Many people are discovering that their financial journeys are even more fulfilling when they align their plans with their values. These investing, spending, and giving strategies could help you grow your nest egg while also putting your values in action.
1. SMART money goals
It’s important to remember that some of our most cherished values are less global and more personal. Perhaps the importance of higher education is a value you want to put in action by planning for your child’s college tuition. Perhaps you value living within your means and you want to pay down your credit cards this year.
Setting SMART money goals works for values of any size. For example, let’s say you value family time, and you want to start saving for a post-pandemic vacation:
Specific – We’re going to Florida for the 4th of July!
Measurable – I’m budgeting $5,000 for this trip.
Attainable – We can use money we saved from our cancelled 2020 vacation.
Realistic – I can safely put an extra $500 per month into this vacation fund.
Timed – By the end of June, I’ll have the $5000 saved for this trip.
2. Charitable giving
Does an annual holiday donation to your local food bank fill you with good cheer? Establishing a long-term charitable plan could make giving back a year-round source of fulfillment. Most charitable and nonprofit organizations offer recurring donation options that charge you monthly or annually like any other bill. Talking to your family about working important causes into your household budget can make those donations feel more purposeful and rewarding.
Of course, it doesn’t have to be about money. You can also support causes you care about by “donating” your time and talents. Identify one or two causes you care about, and take action – get involved! Help them run events, become a board member, and participate in key events. This can really connect you with your values.
Charitable giving can also help to make estate planning a more positive process. Setting aside a portion of your hard-earned assets to help others in perpetuity builds a real legacy that will inspire your heirs and your community for generations.
3. Local shopping
The single most powerful tool in your financial plan is your household spending. And while we often talk about the importance of budgeting to make sure you’re hitting your saving and investing goals, you can also put your values to work by being more intentional about the money you do spend every month.
This is especially true as we begin to emerge from pandemic lockdowns. As it becomes safer to shop in your community, consider making a few less bulk delivery orders from big box retailers and spend a bit more at your local grocer or farmer’s market. Swap out a couple fast food meals every month with carry-out from a local restaurant. Often these local options are a bit more expensive. But as long as these purchases fit your budget, think of the extra cost as an investment in businesses that keep your community working.
Of course, whether you want to take a vacation or set up a family charitable trust, planning ahead is always the “smart” strategy. Let’s talk about the values you want to incorporate into your Life-Centered Plan in 2021.
Joni Lindquist, MBA, CFP®, a former corporate executive, is a Principal, Financial Planner and Executive Coach at Aspyre Wealth Partners. She helps people Master What’s Next®, no matter what phase of life. Aspyre partners with clients to navigate life transitions. A dog lover, Joni also golfs, exercises, travels, and watches old mystery TV shows.