Where is your money? What is your money relationship? Is your money as close to you as your own skin? Do you nurture and value your money? Is your money as close to you as your favorite uncle or more like your third cousin twice removed? Or, do you treat your money like the wrapped gift you got last year; buried in a box on the bottom shelf of your garage somewhere behind the holiday decorations. These are some tough questions which require truthful answers.
Healthy growth comes with a little pruning
Remember, healthy growth comes with a little pruning. Let me illustrate. You were looking in your purse or wallet for the $20 you thought you had. Only to realize you don’t remember spending it. Here is a challenge which needs addressing. Remember our promise we made to ourselves this year. We are going to manage our spending and our saving in a more efficient manner. At least that’s what we told ourselves at the beginning of the year.
Where did the money go so fast?
Do you find yourself asking, “Where did the money go so fast?” Don’t be harsh with yourself. This is about taking control, knowing the whereabouts of your money and improving your relationship with your money. One of the multiple paths to financial success does not require you hitting the lottery or winning a million dollars. Success comes from personal money relationships and effective money management. Did you know that on average, depending on your income, most people with make $250,000 to $1,000,000 over the course of their working lifetime?
The problem in many cases is not getting the money
So, the problem in many cases is not getting the money. The issue is finding where you put it, what you did with it, or where you left it. Now, these might seem like the same statements but they are not. I categorize “putting” under-investing, or saving. You’ve put your money in stocks, ETFs, bonds, CDs or some type of investment with the intent of growth for future use; whether that be for college, retirement, an exotic vacation for example. What you did with your money comes under the heading of monthly expenditures. The responsibilities you have on a monthly or weekly basis such as groceries, rent or mortgage payments, auto payments, auto insurance, etc.
I categorized left as those buying sprees or spree where you “left” both your mind and your money at the store. You came to your senses once you hit the parking lot but were too embarrassed to go back to the store and return the items you just purchased. You went to the store with the intent of getting the two items you needed but left the store with a shopping cart full of items having no clue as to why you bought them.
Prosperous money relationship with your money
Again, you are not judging yourself. You are bringing about a positive change through personal awareness. Our goal is to improve our relationship with our self and our money. To do this we must first know where our money is going by looking closely at our relationships with our money. In the real world, of course, life is a combination of “put”, “did”, and “left”. However, powerful growth can be triggered through knowing your true relationship with your money. From this position, you are able to make the dynamic modifications and adjustments necessary to bringing about a healthy, loving, and prosperous relationship with your money.
Does money bring happiness?
Here is an age-old question, “Does money bring happiness?” Sometimes it does, and sometimes it does not. There is no one size fits all answer. If you are willing to review the various aspects of the “happiness-money” relationship and find the perspective that is most relevant to your current needs, you will be able to use this perspective to steer yourself towards a happier and more fulfilling life. In this article, I will go over a few ways to look at the relationship. As you read, reflect on how this may be relevant in your current life situation.
Money can indirectly impact happiness
One view is that money can indirectly impact happiness by making our lives more comfortable. For example, in cold winter time, having the money to pay for heating in the home will make life a lot more comfortable physically. That would mean that you can choose not to walk around home all wrapped up in thick sweaters if you would rather not and you definitely do not need to suffer the bite of the cold winter air. This is one level of viewing the relationship between money and happiness. Let’s take this further.
Stumbling on Happiness
According to Daniel Gilbert, a Harvard University psychologist, Americans who earned $50,000 per year were a lot happier compared to those who earned $10,000 per year. However, Americans who earned $5 million a year did not exhibit a much higher level of happiness than those who earned $100,000 per year. If you are interested, you can read more about this in Professor Gilbert’s bestselling book “Stumbling on Happiness,” published in 2007.
You have $1,000 versus $100
Think about it, if you have $100 in your pocket for a week’s grocery shopping, you can pick and choose a lot of different foods. Now if you have only $10 budget to spend for the week, you may have to forgo a few things and hence experience a decrease in happiness. And if you have $1,000 versus $100, it may not make that much of a difference to you, since $100 would have sufficiently addressed your needs. So, if you go with this view, then more money will be necessary for more happiness up to a point. Then its impact on happiness will level off.
There are some things that money can never buy
Here’s another perspective. Like the Visa advertising we see on TV, there are some things that money can never buy. For example, having a supportive family, meaningful friendships, having self-confidence, being able to do work you love and more. All of these are intangibles that cannot be directly purchased with money and they all have a definite impact on happiness. It is important to recognize these things.
There are numerous perspectives on the relationship between money and happiness. It is a multi-faceted relationship. Instead of just simply saying that money will or will not create happiness, it is perhaps best to take time to reflect on what we truly seek for in our individual lives. For example, is it better relationships, personal development, freedom from financial worry, or something else? Then, it becomes easier to see how money relates to all that we are seeking and earn it from a proper perspective.