You work, you save, you invest. That’s wealth building cycle. But at what point do you reach financial happiness so you can say “I now have enough”? Let’s chat.
Hustle culture is right in front of our face. Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter feeds are full of messages that you should grind, stack, and repeat.
This way of living has its share of advocates and enemies, and I totally get why. On one hand, fulfilling dreams does take intense action.
It’s not enough to dream it, you have to be willing to put in the consistent work.
And when it comes to building wealth, having the laser focus to stay committed to the journey will no doubt pay off.
But, you have to find balance.
If you aren’t careful, you can end up spending your entire life chasing money and not LIVING.
That’s the opposite of living a balanced and abundant life of financial well-being.
We all want to feel financially comfortable and happy. But in order to feel financial happiness, you have to define what that means to you.
That’s the only way you can truly determine how much money is enough for you.
What is “enough”?
Is there even a such thing as “enough”?
Well, there’s a very vocal corner of the political spectrum that would say yes. I would say yes as well, but for different reasons.
Before you start thinking I’ve gone off the deep left end, I need to make clear I don’t believe in universal definitions of “enough”.
It would be completely arbitrary to say $X million or billion is “enough”.
I say this even as the National Academy of Sciences found that on average, people are “happier” at an income of $85,000.
Personally, I am of the opinion that “enough” is unique to each person.
Why? Because we all have a different combination of money values, experiences, beliefs, needs, thoughts, wants, feelings, and behaviors.
No two people have the EXACT same perspective of money. Maybe similar, but not exact.
How do we know this? Because two people winning the same Mega Millions jackpot will make different financial decisions.
Both winners might make similar types of financial decisions, like a new house, car, vacation, and gifts for family. But those are just categories within the three main buckets.
3 things you can do with money
Whether you dislike him or love him, I was always a fan of Dave Ramsey reminding his audience that there’s only three things you can do with money: spend it, save it, or give it away.
Well, three logical things as “burning it” is not something I condone. But anyways, let’s dissect all three:
- Spend it: Bills, vacations, gifts, home improvements, streaming, meals, and debt payments are all a form of spending money. Even investing is a form of spending money. If money leaves your hands and you get something in return, you are spending it.
- Save it: When I say save, I don’t include investing. I literally mean save. That includes your bank accounts, wallet, safe, or under the mattress. You aren’t receiving anything for holding onto it other than maybe a little bit of interest and peace of mind.
- Give it away: Charitable gifts, paying tithes/offerings, giving to the less fortunate, and/or extending money to family and friends are forms of giving. Philanthropy works at all levels.
Those are literally the only three things you can do with money. Lots of options within those buckets, but the buckets are pretty basic.
What adds fulfillment to your life is deciding where each dollar that enters your hand, goes. Those decisions should be aligned to your values.
But you first have to be conscious of your values so you can be intentional in the decisions.
Design your desired life
To better understand and own your values, design the type of life you want.
But not just in vague dreams like “I want to be happy”, fully write out what ideal financial happiness would mean for you.
For me, that means I want to be able to fully live my “hybrid life”. My hybrid life includes:
- Performing regular music gigs to keep my creative side strong
- Guest speaking on personal finances
- Traveling at least quarterly
- Remaining physically and mentally healthy
- Spending quality time with family/friends
- Going to concerts and museums
- Growing my movie film score vinyl collection
I literally want to satisfy every area of well-being in a balanced and intentional way.
That life will require me be able to live as much of my daily 24 hours on MY terms.
My approach to money can help me achieve the autonomy I live for. Every dollar that I earn has a role to play in my life.
Some is to be spent for daily living and enjoyment, and some is meant to be spent on my future.
Some is saved for a rainy day, and some is used to help others.
My financial behaviors are in alignment with my values while keeping an eye on when I can fully fund my desired life.
While I didn’t provide exact dollar figures, I provided context into the type of life I want for myself. Knowing the elements will help me to estimate what each one costs. For example, I can estimate how much it might cost me to travel 4x a year.
What does your ideal life look like?
What are the elements that make up a fulfilling life to you?
Where would you be living? What activities would you enjoy?
Take inventory of what brings you fulfilment and a sense of purpose.
Here’s some areas to think about as you craft your desired life:
- Security: Comfortable home, bills paid, reliable transportation, food on the table.
- Relationships: Time with family/friends, happy hour with colleagues, game nights, bonfire talks.
- Recreation and mental health: Golf, swimming, softball, dance classes, yoga, spiritual practices.
- Career satisfaction: Full-time or part-time entrepreneurship, career growth/leadership opportunities.
- Creativity: Home Improvements, art, playing in a band, writing.
- Travel and Entertainment: Travel experiences, local events, consuming TV & film, concerts, festivals, local and national plays, exhibits.
- Giving: Helping at church, volunteering in the community, mentoring others, assisting a non-profit, inheritance for children.
Again, these are just examples to get you thinking. Once you figure out what you want your life to entail, you can then figure out what each element costs to achieve and maintain.
You want to golf every weekend? That’s quantifiable. You want to host bonfire parties each Thursday night? Quantifiable. You want to spend each summer in Italy? Quantifiable.
You can literally estimate what your dreams should run you on an annual basis.
Once you add in your “needs” (to include healthcare), and money to set aside for emergencies, you can get a decent idea of how much it would cost to fund your desired life.
Break down your desired life into actionable S.M.A.R.T goals and voila: you now have a plan to achieve your vision of financial happiness.
How much is enough? You tell me.
Financial happiness, satisfaction, and contentment means something different to everyone.
Take the time to figure out what that means for you, quantify it, and aggressively work towards it.
I actually think knowing how to design your dream life is an accelerator to fulfilment and a sense of well-being.
Notice I didn’t mention anything about age-dependent “milestones”, e.g. net worth of $X by XX age. Nah, I don’t believe in that crap.
Take as long as you need on the journey to YOU. Just be intentional about the journey.
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