Integrity Is About Aligning Your Daily Actions With Your Financial Plans
- Why living out of financial integrity can break your financial success.
- How to live by your values and stay true to your financial plans.
- Discover the 2 books that can help you live with integrity and boost your happiness.
You're living in financial integrity when your daily actions are congruent with your financial plans and the principles that lead to wealth.
Okay, that's a mouthful! So what do I mean by that, and why should you care?
Financial integrity is an important subject because it can literally make-or-break your happiness and financial success.
Yes, it's that important.
To explain what I mean, let's look at a couple of examples where people are commonly out of financial integrity…
- You know wealth is built by spending less than you earn, but your savings don't grow each month.
- You know lackluster investment performance is holding you back, but you don't prioritize time each day to learn how to improve the return on your investments.
- You know tracking your numbers and accountability is essential to long-term success, but you have no personal financial accounting and no formal way to manage your investment portfolio.
- You know achieving financial freedom is like eating an elephant – it's a big beast to consume – but you allow yourself to be intimidated, thus getting nothing done rather than attacking it one bite at a time so that you make consistent, incremental progress every day.
Do you recognize yourself in any of these examples?
I could go on and on with many more ways you might live out of financial integrity, but I think you get the point.
Building wealth and achieving financial security is not rocket science. Anyone can do it. You need to spend less than you earn and invest the difference wisely. Pretty straightforward.
The problem isn't knowing what to do: the problem is actually getting it done.
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Very few people prioritize their resources (time and money) so that they walk the talk every day, and that's why so few people succeed financially.
You live in financial integrity when you actually do what you know you should do to honor your value for financial security. You're out of financial integrity when you don't (most people). One path results in wealth – the other doesn't.
Again, pretty straightforward stuff.
Because you read this blog, we already know you value financial security and personal freedom. After all, we aren't here to learn about guns and ammo, or how to make a chocolate mousse. You opted in because you're interested in financial security.
This is an important point with important implications because it means you either spend a portion of each day taking actions to honor that value, or you're living out of integrity.
Stated another way, if I want to know how long it will take someone to attain financial security, all I need to do is look at how much of their time and money each day is dedicated to the goal. It's as simple as that.
Now here's the rub.
You can never be happy as long as you live out of integrity with your values. The incongruence works at a deep level to undermine your well-being.
This isn't “woo-woo” stuff: it's just how humans work. You know you're being two-faced when you believe one truth about life, yet succumb to resistance and lack of discipline. You don't walk-the-talk.
The result is less satisfaction with your life. It's simple cause and effect. There's no way around it – you're hardwired that way at birth.
In short, you can only be fully happy when you structure your life so that you live according to principles that result in financial security… because those are your values. Anything else will lead to frustration and problems.
You either walk the talk, or you lose happiness over the loss of integrity. You either build wealth or live in frustration.
Again, pretty simple stuff – easy to understand but hard to live – and therein lies the rub.
If you found these two topics interesting (succumbing to resistance causing you to not walk-the-talk, and the unhappiness resulting from living out of integrity), the following two books are both valuable resources.
The War of Art is one of the best explanations for the concept of resistance – not doing what we know we should. Leadership and Self-Deception is a simple read that conveys the huge price we pay for living out of integrity better than any other book I've found.
If these ideas connect with you, then please extend the conversation, provide feedback, and tell me what you think in the comments below. I'd love to hear…
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Great article. I totally agree with your comments. I like to encourage my clients/readers to distinguish between what they WANT & what they NEED.
I would also recommend The Number by Lee Eisenberg.
@Andrew – Thanks for stopping by. Yes, want vs. need is another good distinction.
I know exactly what you mean by real versus espoused values. I know what’s best for me and and my financial future but I find it difficult to stay in investments I don’t control like stocks. I constantly question my original thesis regarding an investment especially when it declines or rises in value. What is the best way to shake this constant second guessing I do?
@ Dustin – Thanks for joining the conversation…
Questioning your investment strategy results from lacking a sufficient depth of knowledge about what you are doing to really commit to the path. You always wonder if you got it right and are susceptible to being influenced by all the contradictory input around you.
For example, if someone called you an “ax-murderer” you wouldn’t think twice about it because you KNOW it is not true (hopefully). It would have zero influence and roll off you like water on a duck’s back because you KNOW better. However, if someone criticized you in a way that hit close to home it would stick and possibly hurt because it would strike an area of personal doubt and weakness. You would experience the pain of criticism and remember what was said.
The same is true with investing. If you KNOW what is true then contradictory information won’t sway you or cause doubt. Your doubt stems from a lack of confidence and certainty about the strategy. The solution is to deepen your knowledge.
Hope that helps.
This is one of your best articles. Thanks for the read. I’m going to pick up the WAR of ART.
@ Darlene – Thanks for the feedback. I’m glad you liked the article. It is an extremely important concept that can be applied to any area of your life where you feel stuck. It’s fun stuff. I find it very freeing (is that a word?).
BTW, if you choose to get the book through it helps if you use the above links to Amazon because I make a few pennies (literally) which helps support this blog so it is appreciated.
Stephen Del Monte
Your ax murderer example was spot on. If you are 100% confident in what you are doing then other peoples opinions will not matter. Do you think this lack of investment confidence has helped lead us down the road of stock market instability and overall fear?
@ Stephen – My personal opinion from working with a variety of clients is the bank bailouts and surreal economic climate has undermined people’s confidence. There is a disconnect between main street economic reality and the facade presented by Wall Street overvaluation, government manipulation of markets and other misconduct. Everybody is waiting for the other shoe to drop. The sense is that this isn’t “real” and they don’t trust it.
My two cents worth…
Interesting reference to the War of Art book. The original audience of the book was for ‘creative types” who wanted to face their resistance and overcome their lack of regular habits and discipline when it came to working on their art and craft. I like how you tied the book messages to financial integrity and building financial wealth. I read this book back in 2005 and your article has inspired me to pull the book of my bookshelf and review it again from the context of financial integrity. Time to revisit what I am resisting.
@ DJ – Yes, the parallels are fascinating. I first got into the book years ago when I was having problems writing each day despite the fact that I wanted to build this web business, write books and develop courses – all of which required writing. The truth was I needed to write every day if I was going to achieve what was important to me. The book helped as evidenced by the thousands of pages of productivity since that time.
Later on as I was working with my money coaching clients I noticed the exact parallel situation in wealth building: they were stuck in resistance. They had the value on wealth building and they wanted the goal but they were stuck in resistance on taking the necessary action steps. I’ve been combining the resistance concept with a few related concepts like integrity to help clients break through the barrier holding them back. It’s fun stuff!
I just finished your suggestion of “The War of Art”. It was a very thought provoking easy read. Thank you for the referral. I unfortunately purchased it at a Barns and Nobel. I would have gladly bought it from Amazon via your link if I new then that you made a little bit for the reference. Next time. I will consider the other book as well. The book is good at showing that we are “our own worst enemies” at times and we all have the power to break through and accomplish what we want if we stop dreaming and “Do the work”. It seems like we have become such an entitlement instant gratification society that that doing the work is the last option when it should be the first if we want to reach our true potential. Thanks again for the great insights.
@Steve – Thank you for coming back and sharing your insights on the book. I’m glad you got value from my recommendation and I agree with your take. It is the very same distinction that separates those who succeed in any field (wealth building included). Pressfield wrote the book for artists but the concepts have universal application.
I stumbled upon your blog this morning helping a student (not a coaching client) with his paper on integrity. I’ve bookmarked your blog and look forward to seeing more of your posts.
@Kathy – Great! Thank you for your support and welcome to my community.