Are You Spending and Saving Consciously?

Author Patricia Aburdene shares how consumers can align their values with their spending habits.

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It goes back to this notion of you taking responsibility. You hired that financial adviser and it's your prerogative to fire them and hire somebody else. So you have to keep the willingness to embody that responsibility. Be very polite to them and say, "I've enjoyed working with you, but I don't think that you really reflect my values." So the next time you find somebody, you ask them, "What do you think? I want my investments to be aligned with my values. What are some companies that you think have good values?" and see what they have to say.

The shorthand for looking for something like that would be to ask an adviser the extent to which he or she is comfortable and knowledgeable about socially responsible investing.

Can people's financial goals and their values coexist? Or are they sometimes in conflict?

I think that the conventional wisdom holds that financial goals are incompatible with values. And Conscious Money is a new mindset that says, "What are the financial actions that I could take? What are the investments that I could make? And how can I spend my money in a way that satisfies my heart and my head?"

Is there anything else you'd like to add?

It's not about the perfection of values or the do-gooder, sort of commendation of values—it's about having a positive, healthy, life-affirming relationship. So when your ideals and your actions are in harmony, I think that you really make better financial decisions because your emotions are steadier. Your judgment is enhanced. So it can really be positive financially.

[Take our Quiz: Are you Spending Too Much on Your Children?]

Conscious Money is not about getting rich quick or anything close to that. There is a reasonable consideration that you will be able to grow your money organically over the long term—not fly-by-night quick, but by living in harmony with your values and also financial principles.