Do Your Money Habits Align with Your Values?


In January, I started an intense coaching training program with the CoachDiversity Institute. (It’s so awesome!) One of the most impactful sessions was when we mapped out our top five values. Once we identified our most important values, we had to admit whether or not we are currently living true to those values.

To be honest, I had never really thought about this before. I always knew I felt better when I was making a difference, but I never sat down to identify the values that are most important to me.

It turns out, one of the key ways to find fulfillment is to make choices that follow our values. Values are beliefs and principles that make what we do in life worthwhile and meaningful to us. Your goals will be a lot easier to attain if they line up with what you believe in most.

So, how can you align your money habits with your values?

1. Choose your top five values

Think about what brings you the most happiness and excitement. What makes you feel like what you’re doing isn’t work? What values might those things be connected to?

My top five (at the moment) are connection, community, impact, understanding, and independence. If I hone into my value of independence, my goal of running my own business full-time feels much more attainable. It even feels inevitable. Once I realized how important connection and community are to me, it also became much easier to make new friends and join organizations that I care about.

Here are some more examples for you to choose from: abundance, acceptance, balance, compassion, courage, expression, fulfillment, humor, learning, power, respect, spirituality… the list almost is endless.

So, what are your top choices?

2. Analyze your current financial habits

Take a look at your last three months of spending. You can do this by skimming through your old bank statements, or through a program like Mint. (It might be faster and easier to use a program that can categorize your expenses.) Identify where you’re putting most of your money. Are you happy with where your money is going? Are your patterns setting you up for success and helping you live your values?

If one of your values is abundance, but you constantly feel stressed and lacking around money, you are likely not living in line with that value. How can you make improvements in this area? Perhaps you need to get a higher paying job, or perhaps you need to reassess how you think about money.

3. Identify how your values translate into financial goals

Now that you’ve figured out what your values are and where your money is going, you can develop new habits and goals! If your current habits don’t line up with what you want to do with your life, you can change that. And, I think you’ll find yourself more motivated to make those changes.

Perhaps you want to spend less on cab rides and more on experiences like concerts or travel. Funnel your money to the things that make you happier. Maybe you’re working in a job that underpays you and doesn’t fulfill your emotional needs. Start networking and job searching.

How can you make your money work for you? What goals can you set that will help you to live a life that is happier and more fulfilled?

4. Work towards those goals!

Now that you know how you want to live your life, and the steps to get there, get started! Need support and encouragement? Join Money Circle!

This post originally appeared on Maggie Germano Financial Coaching. Want to read more? Check out or subscribe to Maggie’s weekly newsletter!

Have wisdom to share? Want to be a volunteer writer to share with your GatherDC community?  Email Jackie for more info!

The views and opinions expressed in this blog and on this website are solely those of the original authors. These views and opinions do not necessarily represent those of the organization GatherDC, the GatherDC staff, the GatherDC board, and/or any/all contributors to this site.

Top 10 Things You Thought You Couldn’t Do as an Adult But Totally Still Can

Camp Nai Nai Nai is Jewish Summer Camp for Adults! It’s taking place this Memorial Day Weekend only 80 miles from DC, and it’s offering all the fun you ever had, or watched your friends have, at Jewish summer camp (but without any of the rules)! Here’s our list of the top ten things you thought you could never do again, but totally still can. [Sponsored by Camp Nai Nai Nai]

Save your Seat at a Sephardic Seder!

Passover is a very special time for Sephardic Jews and many communities have different practices, customs, and rituals on the holiday.

Most of you already know that most Sephardic communities (but not all) eat kitniyot; such as rice, corn, millet, dried beans and lentils, peas, green beans, soybeans, peanuts, sesame seeds, poppy seeds, and mustard. But did you also know that many Sephardic communities have developed various customs and practices for the Seder itself?



Some of these customs include:

  • Beginning the Seder by passing the Seder plate over the heads of all the guests, to demonstrate that we were once slaves in Egypt and carried heavy burdens on our heads.
  • Lightly whipping fellow dinner guests with a scallion during the singing of Dayenu to remind us that it was a miracle that we were freed from the lash of oppression.
  • Eating a soft matzoh that more closely resembles the matzoh eaten by the Israelites leaving Egypt.
  • Making a date-based charoset paste or chutney.

You can experience some of these unique customs in DC this year. For the first time, Sephardic Jews in DC will be hosting our first Sephardic Seder. At this Seder you will learn more about these customs, as well as sample the many traditional Passover dishes from various Sephardic and Mizrahi communities across the world.

To reserve your place at our seder please purchase them on our EventBrite page. Please note that the Seder is primarily geared towards Young Professionals in the DC Metro area (20’s and 30’s).

Sephardic Jews in DC will also be co-sponsoring a fun Mimouna happy hour and dance party along with the Israeli House, Moishe House, EntryPointDC, and JScreen. A Mimouna is a traditional festival event celebrating the end of Pesach. The custom was brought over to Israel by Sephardic refugees from Northern Africa and has been adopted as a National Holiday in Israel. Join us to celebrate the end of Passover with traditional Moroccan and Israeli sweets, great Happy Hour specials, henna artists, dancing, and awesome music! Buy your tickets here.

To learn more about Sephardic Passover customs please consult ethe following links:

Jewish Journalist of the Week – Michael

I met Michael early on in my job at GatherDC (at the time it was Gather the Jews). He’s a constant presence in the DC Jewish community. In our interview, I found out about his life living in Hong Kong, his past helping out during the early days of GatherDC, and why he loves journalism. Find out more about the Jewish Journalist of the Week in this week’s interview.

Introducing our Newest Addition: Innovator’s Advisory Network!

We’ve got big news! No, we’re not changing our name again. ​GatherDC is ​creating an Innovator’s Advisory Network and we want you to apply to be part of it.​

What is an “Innovator’s Advisory Network” you ask? It’s a group of people (possibly including you!) who will engage in dynamic conversations and give strategic guidance about our broader Jewish community and GatherDC’s role with​in it.

Why Should I Join This Network​?

  • GET CONNECTED with other impressive 20/30 somethings in DC who are accomplished, creative and share ​common interests.

  • GAIN EXPERIENCE with the ​lean, ​non-profit start-up culture. There is no organization like GatherDC in the country. You will gain insight​s​ into the running of a non-profit that serves the local community with new approaches​.

  • STAY INFORMED with the strategic direction of GatherDC and help lead that direction.

What Will I Do As A Part Of This Network?

  • RESEARCH & DEVELOPMENT – You’ll help research and develop new ideas, approaches and services based on existing and emerging community needs, demographic information and trends.
  • BRAND AMBASSADOR – You will promote GatherDC to broader audiences through one-on-one conversations, public brand affiliation, and engagement with social media. (We’ll give you some pretty awesome free swag, too​.​)

  • RESOURCE EXPANSION – Become thought partners and connectors to help GatherDC acquire new resources. You can also help foster organizational partnerships with local businesses and venues.

What You’d Agree To:

  • One year commitment with option for re-application

  • Minimum contribution of $18 a month (total of $216 per year)

  • 6 bi-monthly meetings beginning in May

  • 3 social ​Innovator’s Network events

I’m In! What Next?:
  • APPLY NOW.​ Applications ​will be ​accepted through April 21st. There are limited spots. If you have any questions or would like to speak further, please email

Rabbi Rant: The Power of Listening

Maybe I don’t know how to relax.

While most people choose to spend their vacations on a beach, last week I spent my vacation in the West Bank.

Through an organization called Encounter, I was there facilitating a group of American Jewish leaders who came to learn about Palestinian narratives. Encounter is non-partisan and has a unique educational philosophy rooted in listening, not dialogue.

I’m a strong advocate for dialogue, and I struggled for years with Encounter’s methodology. Why I am being silenced, instead of being able to respond and challenge? Also, there are at least two sides to every conflict – why are we exposing participants to such a distorted, one-sided view?

More recently, however, I’ve come to appreciate the deep spiritual power of listening.

As Pádraig Ó Tuama, an Irish theologian who was recently interviewed by Krista Tippett, said: “I think we infuse words with a sense of who we are. And so therefore, you’re not just saying a word; you’re communicating something that feels like your soul… There is the way within which there’s a generosity of listening. And when somebody says something to try to figure out, ‘Did I hear them correctly?’”

We all need to be heard. When we focus on our own need to be heard, we become incapable of hearing others. But when we remove the expectation that we will be heard, we are able to truly listen. In order to fulfill that need in others, we have to temporarily suppress that need within ourselves.

Listening is an essential part of our spiritual tradition. It’s the focus of a central prayer that we recite every morning and every evening – the Shema: “Listen, Israel…”.

Perhaps we need to remind ourselves of its importance twice a day precisely because it’s so hard to do. Or, perhaps we need the frequent reminder because we Jews are so bad at it. And that’s not my assessment, it’s God’s: “’I have seen this people, and, behold, it is a stiffnecked people” (Exodus 32:8). As the commentator Rashi explains: “They turn the stiff back of their necks toward those who would rebuke them and refuse to listen.”

And so, to counteract this tendency, the Talmud instructs us: “Make your ears like a funnel and acquire for yourself an understanding heart to hear.”

I’ve tried hard to internalize this message this past month. In addition to my recent trip, I’ve also been at JStreet and AIPAC conferences, and I’ve listened to Palestinians, Israelis and Americans with vastly different perspectives.

Listening isn’t about about arguing or debating; it’s about witnessing another’s experience. It won’t necessarily change our views, but it will expand our hearts.

The views and opinions expressed in this blog and on this website are solely those of the original authors. These views and opinions do not necessarily represent those of the organization GatherDC, the GatherDC staff, the GatherDC board, and/or any/all contributors to this site.