Find out why money is important to you

Asking yourself "Why?" can help you create a more effective financial plan. Learn how to focus on what's truly important to you.

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Sure, financial stability is important. But why? Obviously, it’s responsible and it gives you options, but that’s a pretty vague reason. To draft a better financial plan, ask yourself what money really means to you, individually.

Most of us reach a point in our lives where we want to take a harder look at our money situation. We want to come up with a plan to get our finances in order. In his book, The One-Page Financial Plan, writer and financial planner Carl Richards says it’s important to ask yourself “Why?” during the planning process. In fact, keep asking “Why?” until you get a personalized answer about what money means to you as an individual. You want to learn why, specifically, money is important to you.

Your initial answer might be freedom—that’s common. But freedom from what? Maybe you want to spend less time working so you have more time to yourself. But why do you want more time yourself? What would you do with it? The answer will be different for everyone, but that’s kind of the point. Whatever your answer, that should be the foundation of your financial plan. Richards explains:

The purpose of asking “Why?” isn’t to come up with specific goals or plans of action. It’s meant to reveal the reason why you have certain goals. Expect the first answers to come fairly easily. But give yourself time to pause and really think; by doing so, you can go even deeper, getting much close to what’s most important. Once you’ve hit upon your “most important thing,” you’ll have a tool that will help you make lots of decisions going forward…”

When I was in debt, I wanted to get my finances in order. Why? Because I wanted to stop worrying. I had other things I wanted to do with my life, like take on a different career.

Ultimately, I wanted to get my finances straight so I could pursue my goal of writing for a living. This gave my finances a sense of purpose—and it kept me motivated.

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This article was written by Kristen Wong from Lifehacker and was licensed as an article reprint. Article copyright April 9, 2015 by Lifehacker
The statements and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author. Fidelity Investments cannot guarantee the accuracy or completeness of any statements or data.
This reprint is supplied by Fidelity Brokerage Services LLC, Member NYSE, SIPC.
The third party provider of the reprint permission and Fidelity Investments are independent entities and not legally affiliated.
The images, graphs, tools, and videos are for illustrative purposes only.
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