Whilst this may be an uncomfortable question to ask yourself, and it can certainly feel awkward when we ask it of our clients, it is a vital aspect of the planning we provide and helps you understand and define your significant ambitions in life. Our colleague Carl Richards explains more here
What’s important about money to you?
This is an uncomfortable question because we aren’t used to thinking about money in those terms. But it’s one of my favourite questions to ask.
The purpose of this question isn’t to think in terms of goals; it’s meant to go deeper than that or to get at the reason why we have certain goals.
The first answers people come up with are usually easy—things like security and freedom. But once we pause and really think, we can move even deeper still, or into what might be called the “why” of money.
This question gets uncomfortable because it forces us to get really clear about our underlying reason for doing things. It also forces us to face some inconsistencies in our lives.
Let’s say the first thing you come up with when you ask yourself the question, “What’s important about money?” is indeed freedom or security.
Then, the next question you should ask yourself is, “What’s so important to me about freedom and security?’” From there, keep asking questions until you get to the thing that is most important to you.
Let me give you an example of how this works.
My friend, who we’ll call Sara, was a hard-charging professional whose career required her to be super-competitive. She was “type A” to the hilt and worked long hours. So when I talked to Sara and her husband and asked her this question, I was curious what she would say was most important.
“Freedom,” Sara said, almost instantly.
When I asked her what freedom meant, she replied, “More time.”
So I said, “Okay, let’s pretend you’re there. Let’s say you have more time. What’s so important about being at that spot?”
With some emotion, she said, “I just want the time to raise a child.”
Bingo. There’s Sara’s money “why.”
Now, don’t get caught up on Sara’s specific value. Her values are hers; your values may be completely different. The thing to keep in mind is that, like Sara, once you identify what’s most important to you, things get clearer.
Being able to answer this question gives you a lens through which to view your financial decisions. And after you’ve identified what’s most important, you’ll have incredibly useful information to help you make decisions that match your values.
In fact, it can make it easy to say no to things that distract you from what’s important. Like the self-help author Stephen Covey said, “It’s easy to say ‘no!’ when there’s a deeper ‘yes!’ burning inside.”
For Sara, her answer became that “deeper yes.” The same can be true for you. You just have to ask the question.
Source: Behavior Gap www.behavior.com