Align Your Money with Your Values

In today’s fast-paced world, our financial choices can often seem disconnected our personal values. Yet, achieving a balance between the two can be both empowering and transformative.

Indeed, aligning your money with your core beliefs isn’t just about making ethical choices. It’s about ensuring that every dollar you spend, save, or invest reflects what’s truly important to you.

Whether it’s through the products you buy, the causes and organizations you support, or the legacy you wish to leave behind, integrating your financial decisions with your core values can lead to a more fulfilling and responsible way of living. It not only opens the door to more personal satisfaction but can also make a positive impact on society and the world around you.

Here are four ways you can align your money with your values:

#1: Spend Intentionally

When you choose to spend intentionally, each purchase you make is a deliberate and thoughtful act—one that reflects a deeper understanding of how your personal values and beliefs intersect with your financial habits.

This approach to spending isn’t just about buying something because you need it or because it’s available. It’s about choosing to support businesses and products that stand for something you believe in.

For instance, if supporting your community and local economy is important to you, you may opt to buy from local artisans and small businesses rather than large chains and corporations. Likewise, if you value sustainability, you might commit to buying products with eco-friendly packaging or supporting companies with transparent supply chains.

Essentially, each dollar you spend on products and businesses that resonate with your values is a vote for the kind of world you want to live in. A mindful spending approach not only helps foster a deeper connection between your financial decisions and your ethical convictions; it can also contribute to a greater collective impact as more people spend intentionally.

#2: Invest with a Purpose

You can also align your money with your values through the investment decisions you make. Investing according to your core values and beliefs involves directing your money toward opportunities that not only offer financial returns but also contribute positively to society, the environment, or both.

This conscious approach to investing continues to gain popularity as more investors seek to make their money work for the causes and principles they believe in. In fact, 59% of Millennials and 45% of Gen-Xers say they’re interested in values-based investing, according to a recent survey from U.S. Bank.

However, while younger generations tend to be at the forefront of this investment trend, it’s gaining momentum among investors of all ages. For instance, the same survey found that 30% of Baby Boomers are interested in investing according to their values.

There are many ways to align your investment dollars with your beliefs, with each approach using a distinct methodology for selecting investments. Three popular examples include Socially Responsible Investing (SRI), Environmental, Social, and Corporate Governance (ESG) Investing, and Impact Investing.

Socially Responsible Investing (SRI)

SRI investors actively seek out companies that contribute positively to the world or avoid specific companies and industries based on certain moral, ethical, or religious criteria. The goal is to invest in a manner that’s consistent with your personal values, with competitive financial returns being a secondary consideration.

Environmental, Social, and Corporate Governance (ESG) Investing

ESG investing tends to take a more inclusive and analytical approach than SRI by focusing on a company’s environmental, social, and governance practices as key indicators of its long-term sustainability and ethical impact. With this approach, identifying financially sound companies and effecting change with your investment dollars are equal objectives.

Impact Investing

The goal of impact investing is to contribute actively to positive solutions by investing in areas like renewable energy, affordable housing, healthcare, education, and sustainable agriculture. The key distinction of this approach is the intentionality behind it—every investment you make aims to achieve specific positive outcomes alongside a financial return.

The choice among SRI, ESG investing, and impact investing—or a different values-based investment approach—depends on your specific beliefs, objectives, and the impact you wish to make. By aligning your investment dollars with causes and businesses you believe in, you can work toward personal financial goals while driving positive change.

#3: Give Strategically

Another way to align your money with your values is to donate to causes and organizations close to your heart.

Indeed, most of us tend to be philanthropic by nature. In 2022, for example, Americans gave nearly $500 billion to charity.

Oftentimes, these donations are spread thinly across many charities. However, focusing your donations on a few organizations that share your values and have a proven track record of making a meaningful impact can help both you and the charities you support make the most of your gifts.

This approach to giving involves going beneath the surface to identify charities that not only resonate with your core beliefs but also have a history of achieving tangible results. Online resources like Charity Navigator can help you identify sound charitable organizations and evaluate the efficacy and transparency of the charities you’re considering.

By aligning your donations with your values and carefully selecting high-impact organizations, you can ensure your gifts reflect your vision for a better world while potentially bringing about significant, positive change.

#4: Plan Your Legacy

Finally, one of the most enduring ways you can align your money with your values is by envisioning the long-term impact you want to leave on the world and taking steps to make it a reality. By thoughtfully planning your legacy, you can ensure your wealth supports your core values and beliefs for generations to come.

A key part of creating a lasting legacy is inspiring others to join you in your cause. This can involve family members, friends, or the wider community.

By sharing your vision and demonstrating the impact of your actions, you can encourage others to reflect on their values and how they can also contribute to meaningful change. This collaborative approach can amplify the impact of your efforts and create a ripple effect that extends far beyond your individual contribution.

Let Benchmark Wealth Management Help You Align Your Money with Your Values

Aligning your money with your values can be a powerful way to ensure your financial actions resonate with your personal beliefs and contribute to the greater good. Whether through intentional spending, purpose-driven investing, strategic giving, or planning your legacy, there are numerous paths to making your money a reflection of your values.

If you’re looking for personalized guidance on how to integrate your financial decisions with your values, Benchmark Wealth Management can help. We can provide tailored advice and strategies to help you achieve a harmonious balance between your financial goals and personal priorities. Contact us today to begin your financial planning journey.


About Rick

Richard W. Stout III is managing director of Benchmark Wealth Management, LLC, with 25 years of experience in the financial industry. He specializes in financial planning and asset management for individuals, families, and institutions seeking to build and monitor durable and sustainable plans for their financial futures. Rick is a Certified Financial Planner™ professional and holds the Accredited Investment Fiduciary® (AIF®) designation. He obtained his MBA from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and his BA in Economics and Anthropology from the University of Connecticut. Rick has earned a Master of Science degree in Personal Financial Planning from the College for Financial Planning. He has extensive background experience in lending, credit review and analysis, and real estate and partnership management. Learn more about Rick by connecting with him on LinkedIn.

About Thomas

Thomas J. Britt is managing director of Benchmark Wealth Management, LLC, with 23 years of experience in the financial industry. He specializes in executive financial planning, retirement planning, investing, as well as the management of trusts and endowments. Thomas is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ professional. He holds the Master Planner Advanced StudiesSM, MPAS®, Certified Investment Management Analyst® (CIMA®), and Chartered Retirement Planning Counselor℠, CRPC® designations. Thomas earned a Bachelor of Science in Finance from the University of New Haven, an MBA in financial technology from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, and a Master of Science in Personal Financial Planning from the College for Financial Planning. He is also a proud veteran of the United States Navy Submarine Force. Learn more about Tom by connecting with him on LinkedIn.

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