Mississippi Money: Holiday Values
Holidays are when we take the time to focus on what is important to us. We reflect on what went well in the past year and what we want to work on in the coming year. Holidays are when we focus on our values.
I have had a difficult time defining values on paper, but everyone has them. Values are what drive you and define you. Values are the structure in which we evaluate choices and make decisions. This holiday season, take the time to reflect on the things that are most important to you. What of your current life do you hope to keep in the future? What goal do you have that is so important you are willing to fail before you get it? When you picture your future, what are the features you can see with the most clarity and detail? Questions like these can seem silly to ask yourself, but are an effective way to find what your values are.
Thinking about personal finance within a values framework is a powerful process. Knowing your values informs your financial goals. Your values shape your budget and your values guide your spending. Once you know your values, your budgeting process and goals will be more meaningful. Once I realized I did not value new clothes as much as I valued good food, it was easy for me to spend less money at J Crew and not feel as bad about an extra dinner out.
Each of my goals connects to a value of mine. My decision to purchase a house and at the same time maximize my Roth IRA contributions is related to my valuing personal stability and security. My cash I set aside and my flight-rewards credit card come from my valuing regular travel. When I think about the house I own, I focus on having space that is welcoming to the friends and family that I value deeply.
Holidays naturally bring us back to what is important. Take the time to connect with what is important to your life. With your values as your guide, every action you take will be more intentional and effective at reaching your goals!
By Ryder Taff