Bonolo Mokua

How the things we value impact our financial decisions and long-term goals

Values & Money , Planning , Saving , Budgeting

The things we value can have a significant impact on our financial decisions. Our values influence how we prioritize our spending and saving, as well as the goals we set for our financial future.

According to Psychology Today, if you value experiences and personal growth, you may prioritize spending money on travel, education, or personal development activities. Alternatively, if you value security and stability, you may prioritize saving money for emergencies and retirement.

So how do you figure out what is important to you?

  1. Reflect on your values: Start by identifying what values are important to you. Values are the beliefs and principles that guide your behaviour and decisions. Examples of values include honesty, compassion, creativity, and growth. Reflect on what values resonate with you and prioritize them.
  2. Identify your passions: Think about the things that you enjoy doing or learning about. These activities or topics may be indications of what is important to you. Pursuing your passions can bring fulfilment and meaning to your life.
  3. Consider your goals: Your goals can also give you insight into what is important to you. What do you want to achieve in your career, relationships, or personal development? Identifying your goals can help you prioritize your time and energy.
  4. Evaluate your priorities: Take a step back and evaluate how you are currently spending your time and energy. Are you putting effort into things that align with your values and goals? If not, consider making adjustments to better align with what's important to you.
  5. Pay attention to your emotions: Your emotions can also give you clues about what's important to you. What activities or situations bring you joy or fulfilment? What activities or situations drain your energy or cause stress? Paying attention to your emotions can help you identify what's important and prioritize your time and energy accordingly.

How to set your goals according to what you value most according to where you are in life

Your financial priorities can vary depending on your life stage, age, financial situation and individual goals. Here are some general financial priorities that you should consider based on your age and what you may value:

Early 20s:

  • Building an emergency fund in case of a retrenchment.
  • Starting to save for retirement.
  • Paying off high-interest debt, such as credit card debt or student loans.
  • Creating a budget and tracking expenses.
  • Building credit by paying bills on time and using credit responsibly.

Mid-to-late 20s:

  • Increasing retirement savings.
  • Saving for a down payment on a home.
  • Paying off any remaining high-interest debt.
  • Establishing good financial habits, such as regularly checking credit scores and reviewing bills and adjusting these by paying more in order to finalise these payments.


  • Continuing to save for retirement.
  • Increasing emergency fund savings.
  • Purchasing life insurance (remember to check who your underwriter will be and what are the terms and conditions that could block your claim from being rejected).
  • Starting to save for children's education expenses – if you are planning on having children.
  • Reviewing and adjusting your investment portfolio according to what you can afford at the moment.


  • Accelerating your retirement savings.
  • Reviewing and updating your estate plan.
  • Paying off your bond.
  • Adjusting your investment portfolio to reflect your investment goals and risk tolerance.


  • Catching up on retirement savings.
  • Maximizing contributions to retirement accounts.
  • Paying off any remaining debt.
  • Planning for healthcare costs in retirement.

60s and beyond:

  • Finalising retirement plans.
  • Starting to take required minimum distributions.
  • Evaluating healthcare options, including long-term care insurance.
  • Reviewing your estate plan and legacy goals.

It's important to note that these priorities are not a one-size-fits-all solution, and your individual circumstances and financial goals may mean that you have different priorities.

If you 'missed' a step because of circumstances beyond your control like black tax, or taking out a credit card when you really didn’t need it, a financial advisor may be able to help figure out how to minimise the long-term effect of that. A good financial advisor can help you develop a financial plan that suits your specific needs.

Bonolo Mokua

Bonolo is multimedia journalist and content creator at Heartlines. She has experience in online and radio media production and helps spread the Heartlines message on multiple platforms.


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