Is how you use your money aligned with your values?

A hamster in a wheel

Have you ever watched a hamster running in a wheel? All that running, all that effort, day after day after day… But the poor little critter never gets anywhere, does he?

Many of us feel the same way about our money.

More specifically, we feel that way about the work we do to get that money. We spend over thirty-five hours every week on a wheel, running after a pay cheque. We have two days off the wheel, then first thing Monday morning, we’re back on the wheel, and the whole thing starts again.

Many people just keep repeating this cycle, over and over, until they finally retire, hoping that accumulating more money is enough of a financial plan. They think that stepping off the wheel before then isn’t an option because they have bills to pay, university expenses to save for, and a dream to be “financially set” ahead of making it to retirement age. 

How much is enough?

These are all persuasive arguments that keep people on the wheel; the hope is that some day, you’ll be able to stop running and enjoy the fruits of all that hard work.

Unfortunately, more often than not, “some day” never comes. If your focus in your work and your financial planning is just about having enough money, you’ll never feel like you have enough. There’s always another pound to chase, another way to economise so that you can save more.

But for what? Is having more money, in and of itself, something you really value? Does having more make running on the wheel worth it?

You might think that this “never enough” mentality ends once a person retires. Instead, it transitions into a new, related worry: “Am I going to run out of money?”

Again, “some day” gets pushed back in favour of more saving, more conservative living. You might not be working any more, but you’re still chasing after an illusory form of financial stability. This fear prevents you from living the life that you had been saving for in the first place.

(Read Paul and Sandra’s story about creating a plan that fits their values.)

The wind in your sails

At the end of the day, your money is not the shore for which you’re heading. It’s not the sea on which you’re sailing. It’s not even the boat you’re steering.

Your money is the sail. It’s the tool you use to get where you want to go.

And the wind in that sail is your values.

Just like a good sailor learns how to manoeuvre the sails to catch the most wind, learning to align what you value with the financial resources you have available is the key to successful financial planning.

So instead of asking yourself if you have enough money, or if you will run out of money, ask yourself a better question:

Am I managing my money in a way that’s improving my life?

We don’t want you just to “have enough money.” We want you to live the best life possible with the money you have.

That starts with thinking about what’s really important to you. The people you love. The causes that are dear to your heart. The activities that keep you feeling healthy and full of energy. The hobbies that put your unique skills to their best uses. The opportunities for learning and self-discovery that enrich your understanding of the world and of yourself. The wisdom that you will pass down to your children and grandchildren so that they live their most fulfilling lives as well.

 

We believe that aligning your financial plan with these values is every bit as important as analysing your pension situation or managing your investments. Reach out and see how we can help you get more from your money than just more money and set you up for the journey of your lifetime.