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What’s Your Why?

Published by: Chris Kittrell Date: August 10, 2014

What’s important to you about money? Stop reading this article, put your coffee down, turn off the TV, and for just a minute ask yourself this question. What is truly important to you about money? There are no wrong answers. It’s the money you have now and your ability to earn money in the future that we’re talking about. It doesn’t matter whether you have a lot or very little. It doesn’t matter if you are a saver or a spender. It doesn’t matter what other people might think. This is your opportunity to define what matters most to you as it relates to money.

In my profession, I have the privilege to ask this question daily, and it never ceases to amaze me how many people struggle to articulate their answers. It’s not that they don’t know, it’s more a reluctance to say it out loud. I’ve grown to expect the hesitation and awkward silence when asking this question. People don’t really want to talk about it. The question forces thought. It makes us examine our values, our motivations, and our dreams. Most would prefer to talk about last week’s election, the latest geopolitical catastrophe, or what the stock market is going to do in the future.

All of these are interesting topics of discussion but they don’t get you any closer to ultimately defining your “WHY” that rolls you out of bed in the morning and off to your profession of choice.
I’ve found that it’s much easier to concentrate on the “HOW” instead of the “WHY”. Most of us would much rather think and talk about “HOW” we’re going make more money, “HOW” we’re going to spend our money, or “HOW” we’re going to invest our money. We spend very little time examining “WHY” we are going to bust our tails to make more money, “WHY” we’re going to spend our money on what’s being marketed to us at any given moment, or “WHY” we are choosing to invest our money to begin with. There is great satisfaction available if you can get crystal clear about your “WHY” before deciding “HOW”.

One of the most rewarding things I get to experience in my work life is helping someone get above all the noise of the “HOW” to the point of truly concentrating on their “WHY”. It’s where peace of mind around money begins. It allows you to say no when confronted with the next great deal that can’t miss or that sleek new boat that you don’t really need. It allows you the freedom to say yes to the things that matter most like memorable experiences with the people you love, giving more to the charities you care about, or helping a grandchild graduate college debt- free. The possibilities are endless. So, before the never-ending details of “HOW” fill your mind again take a moment and answer the question: What’s important to you about money?

Chris Kittrell is co-founder and Senior Financial Advisor with Rather & Kittrell.  He is available at