Everyone wants to build up their wealth but to do so, you need more than just money. You also need financial integrity. In other words, you need to make sure your daily interactions are aligned with your financial goals.
But how exactly do you live a life of financial integrity? Keep reading to find out the financial integrity meaning, questions to ask yourself to see if your goals align with it, and steps to take to get on track.
What is financial integrity?
While the financial integrity meaning is usually used to describe businesses, it can also be incorporated into your personal life. Financial integrity means integrating day-to-day actions that are aligned with your personal financial goals.
It means taking responsibility for your finances and creating a plan to reach your goals. It’s part of living with integrity and being honest with yourself about your financial situation, habits, and values.
Why is financial integrity important?
Financial integrity can help you lead a more fulfilling and successful life. It allows you to prioritize your resources, so you are focusing on the things that matter the most to you. It’s not about having lots of money. It’s about managing the resources you have to reach the goals you want.
For example, let’s say you want to pay off all your credit card debt in two years. Living with integrity would mean making sure you budget to pay off your debt. It means not reaching for your credit card when you want to buy something, but instead making a conscious decision to put aside as much as you can to pay off your debt.
5 Questions to ask if you want to live a life of financial integrity
If you want to have a life of financial integrity, then you need to start by asking yourself these five questions:
1. Do you spend less than you earn?
How much do you spend in a month? Do you have money set aside for your savings and investments? Start by spending some time evaluating your budget and spending habits.
If you’re in the red every month and have nothing left to put towards your financial goals, then you are likely unaligned. So this means you are living beyond your means and you need to reassess your finances.
2. Do you spend time analyzing and understanding your investments on a regular basis?
Do you set aside time every month and quarter to check your finances? What about your investments? Do you understand why your investments have risen or fallen each month?
If you know you need to understand your investments better but keep finding excuses to not do the work, then you’re not living a life of financial integrity. We all do this from time to time, but it's essential to prioritize your finances.
Investing might seem daunting at first, but spend a bit of time each week to learn new concepts and you’ll find it’s not nearly as complicated as it appears to be.
3. Do you manage your cash flow?
Do you know where your money is? Or do you have a budget? Do you know what your net worth is? In a business, it’s more important to have good cash flow than it is to have a profit.
Why? Because even if a business posts a profit, if they are in a lot of debt and don’t have extra cash free to invest in their company, they aren’t able to build their business. The same goes for your personal finances. Having cash flow means having the ability to invest in yourself.
4. Do you set financial goals each quarter and year?
What are your financial goals? Sure, you might have a few big ones like buying a home or retiring comfortably. But have you broken it down into specific steps? Setting goals each quarter and year means you’re more likely to reach those goals. You could even break it down into monthly goals to make it easier to achieve!
Breaking down something big like buying a home makes it more measurable. Maybe you want to save $50,000 for a downpayment on a house. Instead of looking at the end number, break it down into smaller goals, like saving $10,000 each year.
5. Are you using the best tools and resources at your disposal?
There are a lot of tools and resources available when it comes to personal finances. Are you using the ones that are best for you? Or are you making your life unnecessarily difficult by not using all of the resources available to you?
You can start with our completely free financial courses and worksheets here at Clever Girl Financ eto expand your knowledge of finances so that you can live a life of financial integrity.
4 Ways to align your life with financial integrity
So now that you have done a bit of self-reflection it's time to take steps to start living with integrity!
1. Grow your savings every month
The best thing you can do for yourself is to put money into your savings. You don’t have to put a lot aside. While most experts recommend setting aside 20% or more, the amount you put aside is highly personal and depends on your current financial situation.
The most important thing is to put aside something. Once you have a good savings amount and an emergency fund set up, you can use your savings to build up your wealth and reach your financial goals. That can mean paying off debt, putting more into an IRA, or buying a home. One of the easiest ways to find more money to save is to start living below your means.
2. Keep a budget and review your finances regularly
So, the second-best way to align your life with financial integrity is to keep a budget. There are a lot of budgeting systems out there. The most important thing is to find one that works for you and stick with it.
And make sure you are reviewing your finances on a regular basis. Goals change. It’s important to keep your goals and finances aligned. If you’ve decided to buy a new car instead of remodeling your bathroom, your daily financial habits will change as a result.
3. Spend time researching investment strategies
Knowledge is power. While this might be a cliche, in the investing world, it’s a very true cliche. And the best way to get knowledge is to study. Take a few courses on investing, read blogs and books, and read the financial news. Understanding investing concepts can help you figure out how to manage your investments.
There are lots of different investing strategies out there. There’s no one system that fits everyone. In fact, you’re likely to change your investing habits and strategies as you get closer to retirement.
4. Make prudent investments on a regular basis
And lastly, if you want to live a life of financial integrity, you should invest on a regular basis. If you do step three, you’ll have the insight you need to make sound investment decisions.
Start by setting up an IRA and making regular contributions. And use step two to review your investments on a regular basis.
And remember that investing doesn’t necessarily mean investing in the stock market. You can also invest in yourself, whether that means paying off your student loans or creating your own business. The most important thing is to make sure your investments are aligned with your personal goals and values.
You can live a life of financial integrity!
Living with integrity is essential to ensure your success and happiness. You don’t have to be rich to have financial integrity. At its core, financial integrity is about living a life of meaning and making sure your goals and values are aligned with your finances.
Start working towards financial integrity with our completely free "Build a solid foundation" bundle! You will learn how to organize your finances, transform your money mindset, create financial goals, and make a budget that's perfect for you. Also, tune in to the Clever Girls Know podcast and YouTube channel for more top money tips!