Why knowing your values is vital
DO YOU KNOW YOUR CORE VALUES? DO YOU VALUE YOUR VALUES?
They might seem like strange questions and possibly not ones that you have ever asked yourself before. And why am I asking you about values? What the hell has it got to do with getting Your Money, Sorted?
Well, taking note of and respecting your values is really important in living a happy, fulfilled and content life. We all know about values such as honesty, trust and compassion and I am sure that we try to live by these and teach them to our children. (Generally after one has skelped the other until they are screaming, giving us a really good chance to speak to them about compassion!)
OK – you get that!
But how do our values relate to our money and how does aligning ourselves financially to our values ensure that we live a happier life?
One of my core values is family – I love spending time with my hubby and 3 kids and therefore that is something I place great importance on. For me this does not cost money – we are as happy sitting by the stove on a winter’s night watching crap Saturday night TV as we would be going to fancy restaurant and spending time together that way. In fact, we are HAPPIER sitting by the stove, because guess what? Fancy restaurants are wasted on most teenagers!
In terms of another main value, I know that I am a much happier person when I have some financial security in my life. This can vary from person to person, but for me it means that I NEED to have something in a savings account to pay for unexpected breakdowns and I NEED to be building some savings to help support my children as they get to adulthood – it might be to help them through university, for a deposit on a flat or something similar. It certainly won’t be for “pissing up against a wall” as my dad would say! (He has a way with words, my dad!)
Now luckily for me, my hubby has very similar values and therefore we both prioritise these things – if your other half has different values to you, then it can cause some friction, but that’s another post! So for us, these things are two of our main priorities in life and in order to be happy, we need to ensure that our finances are in line with these basic values.
When child number 2 became child 2 AND child 3, our finances were always going to be put under more strain than either of us had ever intended. My first words when I realised there were two babies in the scan pic were “How on earth are we going to manage to help 3 through University?” That just shows how much of a priority helping my kids out at that stage of their life is to me.
We have had to make compromises – out went the meals out, lots of new trainers (you can keep your Jimmy Choos – give me a great pair of trainers any day!) and foreign holidays and in came home-cooked meals, trainers that have to last me years and lots of rain-soaked (and sometimes sun-splashed), but very happy, family holidays in the UK.
DID I FEEL I WAS MISSING OUT?
No, because the most important thing to me was that I was putting something away for my kid’s futures and that we always had an emergency fund!
How can it cause problems if you are not being true to your values? If you are someone who also craves stability and security, yet you have few savings, are in debt, or have doubts that your plans for the future will be enough to sustain you in retirement, then you are unlikely to be feeling happy. If you feel that you have no money to put towards creating the stable and secure future that you desire, then this can be a really stressful situation.
You need to work out how you can spend on the things that WILL bring you happiness and peace, by working out how you can cut spending in the other areas. I will show you how later in this post.
Where else can problems arise?
Well, sometimes people have core values that actually cause them financial problems. For example, someone who really values competitive spirit, can find that while it serves them well in the workplace or on a sports field, it can have a hugely negative impact on their finances. Often, without them really thinking about it, they have this need to have the biggest and best possessions and are not happy until they have these. This serves them well for a time, until someone else gets something “better” than theirs and off they go again on their spiral of ensuring that they are the top of the tree.
Now for some, this is not a problem, because they can finance this lifestyle and this is their choice – if it truly makes them happy, then that is good – they are aligning themselves to their values. If this sounds like you, then ask yourself – does it truly make me happy or am I just caught in a “competition” that really doesn’t serve me well?
For others it can lead to a downward spiral of debt, where the bank balance does not allow for the constant purchasing of the next “must-have” item, but the competitive feelings override the sensible head and before you know it another credit card is loaded to the max. Although they now have the “best” they are still not happy, because they are feeling stressed and anxious about how they are going to afford the next credit card repayments.
SO, HOW CAN YOU WORK OUT WHAT IMPACT YOUR FINANCES ARE HAVING ON YOUR VALUES OR VICE VERSA?
1 Look at the list of values in the picture and decide which 4 or 5 are most important in your life.
2 Write down all your spending in the past month
3 Go through all the transactions and see which ones are making you happy because they are in line with your values
4 Now identify any spending that is not in line with your values or that is causing you unhappiness
5 Now work out how you can reduce the spending on the things that are not making you happy, so that you have more to spend on the things that do make you happy.
If you can change your spending, so that it is more in line with your values, you are likely to be happier, more content and less stressed. If you would like to further investigate how your values, attitudes and habits can impact on your finances and save yourself some money then please come along and join my Your Money, Sorted Facebook group..
I would love to hear your thoughts on this post, so please comment below and share it with your friends if you have found if useful.
I am Eileen Adamson, a Your Money, Sorted coach, working with UK based women, helping them to develop a better relationship with money. By gaining an understanding of how their personality affects the decisions they make, I can help them to implement changes which will allow them to feel calm, positive and confident that they are in control and making good financial decisions. I can then support them to put into place simple strategies that will allow them to manage their finances effectively on a daily basis and create a stable, secure and exciting future for themselves.