By Jason Epps, CFP®, CRPC®
With a new year underway, have your resolutions fallen by the wayside? Perhaps you wanted your finances to reflect your personal values—but you don’t know where to start.
If you’re taking the time to think about what you want to do this year, or what you can live without, this guide can help you begin your new financial journey by helping you identify how your values and your finances can align.
Identify Your True Values
Start by separating your values into two categories: the values you were taught, and the values that truly make you happy. There may be some overlap between the two, but the goal is to find out if there is a difference between the values you think you have and the values that are truly meaningful in your life.
For example, you may have been taught to work hard and pour your soul into a corporate job that pays well, but maybe it’s not bringing you any personal satisfaction. In reality, you might find more fulfillment from a nonprofit job that pays less but whose mission and good work you believe in. To start this process, psychologist Jim Taylor recommends answering the following three questions:
- What do you choose to do in your life on a daily basis?
- What activities are you passionate about that bring you true joy when you participate in them?
- What experiences and people cause you to feel deeply engaged and connected to the world around you?
Digging into these questions can uncover the values you hold that truly fulfill you and bring joy to your life. If you’re constantly unhappy, whether that be from your job, your financial behaviors, or something else, this is a sign that you may not be living according to your true values.
Understand Your Money Mindset
You also need to take stock of your money mindset. Your money mindset has been cultivated from your life experience. You may have learned good financial habits from your parents. You may have even learned bad financial habits if you watched your parents fail financially. Whatever your experiences have been with personal finances, they are the key to understanding why you behave the way you do around financial matters.
Understanding your money mindset is important because it allows you to grow intentionally. Identifying a toxic or substandard financial mindset is the first step to changing that mindset. By knowing what you want to change, you’re in more control over how and when you change it.
Be Honest With Yourself
Here’s the hard part. You need to be honest with yourself about the alignment of your values and your money mindset. It’s tough to be honest with ourselves. It takes hard work. But it’s been said throughout history that self-reflection is one of life’s most difficult yet rewarding endeavors. (Socrates’ famous statement comes to mind: “The unexamined life is not worth living.”)
Reflecting and being honest with yourself about the disconnects you’ve identified will help you get on the right path to healthier behaviors and goals. If this process leads to greater fulfillment and an easier time reaching your realistic financial goals, it will all be worth it.
Sync Your Ideal Life With Your Lived Life
After all this reflection, your ideal life probably looks a bit different from your day-to-day life, your reality. To reach that ideal lifestyle, you must sync your “living life” with the values you identified that actually make you happy. Remember that these are the values that connect you to the activities, experiences, and people which bring you the most fulfillment.
Only then will you be able to create financial goals that truly reflect your values. When financial goals are connected to your values, your finances become the tool that allows you to reach the real goal, rather than being the end goal in and of itself. From this vantage point, you’re ready to experience long-lasting happiness.
Does Your Advisor Value Your Values?
Are your investment strategies consistent with your goals and aspirations? At KFA Private Wealth Group, we believe in a holistic approach tailored to your individual circumstances and financial goals. If you’re ready to start the conversation, email email@example.com or call 571-386-2022 to schedule an appointment.
Jason Epps is vice president and private wealth advisor at KFA Private Wealth Group, a registered independent advisory firm founded on the premise of providing conflict-free financial and investment advice. With over 15 years of experience, Jason possesses the unique knowledge and expertise necessary to provide his clients with the most applicable and beneficial financial guidance that helps them find confidence in their financial future. Jason is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ practitioner and a Chartered Retirement Planning Counselor℠, CRPC®, and believes that a financial plan is only as strong as the advisor’s understanding of the core values and beliefs of each client. He serves a diverse range of clients, from young accumulators to pre-retirees and retirees, including business owners and professionals in a variety of fields. Jason is passionate about giving back to his community and volunteers with various organizations in the D.C. metro area. He also has coached youth travel and AAU basketball since 2009. When he’s not working, you can find Jason spending time with friends and family, traveling, trying out new restaurants, and cheering on local D.C. sports teams. To learn more about Jason, connect with him on LinkedIn.