Do You Have Sound Money Values?

By Rebecca Lake · January 25, 2023 · 10 minute read

We’re here to help! First and foremost, SoFi Learn strives to be a beneficial resource to you as you navigate your financial journey. Read more We develop content that covers a variety of financial topics. Sometimes, that content may include information about products, features, or services that SoFi does not provide. We aim to break down complicated concepts, loop you in on the latest trends, and keep you up-to-date on the stuff you can use to help get your money right. Read less

Do You Have Sound Money Values?

Money values are a set of beliefs about money and how it’s meant to be used. Do you believe that money is meant to be spent and enjoyed in the moment? Or do you believe that watching your pennies so you can retire early is your ultimate financial goal?

Whether someone’s financial values are positive or negative can influence the decisions they make with money. For example, research suggests that children who learn positive money lessons early on are more likely to be better with money and have stronger relationships as adults.

But where do money values come from? And are they set in stone or can they change over time? Understanding the impact of money values is an important step in improving your financial health. Here, you’ll uncover:

•   What are money values?

•   How are money values formed?

•   What are your money values?

•   How can you better align your values and finances?

What Are Money Values?

When talking about values in finance or in general, you’re talking about beliefs. Specifically, values are beliefs that motivate people to action in some way and drive behavior. If you apply that concept to finance, you could define money values as a set of beliefs that drive financial decision-making.

Financial values can be formed in childhood through your first-hand experiences with money. For example, if you grew up in a household that emphasized saving and avoiding debt, then you might be more inclined to value the importance of stashing cash away and delayed gratification as an adult. On the other hand, if you grew up in a home with a parent who was a compulsive shopper, then your money values might tell you that buying things constantly is normal behavior.

Financial values can vary widely from one person to the next, and it’s possible that you may have developed money values without being consciously aware of them. But those values can affect the decisions you make when it comes to saving, spending, and handling debt.

How Do Money Values Work?

Money values work by shaping your decision-making with money. They act as a guide to tell you what’s acceptable behavior for managing money and what isn’t. So again, someone with positive money values might believe that carrying excessive amounts of debt or making unnecessary purchases are bad financial habits to avoid.

If you have poor money values as an adult because of your childhood experiences with money, then you might not see anything wrong with being in debt. Or you might simply think that having lots of debt is a fact of life, and there’s nothing you can do to change it. For that reason, having negative money values can be dangerous to your financial health, today and tomorrow.

The good news is that it’s possible to change your money values over time. It can take an effort to learn new values and behaviors and adopt a new money mindset. However, the effort can be worth it if you’re not happy with your financial situation and you’d like to change it for the better.

Why Are Money Values Important?

There are certain fundamentals for personal finance that can help you to get ahead financially. These include things like budgeting, avoiding high interest debt, and saving consistently. Your money values matter because they can determine how committed you are to practicing good financial habits.

Here are some things that positive money values can do for you:

•   Help you to be more disciplined with your money, rather than allowing money to control you

•   Make it easier to keep track of money because you’re committed to sticking to a monthly budget and avoiding unnecessary spending

•   Give you clarity when setting up financial goals so that you know exactly what it is you want to achieve with your money

•   Underscore your purpose for pursuing those goals so that you stay motivated and on track

•   Make decisions confidently with your money, whether it’s where to invest or what to say to a friend who asks for money

Financial values can act as a guidepoint or compass for you so that you don’t feel like you’re operating in the dark with money. Understanding your personal values toward money can also help with navigating relationships with people who might have different financial values. The clarity you have about how you want to manage your money can help you stay the course to meet your goals.

Get up to $300 when you bank with SoFi.

Open a SoFi Checking and Savings Account with direct deposit and get up to a $300 cash bonus. Plus, get up to 4.60% APY on your cash!

Tips for Determining Your Money Values

If you’re not sure what your money values are or you’re questioning what they ought to be, figuring it out doesn’t have to be difficult. There are some simple exercises you can do to drill down to your financial values and what money means to you.

Creating a List of Where Money Impacts Your Life

When setting up a financial plan that revolves around money values, it’s helpful to first understand how money affects your life. Making a list of areas where money impacts you the most can give you perspective on what money values you have and how they drive your decision-making.

For example, consider how money affects you on these levels:

•   Friendships

•   Romantic relationships

•   Family relationships

•   Work and career decisions

•   Hobbies and recreation

•   Health

•   Long-term planning (whether that means home ownership or retirement)

Also, think about how money affects you mentally and emotionally. If money is a constant source of stress, for example, that could be a sign that your money values might be getting in the way of good financial habits.

Creating Goals for What You Want to Accomplish

Setting goals can motivate you to make changes to your financial outlook, whether big or small. It can also help you to determine what your money values are and how your goals align with those values.

Making two lists — one for short-term goals and one for long-term goals — can give you an idea of what you’d like to do with your money. For example, financial short- term goals might include:

•   Saving an emergency fund

•   Setting aside money for a vacation

•   Saving up for new furniture

Financial long-term goals on the other hand might be things like saving for retirement or putting a large down payment on a home. You can never have too many money goals, but it’s important to be realistic about what you can achieve at any given time.

Visualizing Where You Will Be in 5-10 Years

Many people use a five-year plan to map out their goals and financial progress. If you’ve never tried this before, consider where you’d like to be five or 10 years from now.

The idea is to create as vivid a picture as possible. For example:

•   Where will you live?

•   Will you rent your home or own it?

•   What kind of work will you be doing? Will you be working a 9-to-5 job, be in grad school, or running your own business?

•   How much money will you have in savings?

•   How much debt will you have?

•   Where will you be in terms of progress towards your long-term money goals?

Visualizing your future self is an important exercise because it gives you something to aim for. You can start working toward it now by adapting your money values to reflect where you want to go.

Prioritizing Your Goals

If you have multiple financial goals, you might not be able to knock them all out at once. So you’ll have to decide which ones are most important to focus on first.

For example, many people question whether it makes sense to save or pay down debt. Saving first can give you a small cushion so that you don’t have to turn to a credit card if an emergency comes along. On the other hand, putting off debt repayment can mean paying more in interest over time. Which side of the debate you land on can clue you in as to what your money values are.

You can go through each of your goals and ask yourself how urgent that goal is for you. That can help you to better organize your list so you know what to focus on first.

Living Out Core Values

Once you’ve identified what your money values are, you can work on living them out in your daily life. In other words, that means making sure that your behaviors with money match up with your beliefs about money.

So, let’s say early retirement is one of your long-term financial goals; specifically, you’d like to retire 15 years from now. Ask yourself what you need to do on a daily basis to reach that goal. It might mean finding ways to make more money or prioritizing debt payoff. Or it could be as simple as saying no to a night out with friends in order to save some cash.

When you consider how even seemingly small decisions might affect you financially, you’re living out your core money values. The more consistently you can do that, the easier it becomes to create the kind of financial life you want.

Tips for Aligning Your Values With Your Finances

Getting into some simple routines with your finances can make it easier to align them with your money values. Here are some of the best ways to make sure your financial values are reflected in how you manage your money:

•   Make a monthly budget and and then stick to it

•   Review your spending regularly

•   Use credit cards responsibly by keeping balances low and paying in full whenever possible

•   Start a regular savings plan

•   Contribute to a retirement account if you’re not doing that already

•   Choose investments that match up with your values

•   Consider ways that you can reduce expenses and save money

•   Surround yourself with people who have similar money values.

Communicating about money with your spouse or partner is another important step. If their financial values are different from yours, then talking things over can help you to avoid conflict. You may not be able to persuade them to accept your values or vice versa. However, you might be able to reach a compromise on how to manage your money that you’re both comfortable with.

Banking With SoFi

Having sound money values can pay off if you’re able to feel financially healthy and enjoy the kind of lifestyle you want without racking up debt. Or perhaps positive money values will help you buy a house sooner or retire earlier.

Part of managing your money successfully involves choosing the right place to keep your money. When you open an online banking account with SoFi, you can get checking and savings in one convenient package. SoFi charges no account fees and you can access your money online or via the SoFi app. When you enroll with direct deposit, you can earn a super competitive APY, which can help your money grow faster.

Better banking is here with SoFi, NerdWallet’s 2024 winner for Best Checking Account Overall.* Enjoy up to 4.60% APY on SoFi Checking and Savings.


Can you be financially stable without money values?

It’s possible to be financially stable even if you aren’t aware that you have any money values. You can still make good decisions with money without realizing that values are driving those decisions. But having clear financial values to follow can help make stability easier to achieve.

What are bad money values?

Bad money values are values that lead to poor decisions with money. For example, someone who carries a large amount of credit card debt or relies on expensive payday loans to cover the bills may never have learned how to properly budget. Poor money values don’t have to be set in stone, however; it’s possible to turn them into positive financial values.

Do wealthy people have good financial values?

Just because someone is wealthy doesn’t automatically mean they have good financial values. A billionaire who runs a Ponzi scheme, for example, might have money values that tell them that it’s okay to defraud others for their own benefit. While having good money values can help you build wealth, you don’t need to be rich to make good financial decisions.

Photo credit: iStock/MicroStockHub

Financial Tips & Strategies: The tips provided on this website are of a general nature and do not take into account your specific objectives, financial situation, and needs. You should always consider their appropriateness given your own circumstances.

SoFi® Checking and Savings is offered through SoFi Bank, N.A. ©2023 SoFi Bank, N.A. All rights reserved. Member FDIC. Equal Housing Lender.
The SoFi Bank Debit Mastercard® is issued by SoFi Bank, N.A., pursuant to license by Mastercard International Incorporated and can be used everywhere Mastercard is accepted. Mastercard is a registered trademark, and the circles design is a trademark of Mastercard International Incorporated.

SoFi members with direct deposit activity can earn 4.60% annual percentage yield (APY) on savings balances (including Vaults) and 0.50% APY on checking balances. Direct Deposit means a recurring deposit of regular income to an account holder’s SoFi Checking or Savings account, including payroll, pension, or government benefit payments (e.g., Social Security), made by the account holder’s employer, payroll or benefits provider or government agency (“Direct Deposit”) via the Automated Clearing House (“ACH”) Network during a 30-day Evaluation Period (as defined below). Deposits that are not from an employer or government agency, including but not limited to check deposits, peer-to-peer transfers (e.g., transfers from PayPal, Venmo, etc.), merchant transactions (e.g., transactions from PayPal, Stripe, Square, etc.), and bank ACH funds transfers and wire transfers from external accounts, or are non-recurring in nature (e.g., IRS tax refunds), do not constitute Direct Deposit activity. There is no minimum Direct Deposit amount required to qualify for the stated interest rate.

As an alternative to direct deposit, SoFi members with Qualifying Deposits can earn 4.60% APY on savings balances (including Vaults) and 0.50% APY on checking balances. Qualifying Deposits means one or more deposits that, in the aggregate, are equal to or greater than $5,000 to an account holder’s SoFi Checking and Savings account (“Qualifying Deposits”) during a 30-day Evaluation Period (as defined below). Qualifying Deposits only include those deposits from the following eligible sources: (i) ACH transfers, (ii) inbound wire transfers, (iii) peer-to-peer transfers (i.e., external transfers from PayPal, Venmo, etc. and internal peer-to-peer transfers from a SoFi account belonging to another account holder), (iv) check deposits, (v) instant funding to your SoFi Bank Debit Card, (vi) push payments to your SoFi Bank Debit Card, and (vii) cash deposits. Qualifying Deposits do not include: (i) transfers between an account holder’s Checking account, Savings account, and/or Vaults; (ii) interest payments; (iii) bonuses issued by SoFi Bank or its affiliates; or (iv) credits, reversals, and refunds from SoFi Bank, N.A. (“SoFi Bank”) or from a merchant.

SoFi Bank shall, in its sole discretion, assess each account holder’s Direct Deposit activity and Qualifying Deposits throughout each 30-Day Evaluation Period to determine the applicability of rates and may request additional documentation for verification of eligibility. The 30-Day Evaluation Period refers to the “Start Date” and “End Date” set forth on the APY Details page of your account, which comprises a period of 30 calendar days (the “30-Day Evaluation Period”). You can access the APY Details page at any time by logging into your SoFi account on the SoFi mobile app or SoFi website and selecting either (i) Banking > Savings > Current APY or (ii) Banking > Checking > Current APY. Upon receiving a Direct Deposit or $5,000 in Qualifying Deposits to your account, you will begin earning 4.60% APY on savings balances (including Vaults) and 0.50% on checking balances on or before the following calendar day. You will continue to earn these APYs for (i) the remainder of the current 30-Day Evaluation Period and through the end of the subsequent 30-Day Evaluation Period and (ii) any following 30-day Evaluation Periods during which SoFi Bank determines you to have Direct Deposit activity or $5,000 in Qualifying Deposits without interruption.

SoFi Bank reserves the right to grant a grace period to account holders following a change in Direct Deposit activity or Qualifying Deposits activity before adjusting rates. If SoFi Bank grants you a grace period, the dates for such grace period will be reflected on the APY Details page of your account. If SoFi Bank determines that you did not have Direct Deposit activity or $5,000 in Qualifying Deposits during the current 30-day Evaluation Period and, if applicable, the grace period, then you will begin earning the rates earned by account holders without either Direct Deposit or Qualifying Deposits until you have Direct Deposit activity or $5,000 in Qualifying Deposits in a subsequent 30-Day Evaluation Period. For the avoidance of doubt, an account holder with both Direct Deposit activity and Qualifying Deposits will earn the rates earned by account holders with Direct Deposit.

Members without either Direct Deposit activity or Qualifying Deposits, as determined by SoFi Bank, during a 30-Day Evaluation Period and, if applicable, the grace period, will earn 1.20% APY on savings balances (including Vaults) and 0.50% APY on checking balances.

Interest rates are variable and subject to change at any time. These rates are current as of 10/24/2023. There is no minimum balance requirement. Additional information can be found at


All your finances.
All in one app.

SoFi QR code, Download now, scan this with your phone’s camera

All your finances.
All in one app.

App Store rating

SoFi iOS App, Download on the App Store
SoFi Android App, Get it on Google Play

TLS 1.2 Encrypted
Equal Housing Lender