Why?

It surprised me how useful I found this question. We expect to hear “why” from a therapist or counselor, but not our financial adviser. It seems so insignificant, yet “why” is likely one of the most important questions we have.

Why is money important to you?

Traditional finance would have us believe it’s all about dollars and cents lining up in nice columns and rows. But we know the reality is really something else. Answering why often involves hard-to-navigate emotions, like hope, guilt, excitement and even fear. Despite our best efforts, our emotions may end up trumping the clear, cool logic of the numbers or paralyzing decision-making altogether.

By asking “why is money important?”, we acknowledge how many of our money decisions stem from a very personal, even subjective, point of view. What’s most important to you is not necessarily important to another. Understanding that this difference exists is a big deal when it comes to making financial plans.

Too often, we avoid taking the time to ask ourselves “why” because we’re scared or too busy to think about it in detail. The process may prove too uncomfortable. However, we can’t begin to get serious about making financial plans if we don’t understand what’s driving our financial decisions in the first place.