Are you aware of what values drive your life? Perhaps you have done one of those exercises that help you recognise what your values are. Perhaps you even have them written down in a journal or a file.
What are the values that you live by? What will your bank account say about your values? What do you spend your money on? Will that tell another story? If I study your expenses, what will they indicate about where your money is flowing? When you say that you value family, where are the expenses that show me the value you place on family? Or when there’s so much money generously flowing to helping others, but there’s not enough flowing to your retirement, what does that say about the value you place on security?
And whose values are being imprinted on the spending? Is your value for security overriding your partner’s value for family? Where is the room for your children’s priorities? Or vice versa, will your bank statements tell me that you’re allowing your family to run roughshod over your own values? Is the spending channelled only to their needs and wants, or their education, so that there is nothing left for your priorities? It’s ok to spend a lot of money on whatever you choose, but is it by design, or by default? Is the money just flowing there because there is little channelling happening elsewhere?
Equally telling, what will your diary tell me about your values? Is it all about work, work, work? Where are the slots dedicated to the value you place on family? Where are the slots for rest or friendships? How much time do you spend having fun? Where are the time slots for your financial planning or just even examining your bank account? Where are the time slots for personal development or growth, exercise or wellness?
It was Stephen Covey, who first alerted me to this way of looking at time in his book First Things First. You should be able to tell your values or priorities from studying your diary. We cannot achieve balance and inner peace if our diaries and bank accounts do not align with our values. There will always be a jarring, a sense of unease, or friction in our relationships if we don’t address the misalignment of our values and our resources.
Is it time to reconsider? To do an audit on our money and time?
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