Whether you like it or not, money is involved (directly or indirectly) in almost every decision you make. So, understanding your money values allows you to create a life you love.
This is your life ship we’re talking about. Take the helm!
*Snag the free money values worksheet to help you too!
What are money values? How Do They Work?
Money values are the beliefs that run in the background of your mind as you go about your day. They shape all of your actions around money.
For a few examples, your core money values will determine:
- if you have a hard time spending money on yourself
- if you are ok with excessive debt
- whether you have separate or together accounts with your partner
- whether you say no to a friend who constantly asks for money
What Makes Money Values So Important?
They determine your entire future! Money values are the difference between:
- Whether you control your money or it controls you.
- Being wealthy or just rich (and secretly broke).
- Living life on your terms or always working for your next payday.
Money values give you the “why” and motivation you need to achieve your financial goals. They help you determine what you want your future to look like.
And once you align actions with values, you respect yourself a thousand times more. You feel confident and at peace.
List of Money Values Examples
Here are a few examples of money values. This does not include the full array of personal values you can have.
If you value security, then an emergency fund is a must. It’s also important not to take more risk than you can stomach on your worst day.
Being helpful to society and making a positive impact are what make life worth living. If you value impact, then you look for opportunities to do good in the world.
What will you leave behind when you go?
Our time on Earth is limited. Do you want to leave a financial legacy to your kids or favorite organization?
Your legacy can also be indirectly affected by money. Perhaps your legacy is a beautiful library full of books. A life of service. Or teaching your kids to manage money so that they create their own wealth, freedom, and security.
Compassion & Generosity
Empathy for others is the cornerstone of humanity. And it takes time, energy, or money to be generous to others. If this is a core money value for you, you may make regular donations, volunteer regularly, or teach your children to be giving to others.
If you value adventure, then you take vacations and enjoy “mini” adventures near your home. These may be expensive, or not. But they disrupt your routine enough to feel that you are living a life of rich experience.
Kids won’t remember the stuff you buy them. But they will remember the time you spent with them.
Spending money on experiences with your family is a great way to make the most of this money value. It’s also ok to show your family that you don’t have to spend money to have fun. There are many free things to do with kids.
No one talks about discipline because it’s boring. Society loves to believe in overnight successes instead.
But, doing the things you know are right (even when you want to quit) is exactly how those “overnight successes” reached their goals.
Success is a predominant money value in our culture. Advancing in your career or growing a business can be meaningful pursuits. If this is your money value, then you make it a priority.
First, define exactly what “success” means to you.
A Growth Mindset
If you have this as a money value, then you spend your money on conferences, books, and classes. A growth mindset person spends their time improving, and often this takes investing in themselves.
Independence & Freedom
Debt is difficult for people who have this money value. It goes against their future freedom. They also like to work for themselves or have a schedule that they control.
How to Determine Your Money Values
Now, I bet a few of the values above resonated with you. But how will you determine your big money values?
Reflect on the values you grew up with (& Want To Keep)
We all grow up with a set of money values that have been intentionally (or unintentionally) passed down to us. You don’t need to label these as good or bad. They are often much more complicated.
My Example: My parents paid off their home mortgage many years ago. They paid cash for cars too. Because this was my experience, I came into adulthood hating the idea of debt.
Write down when and where money stresses you out
Determining the life situations that make you anxious will help you pinpoint your money values faster.
My Example: We have a family member who gives lots of gifts to my kids. But while this brings her joy, it completely stresses me out. As do birthdays and holidays for the same reason.
This is a great way to determine where you may not be in alignment with your values. I need to find ways to declutter or set better boundaries.
Write down where money boosts your life.
Think about your health, partner, family, friends, and career. Where have you spent money and felt it was a true investment in your quality of life?
My Example: During the pandemic, a friend recommended Peloton. I used the app for two years before committing to the bike. It’s the best investment I’ve ever made for my health. And therefore worth every penny.
Write down your dreams
Turn your values into goals and make them a reality.
- Cushion your emergency fund
- Go on the vacation
- Retire in style
My Example: Security is one my core money values. So, I put away a year of business expenses into a savings account. Will I ever need my business emergency fund? I hope not! The real purpose is to give peace of mind.
Look at your influences now
Studies show that we are like the 5 people we are most around. Take this seriously! How do your partner’s core money values rub off on you? What about your friends? Or close family members?
My Example: My husband is more open to taking risks. I remain conservative (security based), but his perspective has helped me see that without risk there is no reward.
Activities To Find Your Money Values
Next, try these activities to help you get to the heart of those money values.
Do the Free Money Values worksheet
Determine the kind of person you want to be overall.
Write 5 overall values. Now, write your 3 top priorities.
Next, look at your schedule for the next month. Do these match up?
Make a vision board
Check out this article for making a great money vision board >>
Make a five year plan With Your Money Values
In your ideal future, what do you want your life to look like in 5 years?
Pro Tip: Get as crystal clear as possible!
Now, scale your five-year plan down to one year. And finally, scale it down to the next three months. What do you need to do now, to be well on your way to your five-year plan?
Write Down Your Financial Goals
Finally, put your money values into action by writing specific money goals for your future. You can do this alongside a five-year plan, vision board, or ask yourself these financial questions.
Now Live Your Money Values
What does living your values come down to in everyday life? How many vacations do you want to take? How fit do you want to be? That is for you to determine.
Forgive yourself when you fall off the wagon, and then get right back in it. Your money values are the marathon of life. Not a 50-yard dash. It’s about consistency.
Related: Save Money & Live Better
Pro Tip: Find accountability. Start a texting group, share on social media, or make a bet to keep your going when it gets tough.
Revisit Your Money Values Over Time
Your money values may change over time. And that’s ok. Our life experiences and inner circle continue to influence us. Revisit this from time to time to check in with whether you are where you want to be.
Now, what are your money values?