Just the other day I was asked by a friend whether they’re saving enough for retirement. I jokingly replied, “I don’t know.” This answer applies when I’m asking about college savings, buying a vacation home, or any large financial goal.

The reason why I respond this way is because it ultimately boils down to what you value and therefore what you want to prioritize financially. We like to take our clients through a values exercise where we have a deck of cards and each card has a different value on it. A few examples are meaningful work, family, health, creativity, security, and service. In this exercise, we take the 50 different values and whittle them down to your top 5. This is always fascinating when doing with a couple to see how theirs are similar and different.

Once we know what your top 5 values are, we can prioritize your financial decisions based on the results. Let’s look at a few examples:

  1. You’re offered a great new job with a significant pay raise but increased stress and travel.  If your top priorities are family and health, taking the job doesn’t make sense.  However, if your top values are meaningful work and you’re able to express creativity through your work, taking the job is the right decision.
  2. You’re beginning to plan for your children’s college educations.  If you graduated with significant student debt and want to leave a different legacy for your children, then you fund college more and know that you’ll have to work a few more years to make up for the lost retirement savings.  If financial freedom for your retirement is most important, then you save for retirement and help your children find other ways to pay for college

What we find is our clients who align their money and their values are the happiest and most able to achieve their goals.  If you’d like to discuss how this applies to you or do this values exercise, please contact us and we’ll be happy to help!