Once you’d gotten over the shock of taxes after receiving your first paycheck as a teenager, your first thought may have been to spend it all. It’s your money, right? Since you were still living under your parents’ roof and knew nothing of bills, this seemed like a good move.
Years later, as a young adult, you may have seen money as how much you could save after rent and other expenses.
Now, your view of money may be centered on growing your wealth, providing for your family, and investing for your retirement. It’s interesting how our perceptions of money change over time.
But, we can dig even deeper. How you think and feel about money should guide the direction of your financial strategy. In short, your goals and the steps to get there should reflect your desires.
We go over this with each of our clients through tools and resources we have available. We wanted to share a little insight and some helpful questions you can ask to discover more about how you think and feel about money.
Do you need guidance in your financial strategy? Schedule a consultation today.
What Influences How You View Money?
When making financial decisions, most people’s actions will reflect a certain theme. Are you always willing to spend money just to have a good time? Do you examine every non-necessary purchase to determine if it’s worth it?
Think about it this way. You’re planning a party with friends. What is most important to you as you begin planning?
- Making it an unforgettable experience
- Staying within your budget
- Making sure everyone can attend and that they will have a good time
If you chose the first option, “making it an unforgettable experience,” you might be using your money to prioritize enjoyment and happiness over saving. On the other hand, prioritizing frugality over the unforgettable experience demonstrates an orientation towards saving.
Here’s another scenario: your company is going to be forced to lay off several employees, and it’s possible your job might be impacted. How would you feel?
- Concerned about your ability to provide for your family
- Inconvenienced, but confident you can find something better
- Determined to cut back on your spending more
While you might feel some combination of all three, one of these thoughts is likely to dominate. If your first thought is to cut back on spending, your driving motivation is security and peace of mind.
These are just two of the many potential interactions we have with money every single day. Think about the last few scenarios where money was a significant factor. How did you feel? How did you act? Recognizing a pattern can give you insight into what you value and what financial decisions you make based on how you think and feel about money.
What Do You Want Most?
We all know we cannot take our wealth with us when we die. So, saving and investing are often done for something. What do you want?
Many of our clients will first answer this question by saying, “to have enough….” Sometimes this answer is followed by a specific desire, such as “to send all my kids to college,” but often, they leave it as an open-ended answer.
It’s not uncommon, and it’s not wrong to respond in this way. At the heart of it, however, there is more. Our advisors use a tool called Honest Conversations to get individuals and couples to dig deeper into what they want out of their finances and investments.
This activity asks them to choose from fifteen cards the top five things that matter most to them. Some examples are:
- To be able to retire early
- To spend more time doing the things I love
- To minimize taxes
- To work part-time
- To travel more
- To send my children to college
- To give to my community
By identifying their top five desires, our advisors can help clients tailor a plan that specifically addresses these goals.
Think about what you desire most to have the financial freedom to do. What do you want to “have enough” for? Is your financial plan working towards these goals?
Our advisors can guide you through these questions and more! Schedule a consultation today.
Stewarding What We Have Been Given
At OneAscent, we believe that everything we have is a blessing bestowed upon us, including our money. Matthew 6:19-21 (ESV) says, “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”
These verses drive our belief in stewardship that we have a responsibility to wisely manage what God gave us.
If you think of wealth as a safety net, a source of purpose, or the end goal, you will always be caught up in obtaining “more.” This can lead to fear, bitterness, and frustration when it comes to your finances.
When your wealth is a tool to bless others and a way to honor God, you’re more likely to feel confident and content with what you have.
Investing With Purpose
Values-based investing provides an opportunity to align your investments with your values. Most people only see the results that their portfolios are providing and not the means through which they made that profit. For some people, profit is the only important factor. But many others, including our clients, want to know what they are promoting through their investments.
When you invest, you become a shareholder or owner. As an owner, it’s important to know how the companies you’re invested in make money. There are some companies that you’d be proud to own because they fill a need and truly bless mankind. On the other hand, there are some you would never want to invest in because they make money from products or services that do not align with your deepest core values.
Values-based investing allows you to ask the question, “what values would I never want to compromise in order to make a profit?” and turn your answer into a customized investment strategy.
We hope some of these questions have provided you with a starting point in discovering how you think and feel about money and how you want that to align with your financial goals. To get in touch with a financial advisor or to learn more about values-based investing, contact us here! We would love to help design a plan for you that meets your needs and reflects your values.