The word “value” has a certain weight to it. You don’t typically throw it around as a title for just anything, so why is it hard to identify precisely what it means to you?
You know your values, but it can be hard to label or capture their essence within a single word. That’s where the think2perform Values Cards Exercise comes in.
But why is it so important to define your values before you retire?
What is the Values Cards Exercise?
The first step of this free interactive exercise starts by asking you to sort cards into two piles. One is values you feel fit you well, and the other is values you believe don’t fit you.
For example, the first card shown is “security.” Security is “the feeling of being protected or safeguarded from danger; a sense of comfort.”
The key in this exercise stage is to not think too deeply about which pile you sort the cards into. So, if you feel as if you value security, place it into the according pile.
Next is privacy, “the need for solitude or separateness.” If you’re an introvert, this might not sound appealing or essential to you, so go ahead and place it into the according pile.
And don’t worry, if there are values you didn’t see in the cards that are important to you, you can add custom cards!
The next step is selecting your top 15 values from the cards in your “fit me” pile. After that, the top 10, and finally, the top 5. This can be challenging, so feel free to take as much time as you need to consider your options and ask yourself which values genuinely mean the most to you.
Once you have your top 5, congratulations! You’ve completed the Values Cards Exercise.
Values Cards Exercise Reflection
We know this is starting to sound like a work task or homework assignment, but please bear with us!
After you’ve completed the exercise, ask yourself these questions.
- Was it hard to identify values that you believe fit you?
- Was it challenging to find 15 values that resonated with you? How about 10?
- Did you keep specific values because they “sounded good” and not because they’re what you value?
- Do you agree with your top 5?
Your answers to those questions could mean a multitude of things.
- Perhaps you didn’t have difficulty identifying your values because you were already confident about them!
- Or, maybe you don’t necessarily agree with your top 5 because there are 7 that you wanted to keep.
- At what point did you decide to remove them? Did you remove them?
If you’re married and plan to do this exercise as a couple, it’s best to complete it separately, then compare your answers. From there, you can come up with mutual values
Developing Your Mission and Vision for Retirement
One of retirees’ biggest struggles is feeling that they don’t have a purpose during retirement. Even though that’s far from true!
Think about it, while you’re in your working years, you have a daily schedule. You know precisely when you need to wake up, how long your commute is, how many cups of coffee you require before interacting with the world, etc. And, once you get to work, your job has a specific role that needs to be fulfilled by you because your team depends on it!
But it’s not just about your coworkers, it’s about serving the greater mission. Most companies have a mission, vision statement, or values that drive everything they do. You’re striving to reach that mission and vision and follow their values by being an employee.
When you’re retired, no outright mission statement gets you up in the morning. You get to create your own!
The Importance of Living Life According to Your Values
Looking to your values to guide your behavior is an empowering, fulfilling way to live. Especially in terms of your financial and retirement lifestyle.
For example, if you value philanthropy, make sure charitable gifts are part of your financial plan. If philanthropy is one of your values, but you don’t give any of your time and talents, it might mean it’s time to reevaluate that value’s importance to you.
If you value education, setting up a 529 plan to help pay for your grandchildren’s college education could be something that would be meaningful to you. Or, setting up a scholarship at your local high school for students entering your former career field. The options are truly endless!
Living in step with your values gives you a roadmap, or compass, to help you determine how to spend your time. Whether with your family around the dinner table, friends at the golf course, or dogs at the local animal shelter, if you follow your values, you’ll ultimately feel happier and more fulfilled, leading to a better quality of life.
Sharing Your Values With Your Financial Advisor
Communicating your values to your Financial Advisor can ensure that the advisor aligns with them and can help you incorporate them into your plan. They may be able to offer unique ideas that you haven’t considered before!
At TFS Advisors, we specialize in helping clients identify their values and seamlessly incorporate them into their financial and retirement plans. Please contact us today if you have questions or are ready to start your journey.