Joe Biden's Quote On Money Will Reveal What You Value!

Marc Nozell @ Flickr

Marc Nozell @ Flickr

By James Mills, Associate Partner & Mentorship Coach, Lighthouse International

How to discover what you value through looking at how you use your money...

Joe Biden is the former Vice-President of the United States, who served alongside Barack Obama in his two terms of presidential office. Mr Biden once shared a quote that can help people, organisations and governments see what they actually do value - rather than what they say is important to them...

"Don't tell me what you value, show me your budget, and I'll tell you what you value."

- Joe Biden

What can we learn from this quote and then apply to our own lives? Here are a few steps to answer that...

We Invest In What We Value! 

The way we use our money is an incredible eye-opener as to what we value; taking the time to look at our personal budgeting and spending will quickly reveal what's most important to us.

1. Where Do You Invest Your Money?

Here are 9 areas in which we can spend our disposable income after we've paid for our basic living costs...

  1. Debt repayment (eg loans, credit cards etc)
  2. Luxury items (eg expensive clothes, latest technology, gifts etc)
  3. Health & fitness (eg sports, gym membership, health supplements etc)
  4. Hobbies & interests (eg club memberships, music & film, specialised magazines, events etc)
  5. Socialising (eating and drinking out etc)
  6. Travel and holidays (weekend breaks, trips, overseas holidays etc)
  7. Personal development (books, courses, coaching etc)
  8. Savings & investments (stocks, shares, property, savings etc)
  9. Charitable giving (regular donations, ad-hoc sponsorship of others etc)

Using these 9 areas, take some time now to reflect on roughly how much you spend in your top 3 areas. If you like, you can take this one step further and calculate the exact amounts, which may be a bit of a revelation!!!

2. Look At Any Patterns

What stands out? How do you feel about where you are spending your money? Are there particular areas in which you would like to be spending or investing more or less money? Do you feel that you never have enough? Are there areas, in which you feel trapped into spending money?

3. Look At Your Motivations

Take your top 3 areas and reflect on the motivations below. What do you feel drives your spending? What would you like it to be motivated by?

  • Meeting basic needs - eg survival, security, thrift etc?
  • Leisure - eg fun, pleasure, adventure etc?
  • Success - eg growth, abundance, learning etc?
  • Giving - eg service, contribution, responsibility etc?

4. Decide What You Want!

From this exercise, you should begin to have an insight into your spending motivations to enable you to make meaningful changes.

For instance, if you find that most of your money is purely going on getting by, but you want to be more successful, then what are you doing to change this? Are you investing money in learning to become more successful through books, or even improving your financial situations? What are you willing to sacrifice... so as to make those investments that you want?

To discover more about your earning potential, check out these 6 questions!

How have you found this exercise?

UnsurprisingEye-openingRevealingA bit of a shock!


Would you value learning more about how you can improve the management of your money in line with your goals?

Yes pleaseNo thank you

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