In an election, sometimes we feel like our vote doesn’t really count, that there are too many others voting to make a difference, so does our one vote actually matter? The answer is yes, it does matter. Because each single vote is added one by one, with the final tally determining the winner. In my home state of Virginia, just ask the candidates for Attorney General if every vote counts. Out of more than 2 million votes cast, only 165 separate the candidates (a recount is scheduled).
In our financial lives, every time we choose to spend or save money, we are voting. One dollar, one vote. And just like in an election, when the votes are tallied, we see who wins. When you look over your spending, are you voting for winners – for the things that are important to you?
- Are you voting for your future independence by contributing to retirement plans like a 401(k) or IRA?
- Are you voting for financial stability by funding an emergency fund?
- Are you voting for the security of your family by having enough insurance?
- Are you voting for education by setting aside money for your children’s college fund?
Our spending ideally should reflect our goals and priorities and be in alignment with our values. This requires two things:
1) you know what your goals and priorities are
2) you know how you are voting with your money, i.e. you know what you are spending
When you examine both of these, any discrepancies will quickly become apparent.
We encourage you, as we go through this holiday season, to think about your values, priorities, and goals, and to be mindful as you spend….what are you voting for?