What Are Your Personal Core Values?

"It's not hard to make decisions when you know what your values are." - Roy Disney

What Are My Core Values?

>>This is part of The Ultimate Financial Planning Guide. 

What are your core values? What matters most to you in life? (Insert awkward silence) It is a question we often ask ourselves but have you taken the time to sit down and think - and I mean, really think - about it?  

You're in good company if you can't quite answer this question definitively at the moment. I was there not too long ago. 

Your core values (also called personal values) are your guiding principles for your life.

They are the things you believe are important in your life and determine your priorities. Together, they make up your ‘why’. 

Understanding your personal core values can help you get clear on what’s working and what’s not working in your life so that you can align your actions with what you hold most important.

The end result? Greater happiness with yourself, your lifestyle, and your future. 

Core values are deeply personal. They are beliefs and things you feel are most important to you. Not to your parents, not your spouse (yea, tell me about it!), not even to your children. Don't get me wrong, you can have the same values as other people. Just don't get caught up trying to live out other people's expectations of what your core values should be. 

When we live according to our core values, we feel a sense of ease and direction in our choices. Conversely, we often feel out of tune when we make decisions that are not aligned with our values. But, it is really hard to make decisions when we can’t clearly articulate our core values.

I know what you're thinking, and the answer is yes. We all have core values, some people are just more aware and nurturing of theirs than others. 

Often find yourself dreaming about traveling around the world? (I have a sneaky feeling that most people can relate to this one). Then Adventure might be one of your core values. 

Other core values include: 

  • Giving
  • Autonomy 
  • Friendship
  • Faith
  • Growth 

Why Personal Core Values Are Important In Financial Planning

Here's the thing. Personal core values highly dictate your behavior, ambition, and desires. And because of this, they should be the centerpiece of your financial plan and goals. How well you understand your core values will determine how strong your financial plan will be. What's more, if you structure your financial goals around your core values, you will be motivated to push yourself further in pursuing these goals. 

Think about it: If you truly desire to travel and seek adventure, and you set up a financial goal to finance a trip to the Bahamas, wouldn't you be more likely to skip that last-minute happy hour and instead save toward your trip? After all, connection (one of the values that might drive someone to go to a happy hour, even an unplanned one) mightn't be one of your core values anyways. 

With the right core values, you will be driven to pursue your goals. You will be driven to work harder and take more risks. 

In doing this, you will live a more meaningful life, spending your time on things that nurture your core values and bring you joy.

A Personal Values Example

Now let's get real personal. One of my personal core values is Adventure.  

Adventure matters to me because I do not want to be tied to a particular place or job, a certain way of thinking about or doing things. I refuse to be put in a box and often challenge the status quo. The bottom line is that I thoroughly enjoy new experiences. 

Whether it is discovering a new trail in a neighborhood park or moving to a new continent, heck to a new city, I thoroughly enjoy new adventures. 

In a lot of ways, this has been shaped by different things in my life. For example, I left my family, friends, and life as I knew it and moved to a whole new continent at the age of 18. Spoiler alert - I've done this 4 more times (yes, moved continents) as an adult since. 

My adventure core value has not evolved much over time - most core values rarely do - but some core values can evolve as your circumstances change.   

What are YOUR Core Values? 

Okay, your turn! Cozy in and get comfortable coz we are gonna do this. 

Are you happy with your life especially as it pertains to your finances? Would you like to make some purposeful changes to how you interact with your money? Don't we all? The difference is whether or not we take action to make these changes. 

In a few minutes, you can get started with identifying your personal core values so that you can truly live a meaningful life guided by your personal values. Get started by downloading your free personal core values worksheet below to help you uncover your core values and start living the life you want. 

The ball is now in your court. Identify and prioritize your personal core values from the personal core values list then proceed to set SMART financial goals and action items that align with your personal core values in chapter 2 of this guide. 

Ready to learn all about setting SMART financial goals, and find out just how core values intersect with your financial goals? Well, let's jump to the next chapter.  


How to Set SMART Financial Goals