Making it Personal: Behind the Scenes of Busting the Scarcity Mindset

It’s time for the next sneak peek behind the scenes of our upcoming book on busting the scarcity mindset! Below are some excerpts from Chapter 4: Make It Personal: Match Money to Values.

Make It Personal: Match Money to Values

As you create wealth for yourself and your family, it’s essential to match your money to your values. Knowing and aligning with your values is important at all stages of money growth and management: your earning, investing, and spending. By making your wealth creation and management personal, you make it purposeful.

Identify Your Values

The first step to matching your money to your values is taking time to identify your values. As we cover in Chapter 2, money is a tool. Therefore, your values are the motivating force behind that tool, putting it into motion. You may already have a clear idea of your core values. However, if you don’t, below are several examples of core values to get you started. I recommend narrowing down to your top 3-5 core values in order to simplify and focus your money management around those. Which ones resonate most with you? 

  1. Integrity: Adhering to moral and ethical principles, being honest and fair.
  2. Respect: Valuing others, treating everyone with dignity and consideration.
  3. Responsibility: Being accountable for your actions and duties.
  4. Compassion: Showing kindness, empathy, and a willingness to help others.
  5. Courage: Facing challenges and taking risks despite fear.
  6. Commitment: Dedication to a cause, goal, or relationship.
  7. Innovation: Valuing creativity and the pursuit of new ideas and solutions.
  8. Excellence: Striving for the highest quality and continuous improvement.
  9. Sustainability: Focusing on long-term environmental, social, and economic health.
  10. Community: Prioritizing social connections, collaboration, and contributing to the well-being of others.

Identifying your values is essential for aligning your financial decisions—earning, investing, and spending—with what truly matters to you. When you reflect on your financial experiences and consider what brought you the most satisfaction or discomfort, what do you notice? Which values come to the forefront?

Exercise for Reflection

  • Think about a job that made you feel fulfilled or a purchase that brought long-term happiness. 
  • Then recall times of financial stress or regret in order to reveal values that were compromised. 
  • Journal about these experiences to help you pinpoint the values underlying the feelings. 

Pay attention to the values that stand out to you–those behind your joy and your frustration. This process can guide you toward more value-aligned financial choices in the future.

Examining the financial habits of your role models can also provide valuable insights into your own values. Consider why you admire certain people’s financial decisions and what qualities they exhibit, such as generosity, careful discernment, or ambition. These admired traits can shed light on your personal financial values. 

You may also find clarity in discussing financial decisions with trusted friends, family, or mentors. These discussions can offer new perspectives and help you clarify your values. People close to you might notice patterns in your spending, saving, and investing behaviors that align with specific values you hold dear. It is always easier for others to see our patterns than it is for us.

Lastly, prioritizing and testing your financial values in real-life situations can further refine your understanding. Many of us are experiential learners and must learn by doing, by trial and error. Follow these steps to put your values to work in your life:

  • Rank your list of values by importance. 
  • Post them where you can see them on a daily basis, in a location where you make financial decisions. 
  • Then, make conscious efforts to align your earning, investing, and spending habits with these values. 

For example, if you value security, focus on building a robust emergency fund and making conservative investments. If generosity is important to you, allocate a portion of your budget to charitable giving and set up automatic monthly donations. By observing how you feel when your financial actions align with your values, you can make more informed and fulfilling decisions.

Your Values in Action

Ultimately, your habits, behaviors, and actions determine how your values play out in the world. In James Clear’s book, Atomic Habits, he discusses “the habit loop” of cue, craving, response, reward. The first phase, “cue” (aka trigger), is the most important for starting a new habit. When it comes to creating new habits to align your financial decisions with your values, you want to make it as easy on yourself as possible to make a change. Enter the “cue,” your secret weapon to getting a new financial habit to stick.

According to Clear, cues include: time, location, preceding event, emotional state, and other people. For example, if you wanted to begin a habit aligned with your value of innovation, you might want to tap into cues that could help you build a new business or invest in a startup. Say you wanted to dedicate two hours a week to this new venture. You could use a time cue, such as the same day and time each week, to do research, make calls, or attend a networking event. Or you could find an accountability partner (other people cue) to meet with you for those two hours each week and brainstorm together. When we intentionally build a new habit by using a cue that works for us, we set ourselves up for success.

Your Human Life Value

When we think of values on a macro level in the financial world, we cannot help but think about your Human Live Value (HLV). This is a helpful method for determining the maximum amount of life insurance you should have, taking into account factors like: income, retirement age, taxes, expenses and inflation rate. It asks the question, “If you were to die, how much money would it take to replace the economic value you bring to your family?” HLV uses your current income to predict your future earning potential, and therefore, can fluctuate year to year. While you can calculate it yourself to determine your insurance needs, I recommend working with a professional to fully understand your HLV. For a quick snapshot of your HLV, you can use an online calculator like the one at the website of the nonprofit organization, Life Happens

However, I like to think of your Human Life Value as more than a number you calculate to determine insurance needs when you die. Your HLV is equal to your life’s work. In other words, the value you possess and create in your lifetime is the most meaningful work you do. Value can be defined in a variety of ways, not just financial, though that is an obvious way to measure it. It may also be defined by the number of lives you touch, the impact you make, the creativity you express, and the love you give and receive. 

That said, numbers are a logical way to measure value because it is easy for the human mind to understand. Quantifying value makes it tangible. As an exercise in visioneering your future and focusing more on the living aspect of your Human Life Value, I encourage you to write out your goal for your HLV in terms of dollars as an experiment.* I recommend breaking it down into 3-5 major goals that will all add up to your total Human Life Value dollar amount at the end of your life. Dream big! What is each goal worth once completed? If you want to write out another value metric (i.e. # of people impacted, # art pieces created, etc.) next to the dollar value, go for it! The more specific you can be, the better. You can always change these goals and values over time.

*In the book, we’ll provide a tool for this exercise.

If you find you are resistant to placing a dollar value on your life goals, and your Human Life Value as a whole, I encourage you to face that resistance. Explore it. Perhaps reread Chapter 2 on seeing money as a tool to reconsider your perspective and learn new ways of looking at money. In the end, placing a dollar value on your big life goals, and ultimately your Human Life Value, will help you hone in on the value you are going to create for others. It is a service to all the people who will benefit from your value to do this exercise, you included!

This more expansive, futuristic way of thinking about Human Life Value is intended to help you narrow in on what you truly value in life and how to better align your money with your values while you’re alive

Sharing Your Values Through Your Talents

Now you’ve identified your core values, created new habits to align your financial decision-making with your values, and expanded your thinking with a broader understanding of your Human Life Value. This is the part where you live your values. On a daily basis, the path through a life of purpose is one on which you continually share your values through your talents. What talents and skills do you possess that are natural avenues for your values to shine? 

I’d love to read in the comments how you express your values through action. What do you notice about the velocity of money when you are aligned with your values? When we are in a flow state, using our talents for good in a way that feels personally fulfilling, there is usually a sense of ease financially. Scarcity naturally becomes a thing of the past, and we find ourselves standing strong in the middle of a rushing river of abundance, wealth flowing to, through, and from us. People line the riverbanks of our life, to support us, magnify our impact, and receive all the good we have to give. 

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