How do your values guide your financial goals?

Totally stolen from David Bach.

GRS was talking about what our financial priorities are.  The idea is you list your priorities then you break them down into tasks that you can use to complete them.  So a priority might be to buy a house and to do that you need to get rid of your consumer debt, increase your credit score, save a down-payment etc.

This reminded me of one of the first sections in a David Bach book (probably Smart Couples Finish Rich) where he asks that you and your partner write down 5 basic core values that are important to you.  Then check your goals and see if they really fit with your core values.

Maybe you only *think* you want a house but when you look at your list of values, having a house doesn’t really fit.  For example, if your values are flexibility, new experiences, fame etc. then maybe renting and being able to move and travel is really what you want.

We did this exercise last year and I still have the envelope we used.  Mine are:


Though thinking about it, responsibility is probably another really big driving value for both of us.

Partner’s were:

enjoy life/time
be content/assured/centered

Our goals fit well with these priorities because they emphasize financial security and the ability to spend time not just making money.  We spend less so we can save more and not kill ourselves working.  We’ve chosen jobs that don’t pay as well as other jobs we could have but allow us freedom and growth.

It would be neat to see #2’s answer to this one.  Here’s a list to pick from if a list is needed.

#2 will pick (as you can see, I am somewhat indecisive, and am only picking off that list, for simplicity’s sake) :

Fulfillment — counting relationships and career
Fun — counting reading, sex, sleeping, enjoying food
Growth — intellectually and in our relationship
Humor — I love this about my partner, and his humor keeps me sane
Independence — financial, intellectual (but while having interdependent relationships)
Security — emotional, financial, career, relationship — including having enough money to take care of health

Note:  these are in alphabetical order, not priority order.  That seems harder.

#2’s partner hasn’t weighed in… yet!

What are your core values?  How do they relate to your financial goals?


16 Responses to “How do your values guide your financial goals?”

  1. First Gen American Says:

    Mine are very much the same as #1’s and in that order too.

    Family is the most important and the second most important thing is to make sure they are loved, fed, clothed and educated as best as I can. If that means working a job that I don’t like to put food on the table, then that’s what I’ll do.

    I’ll never be that person that up and quits my job one day to pursue some crazy dream that I’m not even sure will make me any happier than I am now. I do want to explore other careers and ways of life someday, but not until I’ve covered my bases and have plenty of financial security.

    I am also pretty miserable when my job is not challenging, so it makes sense that growth is above happiness.

    Although if I were to change one thing, I’d put health at the top because without health, it’s hard to do anything else. But the real question is, do I prioritize health financially? We spend money on healthy foods and vitamins and we also spend money on sporting equipment and activities. I guess we do put our money where our mouth is.

  2. Everyday Tips Says:


    It is interesting, because absence of any of the above turns my world upside down.

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      All good things to have!

      How do they relate to your financial goals?

      • Everyday Tips Says:

        Well, my ultimate goal is financial independence. However, that goal is somewhat put on hold as all our money goes toward family, specifically kids. We do focus a lot of discretionary funds on fun since we will only have kids at home a few more years.

        Health has become a huge focus for us as not only does good health improve quality of life, but health (or lack thereof) can really impact your finances. I am willing to spend any amount of money to maintain health. In the end, it is cheaper to spend now to hopefully save later.

        Security and contentment are the end result of having health and financial stability. In the end, we do not save nearly as much as we could because we are willing to spend on experiences and tuition. However, we live just fine and don’t have expensive needs.

  3. MutantSupermodel Says:

    Hmmm… you know you’ve given me a lot to think about lately. Here’s what I drew up just now but it ties into what I’ve been mulling over in my head lately too–
    My Family
    Peace of mind/Inner calm
    Fun with loved ones

  4. julier Says:

    So if time = money, let’s say that time is the commodity being spent instead of $$. Would you lists look the same? Just curious.

  5. Squirrelers Says:

    Peace of Mind
    Financial Security

    Really, as I look at these, 4 of them relate to financial goals but I probably don’t incorporate fun into my finances – I’m more responsibility focused when it comes to money. I love fun like anyone else though, so maybe I need to be willing to allocate more money to just pure fun….food for thought…..

  6. Suzita @ Says:

    Yes this is from Smart Couples Finish Rich, because it’s the only book of his I’ve read. I read it probably 3 years ago now and my husband and I made our lists at that time and still have them. Very helpful. Bach talks about how writing something down, in and of itself, makes it more likely to happen. I’ve read this idea in a few different places and I love it. I’m pretty sure I love it because it’s the easiest part of making a big goal happen. Just write it down.

  7. bogart Says:

    Well, this was interesting, working from that list. Tough in that, you know, who doesn’t want happiness? But that didn’t actually make my list in part because I feel it’s redundant; if I have the other stuff, I’ll be happy. My five are

    Financial Security

    I almost nixed Financial Security and replaced it with a word of my own, which was Productivity. I see this as sort of a blend between Success and Service: I’d like my job to be one that makes things better. This doesn’t have to be “big picture” (necessarily) and it doesn’t have to be “… for the least of us.” So, working in academia in an admin. role, on one level, if I help “good” faculty do “good” work (or “good” students get “good” training, or “OK” students learn “valuable” or “important” skills) then maybe I’m there. But there are actually some particular sorts of professional things I’d like to achieve that my current job as currently configured doesn’t lend itself to; also, there’s the question of whether I’m making a unique contribution or could be replaced (with no loss to productivity overall, I mean, not no loss to me). But if I’m honest about it, for now I really have decided to prioritize financial security over productivity — it is something I’ve consciously thought about and committed myself to. But it’s worth remembering I don’t always want to have FS over P at item 5 on my list forever. And perhaps more generally, I’d guess/hope that these items change over a (single) lifetime for most of us. I guess I’d like two lists, or 3 — goals achieved, highest current goals, and goals-in-waiting.

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      My guy is very much like that in terms of productivity. He wants to do good work and be valued. Me, I tend to think more in terms of growth– I want to move forward, climb up etc.

      Re: happiness… it’s on there for me because when I’m not happy I fight for happiness. I really dislike being unhappy and get very determined that I am going to do whatever it takes to stop being unhappy, no matter how difficult or unpleasant.

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