“Action expresses priorities.”
― Mahatma Gandhi
What is a discussion about priorities in life doing in a finance blog? Everything. Your priorities in life should be dictating what you’re spending your money on. If you’re not going through your life with intentionality, you won’t be aligning your resources with your priorities. If you’re not budgeting, then I can almost guarantee that you’re not spending money in line with your priorities.
Take a minute and jot down what you think your priorities are in priority order. It doesn’t have to be a huge list. After all, chances are that you’re never going to spend time or thought cycles on item number 78 in your list. If you are, you’re wasting your time. Don’t overthink it. Go from the gut. Malcolm Gladwell spent a lot of time researching why your gut is right (#aff), particularly when it comes to you.
Now, do you have anything which tracks your spending? Go to it and take a look. If you don’t have something, download your data into mint.com. Take a look at where you’re spending your money. Compare it to the list of what your priorities are.
Do they align? Probably not.
The voice inside your head is already thinking of retorts. I *have* to spend money on housing, the inner voice chides. Sure, but where does where you live rank in your priority list? If it’s number one, then, by all means, allocate more of your budget to housing and live in a nicer place, because that’s where you’re truly going to get the most meaning out of the money that you’re spending. Some people love their homes. They spend all of their time there and they host friends and they love it. They *should* be spending more of their resources to make their homes as comfortable and inviting as possible.
You can always make more money. But you can never make more time.
Does food rank that highly? Where is giving? Does your spending align with where those priorities are?
No list of Priorities in Life is right or wrong. If you spent the time to think about your priorities and you wrote truthfully and honestly, then the only right answer is the one that you put on the page. If you have the right answer on the page and it shows your priorities as they really are in your life, then does your financial life mirror those priorities?
If not, then it’s time you put them on track. Spend in accordance with your priorities. Eliminate your cognitive dissonance because you’re spending your resources on things which aren’t that meaningful to you. Find an accountabilibuddy who will hold you to the alignment between what you say is important and what you show is important. Then work to get to the point where you can spend your time in the same manner.
You can always make more money. But you can never make more time. Live a life that aligns with what is truly important to you.
- John Davis is a nationally recognized expert on credit reporting, credit scoring, and identity theft. He has written four books about his expertise in the field and has been featured extensively in numerous media outlets such as The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, CNN, CBS News, CNBC, Fox Business, and many more. With over 20 years of experience helping consumers understand their credit and identity protection rights, John is passionate about empowering people to take control of their finances. He works with financial institutions to develop consumer-friendly policies that promote financial literacy and responsible borrowing habits.
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