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What Are Your REAL Priorities?

by Jackie Beck

Today is all about you, your priorities, and your money.

I’m a big believer in goals, because having goals (and following through on them) gets us to where we want to be. But sometimes in the rush of day to day living some of our priorities kind of get pushed off to the side.

So let’s start with a quick evaluation. Make a list of up to 10 things you enjoying doing and/or want to accomplish. It doesn’t matter what order they’re in on the list, as long as they’re important to you.

Here’s mine, in random order:

1. Spending time with my family
2. Traveling
3. Eating out
4. Doing creative things of all types (painting, writing, decorating, etc.)
5. Paying off our house
6. Building up a large nest egg
7. Working on my own terms
8. Reading

Now, it’s your turn. Make your list before you read any further.

Do you have your list?

Ok, go ahead and cross off everything on the list that you’re already doing at a level that you’re satisfied with. For example, I eat out plenty, so I’m satisfied with that level. (I sure don’t need to eat out any more than I already do.) And I read a lot.

My list now looks like this:

1. Spending time with my family
2. Traveling
3. Eating out
4. Doing creative things of all types (painting, writing, decorating, etc.)
5. Paying off our house
6. Building up a large nest egg
7. Working on my own terms
8. Reading

We’re going to cross off a few more things here shortly, but for now, take a look at what’s left on your list. What’s preventing you from doing those things that you enjoy or that you want to achieve?

If it’s time, what would it take for you to make the time?

These are the things you’ve identified as most important to you, so you should do them. Get up a half hour early, hire a babysitter, etc. Do whatever it takes. You only have one life, so make it count.

In many cases though, the issue is money. So do one final bit of crossing off. This time, cross off everything on your list that is either free or so low cost that money is not an issue.

My list now looks like this:

1. Spending time with my family
2. Traveling
3. Eating out
4. Doing creative things of all types (painting, writing, decorating, etc.)
5. Paying off our house
6. Building up a large nest egg
7. Working on my own terms
8. Reading

What’s left on your list?

Imagine for a minute that you’ll never do those things. How do you feel?

I feel pretty bad.

But if you had to give up ALL of the money-related items on your list except one, which one would you keep?

Mine would be travel. I have to travel. I don’t care if I’m making $2,000 a year or $2,000,000 a year, I am going to travel so long as it’s physically possible for me to do so.

Now ask yourself these questions: How much do you spend each [year, month, whatever] on the thing that you’ve just identified as most important for you to spend money on? And how much are you spending on things that aren’t important to you instead?

We’ve got to put our money where are our mouth is. (Our heart should be in that same place too.)

Actually aligning our spending with the thing that’s most important for us to spend money on will be the subject of another day, but for today, just think about how well your spending does or does not align.

Note: This post is a part of the 31 Days to a Better Bank Balance series.

Posted in 31 Days to a Better Bank Balance on 09.02.10 with 4 comments.

4 Responses to “What Are Your REAL Priorities?”

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