What is the last thing you bought? Take a quick look at your bank statement to remind you… Any chance that purchase has taken you another step closer to living your best life? If, like most people, your answer is no, this episode is for you.
Today I’ll take you through an exercise that I do with my financial coaching clients to discover what your spending habits (and how you choose to spend your time) are revealing about what you REALLY value. Being true to your values often comes with big (tough) choices, and it can be a hard realisation that you’re spending more money on clothes or cars than on doing things that bring you joy.
Because time and to a certain extent, money, are finite, there’s not enough of either to be spending them doing things that won’t get you and keep you on the journey towards your best life. Being honest with yourself about where your energy (and money) is going is the first step. Now let’s get out that bank statement…
- [00.30] An exercise (using your bank statement and your calendar) to identify whether your values align with your lived life.
- [01.40] The two assets that help you achieve your best life.
- [02.19] A couple of reasons you may be making the choices you are.
- [03.52] Prioritising money:
- the value of independence
- the challenge with giving your children the best of everything
- how to live now AND invest for the future
- [08.29] Prioritising time:
- The importance of rest and time together.
- [10.28] Living according to your values: what you can do now.
Related Posts and Episodes
- The challenge of giving your kids the best
- The little known secret to living now AND saving for the future
- One thing you CAN do
- Empowerment through financial literacy with Gugu Sidaki
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“You see we only live our Best Life when we are aligned with what we value most.” – Lisa Linfield
“The thing with prioritising is that something’s got to give.” – Lisa Linfield
“You can live now AND invest for the future by choosing what’s worth spending money on, and what’s not.” – Lisa Linfield
“We are our most creative selves when we have rest time, or time with people that fills up our joy tanks.” – Lisa Linfield
Hello everyone and welcome to Working Women’s Wealth. This is the show where we focus on chatting through how you can live your Best Life.
There’s an exercise I do with my financial coaching clients where I ask them to tell me their five top values. There are many that we can choose from, but I ask them to prioritise the top five. Inevitably, there’s stuff such as family, friends, God, work, health etc.
We then turn to their calendar and bank statements, and categorise the last 3 months of spending and time. And it’s amazing how far apart ones stated values are and ones lived life can be.
The result blows people’s minds away.
You see we only live our Best Life when we are aligned with what we value most. And there are two assets we have that help us achieve our Best Life – our time and our money. There is a third, our health, but today we won’t cover that.
Some people are time rich and money poor. In this case, poor means scarce or lack of. So they have lots of free time, but not much free money. Some people are time poor and money rich. Most of us are money and time poor.
And so life becomes a series of tough choices.
Sometimes those choices are made consciously, and sometimes they are part of the huge part of our life that’s on autopilot, and so just happen rather automatically.
Now, as I talk about in my book, Deep Grooves: Overcoming Patterns That Keep You Stuck, it is not laziness that our brain’s go on autopilot. The brain is the most energy intense part of our body. So it develops many ways to become more efficient.
Also, we’re not taught to question ours and other’s thinking. We’re taught to stay within the tribe. That comfort is king, and not our Best Life.
The problem is that time and to a certain extent, money, are finite. And so there’s not enough of either to be spending them doing things that won’t get you and keep you on the journey towards your best life.
The reason people are so shocked by the exercise, is that when I show them in a picture how their money and time is spent, it’s a hard realisation that they spend more money on clothes or cars than on doing things that bring them joy, and more time watching TV than with their kids.
Last week, I spent some time teaching a company’s employees about The Six Keys to Wealth. They had the most amazing response – so many saying they wish they’d knew these things when they were twenty.
They had just received their annual bonus’s, and the company wisely invested in getting me to help them think differently about how they spend them.
We discussed the value of independence – being able to look after ourselves and our kids. The challenge with that value is that it requires a conscious effort to achieve it. If left to our own devices, every single one of us would spend every penny we have. And so being true to that value comes with big choices.
One of the team raised the choice of spending more money on your kids’ education. “I can’t save,” he said, “because so much money is going to educating them.”
I totally understand that! Our biggest single expense is our children’s education.
But, the thing with prioritising is that something’s gotto give. And if not relying on your children in your old age is a priority for you, then everything else needs to take a back seat. And you need to have your values very clear in order to stick with your choices.
If your children are going to an expensive school, you don’t need to subscribe to having the expensive car, the expensive holidays, the big expensive house, and the expensive entertainment bills that go with it.
It’s like saying “If I walk into MacDonalds, I can’t just buy the burger. I need to buy the burger, the chips, the coke as well as the desert”.
You may want to, but you don’t need to.
I always say, you can live now AND invest for the future by choosing what’s worth spending money on, and what’s not.
John and I recently had cause to do some deep discussions on what we’re wanting for our future, and what we’re prepared to give up to get it. We have a few tough decisions to make – but when we look at those decisions in line with our values, the answer is surprisingly clear. Definitely not easy, but crystal clear.
My eldest daughter is going to boarding school, and we were deciding on whether we were going to rent or buy a house near the school as we will be going down every second weekend. We ran all the numbers and saw tons of options over 3 different weekends.
When we were discussing the options at the end of all the visits, the girls naturally chose the biggest, most beautiful place. It was gorgeous. So we then went into the discussion of choices – that we could rent that beautiful place, but it would mean we wouldn’t have money to spend on nice holidays so would have to spend all our holidays there. Or, we could go for a smaller place and still be able to go away for holidays.
It was such an important lesson for all of us. Even to my 8 year olds the choice was easy. A small place and holidays was way more important than a big place, but not being able to do much else.
Oh my goodness, this is my hardest thing to do.
Because to be honest, I love spending time working. I love the feeling of achieving. I’m not good on pushing back on timelines to get things done.
But the last few months have made me realise that I need to be way more disciplined about choosing more time with my family and more time for rest.
We are our most creative selves when we have rest time, or time with people that fills up our joy tanks.
But I struggle to lie on the couch reading a book, or doing a puzzle, if I know that either work has to be, or could be done. If I’m excited about a new idea, I’d rather head to my home office and work on it than read a book or do a puzzle.
But Covid changed many things – in particular, with the girls not going to school, and us not being allowed out on vacations, if I’m not with them, they’ll often be on devices. So I make time to be with them. Also, we now all have meals together as a family, which causes me to stop my work and take a break.
In my book, I talk about how work is a Short-Term Hit of Happiness. A bit like white sugar, it gives you an initial sense of achievement, and then drops you down. So we keep striving to achieve. But joy, rest, and time with people we love is like a healthy low GI meal. You don’t get the sugar spike, but it powers you for far longer.
Each night our family does ‘favourite thing of the day’. I’ve started to point out to the girls that their favorite thing of the day almost always involves another human. It’s never Minecraft or reading. It’s always time together.
Each one of us needs to consciously choose to live according to our values. And that means thinking deeply about what our diary and bank statement tells us are the values we’re living, versus the values that will help us lead our Best Life.
So for all of you out there, do the exercise. Get 3 months bank statements and 3 months calendar diaries, and see where you’re prioritising your time and money.
Then, actively time block out some time each week to spend time doing things that bring you joy. And have the conversations with your family as to where you want to spend your money