What is a Personal Mission Statement?

by Neal Frankle, CFP ®

Let’s pretend that you are playing Jeopardy. Alex Trebec turns and says to you, “ the answer is “the key to your financial success””. You answer “what is a personal mission statement?” Congratulations. You just won the daily double.

What is a personal mission statement?

A personal mission statement declares who you are and what you stand for. It spells out what you are here to do – plain and simple. It defines what gives your life meaning.

Why is a personal mission statement so important to your financial success?

Because your personal mission statement is the filter through which you make all your important decisions. Clearly, financial choices fall into that camp.

Your personal mission statement embodies your values and goals. As a result, your spending, saving and investing behavior should reflect (rather than conflict with) your statement. Let’s see how to build your PMS and then consider how important it is in your financial life.

The Most Important Question You Could Ask

Keep in mind that your personal mission statement is designed to do three things:

  1. Uncover what your values are.
  2. Identify what kind of people you want to build your life around.
  3. Define what the result of your life would be as a result of you living your personal mission statement.

You could answer a series of 10 to 15 questions to try to create your mission statement over time but I don’t think you have to resort to that. There is one question that can help you create your personal mission statement in no time at all. Here it is:

“If money weren’t an issue and you knew you couldn’t fail, what would you spend your time doing?”

I wish I came up with this question myself but it was the brain child of my accountability partner Nathan. We spent an hour or so noodling this one and talking it over. Finally my answer became clear.

If money weren’t an issue and if failure was not possible, I’d spend my time helping others alleviate unnecessary financial fear and pain. This is my personal mission statement. This is what energizes me. This is what makes me come alive. It’s what I try to do with my family, my business and Wealth Pilgrim. But up until the time I spoke with Nathan, I wasn’t really conscious of it.

But I’ll tell you this.  It just felt wonderful when I realized is was my mission because it bought everything together. I immediately felt a renewed sense of energy. And being aware of my statement helps me focus in a very new way at home and at work. It’s amazing.

Before we go on, take a few minutes to answer this question for yourself. Take all the time you need. Speak to your accountability partner and/or loved ones to make sure you’re on track. Don’t worry about being perfect. You don’t have to be. Just do your best and understand that you can always refine your personal mission statement over time.

How does this relate to finances?personal mission statement

In my case, I want to alleviate financial fear and pain – not create it. That means my budget must be under control, I have to regulate my spending and I must invest prudently. If I don’t do these things I’m not going to get the results I want most.

Do you ever get a nagging feeling that something is wrong but you can’t quite put your finger on what it is? This is what it is. It’s when you act in a way that is contrary to your values.

By being mindful of your personal mission statement, you’ll deviate from your core value less often. Score!

The Real Power of Your Personal Mission Statement

Once you define your mission statement you’ll start seeing everything you do through that lens. And it goes far beyond personal finance. The cool thing is you can live your personal mission statement all day long. That means you can be and feel successful 24/7 and it has nothing to do with dollar bills.

You can reflect your PMS at work, at home, with friends and even while shopping. When you do, you’ll feel complete and successful. No material success can deliver that kind of well-being. Does this make sense?

What is your personal mission statement? Are you living it? If not, what needs to change?


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