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Can Being More Authentic Help Your Bottom Line?

By Staff Curator / September 5, 2015
woman holding up cash

What is your opinion? Our beliefs and emotions do play a role in our financial lives.

By  (money.usnews.com) – Beth Marshall’s aha moment about financial authenticity hit while she was sitting at her desk in an office, working for someone else. “I was breaking away from a corporate career that no longer served me and knew I was in a position to go off on my own,” recalls Marshall, a certified public accountant and money coach. The phrase that popped into her head that day, “financially authentic,” became the name of her Boston-based coaching practice.

Today, she helps other people find their way to a more authentic life, which often starts by reflecting on their spending habits and how they need to tweak them to reflect bigger goals. “Being financially authentic means aligning with what matters to you in life,” she says.

One of her clients, a nurse, realized that instead of working long hours five days a week, she wanted to spend more time working with rescue dogs. “She’s now made an authentic decision to work three days a week, 10 hours a day, and to pull back on spending. She’s changed her lifestyle instead of pursuing what some might call the rat race,” Marshall says.

Marshall is part of a growing group of business and financial leaders who are emphasizing authenticity as way of making better money decisions. Their approach starts with figuring out the kind of life you want to live, pinpointing your values and adjusting your choices accordingly.

Daniel Lubetzky, founder and CEO of the snack company KIND and author of the recently published book, “Do the Kind Thing,” embraces a philosophy that revolves around purpose, truth, authenticity and trust. “Before you start on any journey or task, you must find what it is that motivates you – your driving force,” Lubetzky says.

Focusing on his purpose helped him through some of his most challenging business moments, including when he could barely afford to pay himself a $24,000 salary and seriously considered walking away, he says. “[A purpose] has the power to do the same for anyone who takes the time to discover [it],” he says.

Todd Henry, ​business creativity expert and author of the book “Louder Than Words: Harness the Power of Your Authentic Voice” released this month, says authenticity is a key factor in how you interact with the world, including the decisions you make and the impact you have. “If you don’t have a sense of who you are, your voice tends to be fuzzy, uncertain and unclear,” he says, adding that such a position can also lead to poor financial decisions.

“People often don’t understand what they care about and the priorities that should define how they spend their money and, in the same way, shape their work. Having a voice that resonates is about making bold decisions according to who you are, and that’s the same with finances,” he says. “People spend money because they’re listening to messages from others and trying to emulate them,” he adds, instead of living by their own values.

To find your values and to make financial decisions that reflect them, Henry suggests paying attention to clues around you to figure out what resonates and feels right to you. For Henry, that means spending and investing in a way that allows his family to have financial security, even if it means bypassing the latest luxury car or fancy vacations.

“My family makes our financial decisions revolve around the things that are important to us. We try to make sure we’re living far below our means. … We want to have freedom and choices, so we don’t spend up to the limit of what we can spend,” he says.

Many people make the mistake of spending so much that they are forced to work jobs they don’t enjoy or longer hours than they would like. “They are financially trapped so​ they can’t go where their intuition is leading them,” he says. “You don’t want to make decisions that suffocate all the freedom of your life. Then you’re limited in the decisions you can make, and you’re squelching the passion out of your life.”

Henry adds, though, that figuring out your authentic life can involve a process that you constantly revisit and re-evaluate, or even change your choices over time. “The reality is, for most of us, we define our voice through skill, effort and excavation,” he says. That might mean asking yourself if your current financial choices are still working for you or if you want to make a shift, opting for a lower paid but more satisfying job.

Elizabeth Hamilton-Guarino, ​author of “Percolate: Let Your Best Self Filter Through,” says smart money decisions start with making a commitment to yourself to be healthy in all areas of your life, including ​physical, emotional and spiritual, along with financial. “This may mean you change your relationship with how you manage your money, and get smarter by making small changes in the way you operate that will have lasting positive results,” she says.

Like Marshall, she encourages people start by reflecting on their values and goals. Then, she says, shift your behaviors to reflect them. “You may even have to unlearn or change behaviors to be successful and…



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