Photo: Stephen Lesavich

It has never been more important to understand your financial values. What are your financial values? Can you define them?

value is defined as “a person’s principles or standards of behavior; one’s judgment of what is important in life.”

Financial values are defined as “what you think or believe about debt, credit, spending, money and investments.”

What are your financial values right now?

Do you know what the roots of your financial values actually are?”


Do you know how the root of your financial values affects you?

Let me tell you a true story. In the city I grew up in, a few blocks from my house was urban strip center of businesses that occupied a whole city block and included a tavern, a drug store, a hardware store, a beauty salon, a remote branch of the city’s public library, a dry cleaners and a gas station. On the other side of the street there was a grocery store that occupied a whole city block. My mom did not have a driver’s license at that time, so she used to take our red wagon and walk with my brother and I to get groceries and pick up things at the drug store.

The drug store included a soda fountain where you could order a flavored soda, ice cream sundaes and buy all kinds of candy from jars. On a window sill for the large glass front window of the drug store was a large number of boxes of small plastic toys.

I first learned about and set my initial root for my financial values because of one of the small plastic toys in a box on the window sill of the drug store when I was 6 years old. I became fascinated with a plastic green army half-track vehicle in the box of toys. My dad was a solider in World War II so I had an interest in war related toys, which were popular at that time, a time long before video games.

I wanted my mom to buy me the toy, however she indicated that I had to earn it by doing chores for which she would pay me an allowance.

The toy was 49 cents plus the sales tax. I do not remember exactly what the state tax rate was in those days, but the total price was about 52 cents total.

At that time my mom was paying 10 cents per week to do my chores which including setting the table for supper and taking out the garbage.

I realize how out of date the prices are. However, it was my reality when I was a young child. If the amounts bother you, substitute in new dollar amounts.

So to purchase the toy, I had to work for six weeks, a whole month and a half, and save all my allowance to save 60 cents to buy the toy which was 52 cents.

During those six weeks, when I would go to the drug store with my mom and my brother, my brother would freely spend his allowance on candy, sodas and ice cream. I had to watch him enjoy all his treats without buying anything for myself.

After six weeks of work and saving I was able to proudly walk into the drug store and buy my toy. My mom and my dad both said they were proud of me for saving my money to buy the toy.

I still have that toy and I have included a picture of it above. The plastic is very brittle and the axle for the front wheel is very rusty because it is over fifty years old. However, I keep this toy on a shelf in my office as a reminder of my own financial root.

Wanting to purchase that toy provided a positive root for my own initial financial values. The purchase also planted a seed of interest in me for financial matters.

That seed grew over my lifetime and motivated me to co-author an award-winning and best-selling book, The Plastic Effect: How Urban Legends Influence the Use and Misuse of Credit Cards.

My book is a self-help book helping people understand credit, debt and how credit cards and debit cards actual work. The book won an independent publisher award, named the best new book in the finance/budgeting category and became a best-seller in paper and electronic formats on Amazon.

Get additional insights on Financial Values from the Out There on the Edge of Everything® Podcast.

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Do you know your own financial value root? Did your own financial value root allow you to plant financial seeds in your life?

  • How can you determine the root of your financial values?

Just like my story, go back to your earliest memory when you made choices about money. What were your seeing, touching, hearing, smelling and tasting? What were feeling?

Did you feel positive emotions? Did you feel happy? Did you feel proud? Did you feel satisfied? Did you fulfilled?

Or did you feel negative emotions? Did you feel sad? Did you feel ashamed? Did you feel unsatisfied? Did you feel disappointed?

If you were experiencing negative emotions do you remember your parents saying negative narrative like “money does not grow on trees,” “money is the root of all evil,” “we cannot afford that,” “we are poor and will always be poor,” etc.

Write down everything you remember. If the root of your financial values is negative, are you willing to change it?

  • How can you plant some new seeds to create new financial values?

Write down some new money strategies for your short-term and long term financial goals, including your retirement. These new money strategies will help ensure your financial security.

Associate your new money strategies with positive emotions and new positive narratives, such “my income exceeds my expenses,” “money flows freely into my life,” “there is always more than enough money in my life,” etc.

Make smart choices moving forward when spending your money. Create a budget and stick to it. Buy the things you need, like food, clothing, etc. and every now and then reward yourself with something you really want for successfully using your new money strategies.

Using your new money strategies will also provide positive seeds to create new financial values for yourself.

Determining the root of your financial values and planting seeds to create new financial values will allow you to make a positive impact in your life moving forward.

Out There on the Edge of Everything®…

Stephen Lesavich, PhD

Copyright © 2020, by Stephen Lesavich, PhD.  All rights reserved.

Certified solution-focused life coach and experienced business coach.