Have you realized that the way you make, spend, save, invest, or donate money is intrinsically related to your values and/ or virtues?
You decide to buy cage free eggs instead of regular eggs not only because they are better but also because consciously or unconsciously you believe the hens are treated better
You decide to buy brands that make part of its code of conduct not to use child labor versus a brand that is made in China and you don’t know the origin of the product.
You boycott an airline because of its unacceptable behavior with a passenger.
You buy an electric car not because of the brand or the style but just because you want to protect the environment.
Even more, sometimes these purchases are related not only to values but to status. For some is socially better to be a person who drives an electric vehicle than a regular one. Doesn’t matter if you take 30 minute showers.
Younger generations are gearing towards brands that do not sell an image but a set of values. I personally found Everlane’s transparent cost and revenue structure an amazing marketing strategy. Most probably it was the main reason why I bought my first shirt at their website.
Values and virtues are the backbone of our society. These are beliefs and characteristics that have been embedded in our minds since we were kids.
What are parents teaching their kids and how these teachings will be reflected in their money habits? The answer to that question will affect the consuming, saving, investing, and giving habits of the future generation.
Do you want them to be responsible citizens?
Then you need to teach them not to over spend, not get into debts they will not be able to pay, to invest responsibly, to save money, to get a job.
Do you want them to be grateful and generous?
Then you should teach them how fortunate they are and how they should pay back to society. I cannot emphasize enough the importance of giving. It is demonstrated that people who give are happier people. In families of wealth, the family which gives together stays together. Not quite right in families who spend together.
Do you want them to be honest?
Then driving an expensive car while you are going through a difficult financial situation will give them a wrong definition of honesty.
What about giving them the latest phone model? Do you really want to contribute to increase the current consumerism mentality? Do you give your child the latest phone because he asked for it, or because other parents are doing it and you do not want to be the parent who “cannot afford” a new phone for his kid?
The “values talk” is extremely important. Sit with your partner and right down your values. Are you acting accordingly?
If your kids are old enough to participate in the conversation, include them. You will be surprise with their reasoning.
Once you have concluded which are the values that will guide your family, write a Value Statement.
Don’t leave it in a file as just another document. Read it from time to time. Read it with your kids. And don’t forget to check out if you are complying with them.
If you want to know more about the subject, listen to the PBS Hidden Brain Podcast #69
To access a complete list of values and start doing your own value statement go to Values Exercise
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