It’s the beginning of a new year, so of course we’re seeing lots of articles advising the best ways to start the year off right. Financial firms will likely be advising you to set financial goals, develop concrete steps for reaching those goals, pay off your debt, use new technology to make saving easier, open new accounts, invest better, and so on.

 

We’re not knocking any of those ideas, but what if instead of looking at your finances through the lens of bottom-line profit and the same old tools to get there, you looked at your financial life a bit differently? What if instead you saw money as just one strand in the tapestry of your whole life – a strand completely interwoven and aligned with the other strands in your life? What would your “resolutions” for the new year be then?

 

Here at Chicory Wealth, we’ve been thinking about this, and we’ve got a few ideas for some different financial new year’s resolutions:

 

  1. Examine your “emotional baggage” around money. Does thinking about money make you excited? anxious? afraid? frivolous? guilty? queasy? Why do you have these feelings, and where did they come from? Did someone model these emotional reactions, or did something happen in your past to exacerbate them? How do these feelings affect your idea of what is “enough,” as well as your habits around earning, spending, saving, and giving? There are many ways you could go about examining your emotions around money, for example journaling about them or talking to a trusted friend or professional. Being honest about your emotional reactions to and automatic behavior around money is the first step toward moving beyond them.

 

  1. Identify what you value. Life is busy. Life requires work and struggle. Life is full of compromises. This is all true, but that doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice your values in order to live. Some of us have gotten so busy we’ve forgotten what we truly value. And if we can’t articulate what we value, our lives won’t represent it. Spend some time thinking about what you value and visualize it. Write it down; talk about it; create artwork that represents it; walk in nature with it. Once you are clear about your values, the rest of your life – including your financial life – can more easily align with those values.

 

  1. Put your money in service to those values. Once you articulate your values, your financial life can help support a life that flows easily within those values and helps support them. How do you earn your money, spend it, give it, and store it? Does your life support your values, or bump up against them? Look at these aspects of your financial life and see if they are indeed in service to your values. If not, it might be time for some changes.

 

  1. Add money to your “spiritual path.” Whether you use the term “spiritual path” or something else to describe the deepest nature of your life’s journey, be sure to bring money along. In our society, most people are uneasy talking and thinking about money – especially in conjunction with spirituality. Consider changing the mind-frame that money and spirituality can’t co-exist. Like it or not, money is part of our complicated society. How can we make the alliance an easier one? Think about how money can and does affect almost every corner of your personal life, as well as society as a whole, but also recognize that you have some power over that influence. How? Through a spiritual path. The spiritual path will of course be different for different people, but it will always include practices that promote honesty, openness, compassion, balance, and healing. These practices will influence your money life, and your money will in turn influence your practice. When these are in alignment, the outcome is powerful – not just for the individual, but for the wider world.

 

These are rather broad and thought-provoking recommendations – not as easy as opening an automated savings account or investing in this or that stock. You could write a whole book about this! But we at Chicory Wealth believe these ideas are important and hope to pursue them in more depth in the coming year, so stay tuned. And, as always, feel free to join in the conversation with us.

 

Here’s to a healthy, balanced, and meaningful new year!