How is your money impacting the world? How is it impacting you?
The way in which we manage and invest our money sends a message about what we believe in and has the potential and power to make a big difference in the world. Whether you have a little or a lot of money, each of us can make an impact on our lives and the world around us by leading a financially sustainable and conscious life.
By the way, this doesn’t mean not having fun. It simply means aligning your money with what truly makes you happy.
Here are seven ways to “green your money” – to spend your money and live a financially conscious life.
1. Check-in with Your Values
What’s important to you? In a time when we all are so busy leading incredibly hectic lives, it can be difficult to act in alignment with our values. Be conscious of this and make it a habit to check-in with yourself every once and a while to clarify what’s important and meaningful to you, what your life purpose is, and how you want to live.
Don’t let a busy schedule get in the way of staying true to your values.
2. Buy Consciously
Ask yourself ‘Do I need this?’ or ‘Why am I buying this?’ Are you purchasing things that you need and will enhance your life, or are they spur of the moment wants that are spontaneous and impulsive?
Are your purchases going to collect dust and then be sold at the next garage sale? Evaluate why you’re buying and then re-evaluate its importance to your overall well-being.
3. Invest With Insight
What is your money supporting? Do you understand what you’re invested in and the fees that you’re paying? Not everyone has the same philosophy when it comes to investing, but it’s good to ask yourself and have a conversation with your advisor about where your money is going.
We decide where we invest our dollars. We can support businesses that care about the impact their products have on people and our planet.
For a list of socially responsible investments available in Canada, check out www.socialinvestment.ca.
4. Give Generously
Often what we value the most is where we first cut back when money is tight. It’s tempting to reduce our charitable giving, but studies consistently show that once a basic level of financial security is established, the link between more money and more happiness is very weak.
Research done at UBC has shown that there is a stronger link between money and happiness when money is spent on ‘doing good.’ What can you give to or do that will make your money feel well spent?
5. Love What You Do and Do What You Love
Does the work you do feel in sync with your joys and values? Are you making any compromises? Are you proud of the way you make your money?
It’s not always possible to change these things in the short term, but your overall well-being and contribution to the world may be changed in the long run. The first step is figuring out what you want.
6. Be An Informed Consumer
Have you done your due diligence on the financial products and services you buy into? You can’t afford to rely completely on experts. Make sure you have basic financial knowledge so you can ask the right questions and level the playing field. This doesn’t mean you have to be a financial expert yourself, but no one has more vested interest in your money than yourself, so it pays to be involved.
MoneySense magazine is a great way to stay informed with what’s happening in the world of personal finances and there’s lots of great info on websites like www.globeinvestor.com or www.getsmarteraboutmoney.ca.
7. Know When Enough is Enough
What is your ultimate end-goal financially? Without knowing this, there is the potential for endless angst at not ever getting “there.” It’s so easy in our money-hungry and over-spending culture to feel that we won’t be happy unless we have this or that. Determine what you need to be happy, figure out what you need to do to get it, then enjoy your life!
We know how difficult it is to juggle the demands of our contemporary life and feel like we are also living sustainable and purpose filled lives. Know that you’re not alone and most of us are struggling with these same issues.
It’s hard to do it all ourselves, so enlist some support from like-minded individuals. Create a money group and hold each other accountable, brainstorm ways to spend more responsibly, and most important – celebrate each other’s success!