What better day than a Monday to talk about a topic as FUN as finances?! ; ) If you’re at all like me (this is Caleb, by the way), the thought of spending money makes you cringe (unless it a new guitar … )! Yikes!! But, what if we took a step back from the financial side of money (I know this seems impossible but just bare with me!!) and looked at it from a fresh, eternal perspective. I promise this would be fun!
First things first, we want be as transparent with you guys as we can when it comes to our money, so if we miss something or you have a different way of doing things, we want to know about it! We want to grow ALONGSIDE of you! Let’s all work together to share what we know to make each other’s lives easier!!
I’m going to ask you to ask yourself two vitally important questions when it comes to your finances that are from the financial guru David Bach in his awesome book entitled “Smart Couples Finish Rich” (check it out if you get a chance, we bought it for $0.01 on Amazon!!):
1. What’s really important to you?
2. What’s the purpose of money in your life?
Deep right? Give these questions some good and honest thought first, by yourself, and then if you’re married, get together with your spouse and truly discuss them! This is such an exciting time in your life! You get to come up with a thoughtful plan on how you want to allocate your money. It’s even more fun if you’re married because you get to dream and plan together! You get to sit down with the person you are spending forever with and decide what things are important to your family : ) What things do you TRULY value? The easiest way to do this is to think of 3-5 values you can base your financial decisions off of. If you don’t yet know what you value, it’s almost impossible to make and stick to a good financial plan.
This step is by far the most important. The biggest mistake is to make financial goals before you have values. VALUES are what drive us. People will do almost anything to protect their values. Translation to finances: people will do and act more on their finances when they understand how they relate to their values!
All GOALS are action plans to living out your VALUES, so therefore, if you make a goal before a value it is possible that the goal wont actually line up with your values down the road. Goals are like to-do lists or New Years resolutions.
“I want to save more.”
“I want to lose weight.”
“I want to (fill in the blank).”
People often get bored of goals unless they align with their values. Ultimately, values are what motivate us and shape our lives. Here are some examples of each:
VALUES: security, freedom, happiness, peace of mind, fun, excitement, power, family, marriage, friends, making a difference, spirituality, independence, growth, creativity, adventure, fulfillment, confidence, balance, love, health
GOALS: retire with a million dollars, pay off mortgage, be debt-free, not worry about debt, travel, ski with friends, be the boss, spend more time with kids, plan more “date nights”, annual “guys” or “girls” trip, donate to charity, go to church, stop working, go back to school, learn to play guitar, take a trip to Ireland, stay married, exercise, plan life better, have a great marriage, lose weight
What we’re doing
Maison and I are choosing to focus our finances on Spirituality, Marriage, Adventure, Security, and Growth. Money is nothing but one tool in helping you live your life according to your values. In essence, money is good for three things: being, doing, and having. It isn’t until you hone in on what you want from your life (not what society tells us) that you will truly be able to take strides in making wise financial decisions. The beauty of life and marriage is that everyone is unique. This is such an exciting time! One where we get to truly be alive, to bask in the thought that we have the power to choose what our lives and marriages ultimately stand for. That our finances would serve as a resource to enrich our lives. So while your coming up with or, already living out, your values, I want you to do three things:
1. Be honest with yourself/your spouse
2. Dream big
3. Relax, have fun, pat yourself on the back
If the process is tough, just know that you can never plan where you want to go until you know where you’re starting from. You got this!