Monday, August 28, 2006

Question of the Day, 8/28: Your Money and Your Values

Hi everyone!  I've been enjoying this month's Question of the Day marathon, and I hope you have, too.  Now it's my turn, so without further ado, here's today's question:

Do you involve your values in your money decisions?  If so, what are some examples?  If not, why not?

Define "your values" however you'd like; I'm asking about the principles that are important and meaningful in your life in a broad and general sense, and whether and how you bring those into your financial/money-related choices.

Thanks so much in advance for stopping by, and I'm so excited to read your answers to this question! 


Anonymous said...

WOW.!! I am the first one to answer this question.:)
yes I do include values in my money decisions. Here are the examples

1) I am involved in charity work which takes both my time and money.
2) I don't beleive in pirated software / music / movies even though I can get it easily. I would rather pay for it.
3) I prefer spending time with family even though it causes me spending less time at worh (no overtime) and less raises.

Kira said...

I work in a field (clinical research) in which I think I'm doing my part to help out the world. It's important for me to do work which helps other people - and I'm certainly not profiting much by it. ;) I also donate money (not to people who come door to door though..) and donate all the stuff that I don't want - I rarely try to sell it because I feel it wouldn't go to someone who needed it most.

I am also thinking of switching into a socially responsible mutual fund when I leave this job and roll over the 403(b) - been doing reading on your site about it. ;)

bluntmoney said...

Yes, I do. I think it's pretty hard not to involve your values in any decision a person makes, because your values are a part of who you are. I've sat and argued with clerks because I thought items were priced wrong (in my favor) and didn't want to get that kind of a steal on the items.

J.D. said...

This is a great question -- I'll write an entry on it at GRS today.

I involve my values in my financial decisions all the time. Some examples:

* I chose to move my accounts from a gigantic bank to a small, local credit union
* I get my haircuts from local guys with small shops, never from chains
* On those rare occasions that I eat fast food, I eat at regional fast food places (Burgerville, Mike's) and not at big chains
* When possible, I buy from smaller grocery stores. This was easy at our old house - there was a great locally owned store in town. Now, though, there's nothing close, so mostly we shop at Safeway.
* I support farmers markets.
* I boycott Regal Cinemas.

These are just a few examples. I'll expand on these when I post my entry responding to this question.

Amatuer Investor said...

Awesome question. My wife and I do our share of helping the community and our church, but I believe our values also come into effect in how we invest our money. We look for good investments, but also companies that do not take advantage of the enviroment and that recycle. Though maybe only a small step, we don't want to make money on companies that pollute or destroy the earth.

Sally Parrott Ashbrook said...

Absolutely! I try to have my values imbue as many of my consumption choices as I can. Additionally, I have chosen to work in non-profits. Many people think the life is easier in non-profits, and on some days, it may be; at least I know most of what I am doing at work has true value. But the pay is pretty terrible until you move up in the ranks (if you move up in the ranks). That said, I can't imagine leaving to work for a for-profit organization unless it were my small business that I felt had some deep, intrinsic value in what it offered the world.

The idea of being frugal has caught on much better with me when I think about it being about simplifying and consuming less of the earth's resources. That's a big driving factor for me.

When I get to the point of investing, I will be paying careful attention to my investing being socially responsible. So many of my socially responsible friends have investments in corporations that do truly terrible things. They get a lot of money out of it, but I just can't see going down that path.

JLP said...

Yes, for the most part my wife and I involve our values in our financial decisions. For instance, we tithe on our income. We do so because we feel that it is what God wants us to do. In fact, I felt is so important enough that I put it on automatic so that our tithe is paid twice a month.

It wasn't always that way but it is now.



sf mom said...

I agree with a lot of the other comments. I try to live my life according to my values, so I am constantly trying to align my spending/savings habits with my values. Here are a couple of things we do:
1) We buy organic, fresh produce from farmers markets or local co-op grocery stores.
2) We shop thrift stores, Goodwill, consignment stores for gently used goods rather than buying new things.
3) We research all big purchases for real vs. perceived needs. Once we identify that we want/need something we search for the best price.
4) We save into our retirement accounts and E-fund before we do anything else.
These are just a few. I'm sure there are many, many more.

Kimber said...

Difficult not to.
Values are so ingrained that often I don't even know I'm using them as a criteria.

For example:
I try not to get rich off people dying.
What does that mean?
No cigarette stocks.

Also I believe that when I "win",
everyone who assisted should win too.

Amanda said...

Yes - I definately think about it. For one thing, charitable giving is important to me. Secondly, I try to support local businesses over chains whenever possible and shop at farmer's markets for my produce.
Also, I keep in mind the priorities that my husband and I have set together for our life (i.e. owning a home, traveling together, etc) and try not to be selfish in most of my purchases.

Young and Broke

Amanda said...

Yes - I definately think about it. For one thing, charitable giving is important to me. Secondly, I try to support local businesses over chains whenever possible and shop at farmer's markets for my produce.
Also, I keep in mind the priorities that my husband and I have set together for our life (i.e. owning a home, traveling together, etc) and try not to be selfish in most of my purchases.

Young and Broke

udandi said...

I agree with Kimber that is it hard not to. Where I chose to shop/not shop and supporting local business is one example.

good question!

S/100/30 said...


1. We give a lot of money to political organizations and candidates.

2. We make a point to shop as much at our small, local grocery store even though they don't carry some of our staples like risotto.

3. Most of our retirements funds are in various socially responsible accounts (which are not strict enough for us, but that's another story).

4. We split our banking between our credit union and our small (2 branches) local bank.

5. We avoid overconsumption of food, because of the environmental costs.

Tiredbuthappy said...

1. I shop at locally-owned businesses whenever we can, especially small food co-ops and thrift stores.

2. I buy organic if we can afford it (decision made purchase-by-purchase).

3. I have chosen a modest-paying profession that either directly helps people or at least does no harm.

4. I have most of my investments in SRI funds, and I'm prepared to accept a lower return in order to avoid investing in weapons and other scourges.

5. I donate money to humanitarian groups, environmental groups, and political watchdog groups.

6. I give money to panhandlers.

7. I do give money to people who come to the door (unless they're LaRoucheites or some such thing) partly because I myself only lasted 3 days as a door-to-door fundraiser.

mOOm said...

I think a lot about environmental impact in most of my consumption decisions. Which mainly makes me more frugal :) A lot of the time it isn't really such a conscious decision. It's just what I choose, prefer to do lifestyleswise. On the investment front I did once invest in a socially screened fund but its criteria were so broad it didn't make much sense in the end. I indirectly have shares in mining companies etc. via mutual funds and did have a direct holding in a goldmining firm and once upon a time in a tobacco firm (LTR). I didn't have such a problem with that. If I was an institutional investor then I would look to influence management in making environmentally responsible decisions. So certainly have mixed thoughts on the investment side.

Unlike most posters I don't have much preference for big vs. small vs. local business.

Steve said...

Great question.

Values drive all that we do. In fact, how we use money reveals more about our values than anything we say. As others have already noted this impacts what we buy, where we shop, charitable giving, saving, etc. It's no different with me.

mbhunter said...

Giving to church is a biggie. Frugality in general reflects our values -- buying used when we can, e.g.