automating transfers to various bank or investing accounts
We can’t stress it enough—habits are the only way you will reach your goals—not a single intervening event. So, you may get that big raise or that windfall tax return and that’s awesome. But, if you do not have the daily habits to keep that momentum going, you’re going to fall flat on your face well before the finish line.
So, regardless of the windfall, get back to your healthy financial habit routine that will pave the path to reaching your financial goals!
The point: What you do everyday matters.
Every time you decide where to spend, save, or invest your money, you nudge the world in a direction. This financial power is a demand for the world you want to see.
Let your moral compass guide how you spend, invest, and even save your money. What’s the point? Well it’s twofold: It’s about being intentional where you put your money to build the life you want, while also doing good for the causes you believe in (as well as not funding those that you don’t). Living with intention is wholistic, after all.
Research the companies that you buy from and invest in, as well as the banks that hold your savings accounts to ensure their vision of the future aligns with yours.
Money is power and your money has power!
The point: When you’re living your life with intention, you’re likely to feel a sense of deep contentment and peace.