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Identity and Money

How we define ourselves and are defined by others can be a tricky business. We may or may not be clear on our identity depending on where we are in life and what we choose as a label. Some of those labels change (teenager, sister, mother, spouse, etc.) while others remain more constant (white, upper middle class, etc.)

However it evolves, our identity influences financial decisions and actions whether conscious or unconscious. For example, I consider myself an environmentalist and believe in the threat of climate change. As a result, I've made conscious business decisions to create products and services that avoid adding to landfills. This is why I chose coaching and creating digital content. I love that my book is printed on demand. I train as much as possible online to avoid the impact of travel.

The following are different examples of how our identity influences our financial decisions.

  1. Financial goals and values: If you value experiences and personal growth, you might prioritize saving money for travel or education. If you prioritize stability and security, you might focus on building an emergency fund or investing for retirement.

  2. Spending habits and lifestyle choices: If you identify as a minimalist or prioritize environmental sustainability, you might decide to live a frugal lifestyle and avoid excessive consumerism. On the other hand, if you identify as a fashion enthusiast or prioritize self-expression, you might allocate more funds toward clothing and accessories.

  3. Financial decision-making: If you identify as risk-averse, you may be more conservative in your investment choices and prefer low-risk options. If you identify as an entrepreneur or have a growth-oriented mindset, you might be more willing to take calculated risks and invest in business ventures.

  4. Philanthropy and giving: If you identify as someone who values social justice or community engagement, you might allocate a portion of your financial resources toward supporting causes and organizations that align with your values.

  5. Financial empowerment and independence: If you identify as someone who values self-reliance and autonomy, you might strive to achieve financial stability and reduce reliance on external financial support.

As I write this, I'm thinking, "duh." This isn't rocket science nor is it a new perspective. Which is kind of my point. We can get so lost in our worlds or on auto-pilot that we lose touch with what drives our actions.

As we celebrate PRIDE this month of June, we're challenged to look at where our money is going and why. Politically, we're seeing more investment in policies and practices that discriminate against the LGBTQIA+ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and/or questioning, intersex, asexual/aromantic/agender) community which is both heartbreaking and unacceptable. Sure, a diversity of perspectives is healthy and money can help us all learn from those perspectives. However, using money to control what we have access to and whether we can express our identity is simply not ok.


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