Planning Your Future Using Your Values

This post is the third of a five-part series about money and how to plan your future using your values. We’ve collaborated with our financial advisor, Matthew Lekushoff, to create a money management plan that allowed us to redesign our lifestyle. In this series, we share information, tips, advice, with spending, saving, and investing.

Three years ago, Troy and I went through a massive transition.

I was unhappy in my career; he was looking for something new. My cousin was battling cancer for the second time, and we realized we no longer wanted to wait for life to change — we had to change it now.

We started looking for answers, looking outside our regular frame of reference for help and inspiration. We began having conversations with new people, joined a community called Live Your Legend, and attended local meet-ups in Toronto. Coincidentally, we also met Matthew Lekushoff, who became our friend in this group, and became our financial advisor.

Taking online courses helped us figure out our next careers, envision our lives 20 years into the future, and to think more seriously about planning our future and our money for retirement.

Through those classes, we learned how values are the foundation of virtually everything in our lives especially to plan your future.

Of course, Troy and I knew we shared many of the same values in life, but we didn’t talk concretely about them. Are you like us, that you didn’t want to plan your future knowing that retirement was getting closer? However, we recognized how these values informed our goals and dreams of what we both wanted to achieve, accomplish, and enjoy in life.

Matthew further helped us see the importance of values and goals in financial planning and getting what we wanted out of life. Values are the reasons behind our goals, and goals are the way we get to experience those values. He told us to write down our goals, separately, and then compare notes.

Troy and I shared our list of core values which included: health, freedom, impact, courage, connection, learning, adventure, passion, and simplicity.

As a couple, we discussed which goals we could create to reflect these values.

For the last 10 years, we had been talking about traveling for a year, but lacked the courage to do it. Writing out our values made us realize how important this goal actually was to us. Long-term travel and location independence was entirely consistent with our values.

Through travel, we found the freedom to live and work for ourselves, anywhere we want. It’s given us the courage and sense of adventure to create new careers, take risks, get out of our comfort zones, and discover what we’re made of in the process. We’ve hiked volcanoes, learned to speak new languages and cultures, and connected with new people all over the world.

Most of all, we discovered what’s important for us — experiences over things. Thus, we simplified our lives by selling our stuff and reducing the clutter. In the same vein, we’ve donated our time to support community projects and businesses whenever we travel. We love making a contribution and helping where we can.

Travel has changed us, and challenged us mentally, physically, and spiritually.

Taking the time to really think about and examine our values was an extremely useful exercise in focusing our goals, devising a realistic, achievable plan, and staying on track.

Values aren’t something you know intuitively, so it’s important to spend the time to learn about yours.

It’s also not a one-time exercise, as your values change over time. Troy and I now perform a six-month and one-year review of our goals.

Simplifying our life meant changing our relationship with money so we can build new careers, and travel and live economically.We review our monthly expenses to track all of our costs for living and working. We continually discuss ways we can offset our expenses, which projects and works we will take on, and growing our website as a business.

How do you plan your future? What are your experiences with leveraging your values to build your dream life? We’d love to hear about them.

Originally published at on August 5, 2016.

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