It’s About Values

“Don’t tell me what you value, show me your budget, and I’ll tell you what you value.” 

― Joe Biden

When it comes to money, everyone has their own personal compass.  From how much to save to how much to spend on eating out or coffee, each individual comes at the money question from a different angle.  Our views of money are shaped by the world around us even before we know it’s happening.  As we grow up and see how our parents handle money in the context of their relationships and the family, we start to form opinions, biases, and methods of operating regarding money that will stay with us throughout our lives.  As a financial counselor it is important that I help my clients understand where their thoughts and opinions about money have been developed.  But it is equally important that I understand my own feelings surrounding money for me to effectively help them.  

“It’s just money, we can always make more.”

This is something that I remember both of my parents saying to me when I was a small child.  And in it, I think a large part of my personal money philosophy was formed.  My parents never said this to negate saving or to encourage taking on large amounts of debt.  In fact, from a very young age, they instilled in me a great drive to live within my means.  The meaning of this statement was used to justify spending on experiences and things that were important to our family.  It was my parents’ way of acknowledging that something might be expensive but sometimes we had to look beyond the price tag and see the experience or knowledge we would gain.  This is something that I still carry with me today.  

Ultimately, the core of my personal money philosophy is driven by values.  Above and beyond my necessity spending each month, on housing, food or other fixed expenses, I feel that what I spend my money on is a reflection of what I value.  And my family’s monthly budget considers what we as a family value.  Our necessary expenses are always our top priority.  But beyond that what we save our money for and what we spend on each month comes down to what we think is important.  Often, we spend money on experiences rather than things because we want to make memories.  We also delay current spending to have better experiences or products in the future, because quality matters to us.  

Knowing that to me, it comes down to values, allows me to connect with my clients, see what they value, and help them make it a financial reality.  It gives me the ability to see past the figures into the heart of the matter.  I think understanding your motivations when it comes to personal finance is incredibly important.  It allows an individual to make decisions from a more informed place when they know how they feel…and more importantly why they feel that way. So, what drives your financial philosophy

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