Aligning Personal Values with Financial Goals

By Sean Condon, CFP®

What do your values truly mean to you, and how do they manifest in your life, relationships, work, home, and finances?  In our age of abundance and overwhelming information, it is vital to clearly create a framework that supports your value system.

Although aligning personal values with your financial situation may seem straightforward, it can be a complex undertaking that often requires an outside perspective.  We invite you to read the following guide to help you make the connection between your personal values and your financial goals and dreams.

Identify Your True Values

Start by separating your values into two categories: the values you were taught, and the values that truly make you happy.  There may be some overlap between the two, but the goal is to find out if there is a difference between the values you think you have and the values that are truly meaningful in your life.

For example, you may have been taught to work hard and pour your soul into a job that pays well, but maybe it is not bringing you any personal satisfaction.  You might find more fulfillment from a vocation that pays less but whose mission and excellent work you believe in.  To start this process, psychologist Jim Taylor recommends answering the following three questions:

  • What do you choose to do in your life on a daily basis?
  • What activities are you passionate about that bring you true joy when you participate in them?
  • What experiences and people cause you to feel deeply engaged and connected to the world around you?

Digging into these questions can uncover the values you hold that truly fulfill you and bring joy to your life. If you are constantly unhappy, whether that be from your job, your financial behaviors, or something else, this is a sign that you may not be living according to your true values.

Understand Your Money Mindset

You also need to take stock of your money mindset.  Your money mindset has been cultivated from your life experience.  You may have learned good financial habits from your parents.  You may have even learned bad financial habits if you watched your parents fail financially. Whatever your experiences have been with personal finances, they are the key to understanding why you behave the way you do around financial matters.

Understanding your money mindset is important because it allows you to grow intentionally. Identifying a toxic or substandard financial mindset is the first step to changing that mindset.  By knowing what you want to change, you are in more control over how and when you change it.

Sync Your Ideal Life with Your Lived Life

After all this reflection, your ideal life probably looks a bit different from your reality.  To reach that ideal lifestyle, you must synchronize your “living life” with the values you identified that make you happy.  Remember that these are the values that connect you to the activities, experiences, and people which bring you the most fulfillment.

So how do we do this?  There is an old saying that the checkbook and the calendar do not lie.  Show someone how you spend your money and how you spend your time, and they will know what is important to you.  Take a moment to be honest with yourself: does how you spend your time and your money align with what really matters to you?

If not, it is time to create financial goals that truly reflect your values.  When financial goals are connected to your values, your money becomes the tool that allows you to reach the real goal, rather than being the end goal in and of itself.  From this vantage point, you are ready to experience long-lasting happiness.

Money Can Buy Happiness?

While we all know that the satisfaction gained from most material purchases can be fleeting, money can buy happiness if it is aligned with your values.  Author and Harvard “happiness professor” Arhtur Brooks suggests that while money alone will not buy happiness, there are ways money can enhance well-being and life satisfaction depending on the person.  Here are a few examples:

  1. Investing in Experiences: Brooks highlights that spending money on experiences such as travel, concerts, or memorable events tends to bring more lasting happiness than spending on material possessions. These experiences create cherished memories and contribute to a sense of fulfillment.
  2. Supporting Others: supporting and helping others, whether through charitable donations or helping friends and family in need. Generosity and acts of kindness can bring a sense of purpose and joy.
  3. Investing in Education: investing in education or skills development can lead to greater career opportunities and, consequently, financial security and personal fulfillment. This aligns with the idea that investing in personal growth can lead to long-term happiness.
  4. Reducing Financial Stress: Managing money wisely and avoiding excessive debt can reduce financial stress and anxiety, contributing to overall well-being.
  5. Giving Back: Engaging in philanthropic activities and contributing to causes one cares about can provide a sense of purpose and happiness.

An Advisor That Connects to Your Values

An advisor may be right for you if you are seeking to:

  1. Clarify your values
  2. Learn how to make progress
  3. Be held accountable

While everybody wants a clean, straight line between their current reality and their goals, life does not work this way.  You may have a child, sell a business, or come upon unexpected expenses.  Your situation is always changing and therefore your goals themselves may change. We all have our own financial blind spots – when situations change, a good advisor can help you spot them and make course corrections.

By considering your values and what matters most to you, an advisor can collaborate to make smart choices that align your dreams with your actions.  Then you can spend less time worrying about your money and more time focusing on what is important to you and your family.

To explore our services, we invite you to schedule a no-obligation introductory phone call at (844) 377-4963 or by emailing  You can also book an appointment online here.  Let us work together to empower your financial journey and create a life that connects with your deepest values

Perritt Capital Management, Inc. is the Registered Investment Advisor for Windgate Wealth Management accounts and does not provide tax advice. Consult your professional tax advisor for questions concerning your personal tax or financial situation and your insurance agent for insurance advice.

Data here is obtained from what are considered reliable sources. We consider the data used to be relevant and reliable.

First published September 2023.

Past Performance does not guarantee future results.

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