There’s a saying in Spanish “dime con quien andas, y te diré quien eres.” This roughly translates to “tell me who your friends are and I’ll tell you who you are.” I’m officially trademarking the saying “tell me how you spend your money, and I’ll tell you what you value.” I might just make that my business tagline.
Let’s say I haven’t done a values exercise, but always told myself that you value adventure and new experiences. However, when you look at how you spend money over the course of a month, you notice that you don’t actually spend any money on doing anything adventurous or new. Every discretionary dollar goes towards dinner with friends at your usual spot or the monthly membership to the same pilates studio you’ve been going to for 5 years.
There’s nothing wrong with any of that, but it just shows that you prioritize routine/predictability and not what you had been telling yourself all along. You’re out of sync with your values, and that can lead you to a life that doesn’t feel right for you. What is the point of a beautiful pair of shoes that don’t actually fit you?
In that vein, here are some steps to take to ensure your financial and life priorities are aligned:
Look at your values. Take some time to do a values exercise. List them out 1-5.
Examine where your money is going. Not to induce guilt or shame into your finances, but purely to see if your expenses match up to what you’ve outlined as your top values.
Make adjustments as needed. If you find that you’ve been spending money in a way that is out of sync with your values, then take time to either reprioritize your values or adjust how you spend your money so that you’re in alignment. Using the previous example, maybe sign up for a ClassPass and have your friends each pick a new cuisine to eat every week rather than sticking with your usual routine.
Rinse and repeat once or twice a year. We are dynamic people and what we value can change. Taking the time to revisit this exercise periodically can help you stay on top of where you are and where you want to go. It’s really the key in mindfully creating a life that you actually want to live (not your tio Jose’s dream life that is actually your worst nightmare) and effectively making it happen. After all, creating priorities and not executing them is probably one of the most depressing things I can think of. I’ve been there, and I don’t want it to happen to you.
Let me know your thoughts on all this. I hope it’s sparked some ideas in your head, and above all, helps you to live the life of your dreams. Drop me a line if you want to talk more!