Wednesday, October 12, 2005

What Are Your Financial Values?

How are the wealthy different from everyone else? The wealthy have realized that money won't solve all their problems. (Appeared in Forbes Magazine several years ago)

There are many widely held misperceptions about wealth and the effects of wealth on people who have it. Yet the personal struggles of the wealthy are very similar to those of most people, with a few notable exceptions.

Wealth allows people to think beyond the next mortgage payment or credit card bill. It allows thinking about the pursuit of unfulfilled dreams, how to value and prioritize free time, the effects of past losses on our financial values today, and our legacy for the next generations. Issues that are very personal.

The way each one of us addresses such issues says a lot about who we are. In many cases, few of us think deeply about such issues until we retire from our careers. To have more fulfilling lives, it is important to understand ourselves as early as possible.

I've recently created a new psychological assessment for people with accumulated assets or who are nearing (or are in) retirement. But the test can be taken by everyone, regardless of wealth level. It's called the "Financial Values Questionnaire".

This questionnaire was designed for two purposes:
1) I wanted to help people understand their beliefs, values, and personality tendencies when dealing with money.
2) There is an increasing interest among financial advisors to establish more personal relationships with their clients, by understanding their unique financial psychology.
The Financial Values Quesionnaire was designed with both of the above in mind.

The "Financial Values Questionnaire", on the website, will help you think about the purpose and meaning of money in your life. Do you accumulate money to fund your goals and dreams? Does money play any role in your legacy to future generations? Are you excessively hesitant due to past losses? Where do you get a sense of purpose or meaning in your life? These are the types of issues addressed in the questionnaire.

I'm pasting some of the actual questions, and some of the answers submitted so far, in the space below. Your answers on the test are anonymous (we don't know who wrote them) and confidential (we have tight security). The test registration process does not require identifying information to be given. The test is currently FREE, is 59 questions, requires 15 minutes to take, and you get both the basic and detailed reports for nothing (free). (In 2006 we will start charging $$ to take it, so now is a good time to take it if you're ever going to).

I hope you enjoy reading these unedited responses from several test-takers on questions 52 and 58. Users' responses follow the "A: ":

Q: 52. What traditions and values in your family are important and should be carried on?
A: Life and love first, then money.
A: Money
A: Individual liberty and independence
A: That God Is one. And we have been created for his worship. And at the time of death to have had the intention to worship him.
A: education and belief in God
A: Family holidays spent together. Family the most important unity in our lives.
A: Family values, to be happy, spend your money wisley... save
A: People should be self-sufficient and obediate to God, respect themselves and others.
A: Family parties
A: leaving family money
A: FAmily comes first
A: Caring for each other, our future summer home.
A: care for each other, life a life where you use your talents and to serve others

Q: 58. How would you like to be remembered by later generations?
A: as someone who never gave up
A: For the good that I've done.
A: successful
A: i haven't decided.
A: that by remberance of me they will remember the Worship of God.
A: as a hero
A: As a happy and outgoing person
A: generous, honest and helpful.
A: A very fun, energetic, respectable person
A: I'd like to be remembered as someone who gave insight, integrity and value to others.
A: good person
A: fun
A: Loving, caring, and giving individual
A: Loving and generous
A: generous
A: no idea
A: as one who did not hold on to assets but who freely shared time, talents and love with others

You can take the test here: Financial Values Test Registration

Best wishes,