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Put Your Money Where Your Values Are

money on beach

“We can tell our values by looking at our checkbook stubs.”  ~ Gloria Steinem

What do you value?

Is it your life’s work, travel and seeing the world, giving and sharing through philanthropy and supporting meaningful causes, quality education for your children, personal growth and development, self-care and being fit and healthy in mind, body, and spirit, quality over quantity?

Whatever you value requires an investment on your part in time, money, and energy to have a life that reflects your values. Unfortunately many of us don’t put our money into the things we truly care about and desire for ourselves. Instead we waste our precious resources on things and activities that give us very little fulfillment, joy and a sense of well-being because we think we can’t afford to do or have what we truly want and need. I say you can’t afford not to invest in that which gives you joy and fulfillment and supports your values.

I firmly believe you should put your money and resources meaning your time, energy and talents where your values are and invest in those things that truly add value to your life and to the lives of others.

Invest in what you believe in, in what you are committed to.

Invest in making a meaningful difference in your life and the lives of others.

Here are some ideas for rethinking how you spend your money:

If you value your health then you should invest in your health, particularly in preventive measures because it cost far more to fix a health issue than to prevent one. A healthy lifestyle may cost a little more now but heart disease or diabetes caused by eating “poorly” will be a lot more costly later.

If you value the hard work of individuals, fresh foods, and the environment then shop at farmers markets and support local growers versus mainly buying from big box chain stores which are run by big corporations that give your money as bonuses to glorified executives.

If you value self-care and your own personal well-being then invest in a gym membership or treat yourself to a massage or a weekend retreat away from the kids. Or go deeper and invest in therapy or life coaching to help you improve your life, better manage overwhelm and get support around taking care of yourself in mind, body, and spirit.

If you value time with your family then you should find time to be fully present and engaged with those you love. You should save and plan for a family vacation that will give you lasting memories.

If you value doing work you love and feel called to do then invest in your professional and creative development and in those things that will allow you to better serve your purpose in life. If you’re just starting out on your chosen path, invest in getting the proper training and experience which takes both time, energy and money, but will put you steps closer to living your dreams.

If you value quality then buy quality and stop buying crap. Even if you’re on a limited budget save for what you truly want and value instead of throwing your money away on the cheap version of whatever it is you think you have to have in this moment. If it’s something you truly want you’ll wait until you can truly afford the quality version of it. Why buy an imitation Coach bag now, that will soon fall apart when you can have a real one in a few months with a little focused saving that will last for years to come.

If you truly value your time, energy and money then you won’t waste it on things you don’t want to do, that you’re not committed to or on things you don’t truly love and value. 

Financial well-being is largely about making wise, healthy financial decisions and investments in your life that support and honor your values. In other words invest in yourself, in your dreams, in quality, in a lifestyle that fulfills and enriches you, in your commitments, in those things that truly matter and you will not only be more fulfilled but you’ll be richer in so many ways.

But first you must know what you stand for.

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Lynne Twist writes in The Soul of Money about the importance of taking a stand and consciously using money to support that stand meaning your values and commitments. She saids that, “you express your stand in the way you earn money, choosing work consistent with your values. You express your stand in the way you use money to provide food, clothing, shelter, or education for your family. It can be in the money you use to support others in your community or beyond, through food depositories, or shelters for battered women, troubled children, or homeless people. It can be in the money you use to empower your own creativity and self-expression, or otherwise nurture yourself through classes, books, or music. It can be in the money you pay for the products you buy, supporting the companies that produce them. It may be money you contribute to local, national, and global causes that inspire you…

We each have the power to arrange life so that the stand we take with our money and our life with money is a right-now, every-day, every-week expression of our core values, not a someday, next-year, or when-I-retire or when-I-have-enough expression of our core values. Every moment of every day there are chances to participate in expressing your individuality and creativity, in contributing to your vision for yourself, your family, your community, city, or world. When we bring this consciousness to our choices about money and use our resources – money, time, or talents – to take a stand for what we believe in, we come alive. We are flooded with a sense of purpose even in the smallest action, and a feeling of power and energy opens up in our life.”

I actually wrote a version of this post some time ago but I’ve recently been reading The Soul of Money and so as I was doing edits I thought that the above passage would be the perfect conclusion and quite nicely sums up the message here I’m trying to convey. So, thank you Lynne for your brilliance and wisdom. And now…

Next Steps:

1. If you haven’t already I highly recommend you read Lynne’s book, The Soul of Money – Transforming Your Relationship with Money. It’s very enlightening and goes very deep into how we should think about money and use it consciously.

2. Think about how you’ve been squandering your money on things that don’t really matter to you. Also, think about what you truly value and how you can take a stand and start making investments in those things that really do matter.

3. Leave a comment below and let us know what you stand for.

Extra credit: Pass it on. Tweet it. Facebook it. Google+ it. Pinterest it. In fact check out my Pinterest boards and see what I value, stand for, and love.

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