It’s great to see you again (or maybe meet you for the first time). My path to FIRE has been an interesting one featuring a lot of personal ups and downs and financial challenges. For the longest time, I just went with the flow and lived life in the moment without much reflection or contemplation on the role finances play in shaping my future.

Re-Discovering Our Values

If you’ve read my story, you’ll know some of the financial hurdles I faced and the emotional and psychological toll these challenges haven taken on me and my family. Like most people, I compartmentalized finances into a separate box in my brain that was segregated from who I was and wanted to become. After facing some of my fears, I realized the mistake I made was that I did not connect my finances with my values. I never understood that finances are a reflection of your true self because it shows what you are willing to spend your hard earned time and money on in life. The problem was that I did not take the time to align my values, principles, and priorities with my financial actions. When facing financial headwinds, I did not have a strong foundation to tackle life’s challenges and it resulted in turmoil, depression, and anxiety. I was forced to rediscover my values as a person and really understand why I work for money in the first place. I needed to make a change.

A Values First Approach to Financial Independence

The path to financial independence is never linear or straightforward. We will all face challenges, doubts, and economic turmoil in our lifetime. It is inevitable. What I am learning from the FIRE community is that you need to start with your why, and it is essential to put your why into action. I’ve decided to take a values first approach to my path to financial independence.

For me, the values first approach is part of a larger plan to reach financial independence. This plan is founded on two key elements:

The Prairie FIRE Family Values and Money Priorities.

Our Values

Our values are really the guiding light we use to live out our lives. Whether it is living within our means or being free from debt, our values both centre us to make sure we are being authentic, and fuel us to keep going when times get tough. Below are the values the Prairie FIRE family has put together since we began our journey.

**CLICK ON EACH VALUE FOR MORE DETAILS**

We understand that we do not own the money, home, resources, and people that have come into our lives. Instead, we see ourselves as stewards and are responsible to look after these gifts and use them to our best ability to make a better world. We believe being a good steward means living within our means and not depending on credit and getting into consumer debt to support our day-to-day living.
Having a good, stable, and welcoming home is important to us. We want to invest in a house, neighbourhood, and community that we can make better and long-lasting.
We make our family a priority, making sure their present and future needs are taken care of and that we spend as much time together to support each other throughout our life.
We want to have healthy and supportive relationships with our friends. We want to do this by offering hospitality, grace, and a welcoming space for people to feel safe and supported. The best way for us to do this is to have a good home-base for people to visit and experience life together.
We believe in giving back and investing in the community we live in. This includes tithing, donating to causes we believe in, and volunteering.

Our Money Priorities

The second element to our financial independence plan is our money priorities. Money priorities is a key next step for us to make sure we are putting our money where our heart is and reflects our values both as a individuals and as a family unit.

**CLICK ON EACH MONEY PRIORITY FOR MORE DETAILS**

Money will first go to sustaining our family with the basics of life and amenities for us to be successful - food, shelter, utilities, etc.
Debt is such a heavy burden for so many people and can be a wealth killer. When money comes in, debt repayment takes priority over all other extra spending.
We’ve made giving back a priority because it reflects our faith and relationship with God. I personally see it as an act of faith to give up control and a method of freeing me up from falling into the trap of loving money instead of people.
Once all the basics are covered and we have given back, we look to see what we can do to invest our savings into different types of investments (stocks, bonds, real estate, etc.)
Making a safe and wonderful home is important to us and if you own your own home, you know it can be a financial struggle to maintain your home. We have decided to set aside a part of our budget to make sure our home meets our needs.

Establishing a Good Foundation

By establishing a good foundation of values and money priorities, we’ve been able to use them as a guiding light to financial freedom. By connecting our values with our finances and establishing money priorities, we’ve had a better sense of where to direct our finances.

Knowing your why, what you stand for, and your values is not an easy task. It’s even harder to connect all those things to your finances, because no one really teaches you how to get there. But, it is possible and I know you can do it. It takes time; but I encourage you to go ahead and give it a try. Feel free to reach out to me on your progress – I am totally open to discussing how I got here myself.

All the best,

Mr Prairie FIRE

Mr. Prairie FIRE