We all deal with money in different ways, don’t we? You’ll probably know people who obsessively count every last dime and shop as frugally as possible. And on the flipside you’ll likely know people who spend more than they earn, racking up bills on credit cards without thinking anything of it.
Then there are people who are never satisfied, who always want more and more. And then their opposites, the people who accept their current financial situation as their fate, or their destiny, and don’t attach any value to trying to change it.
Which one of those do you identify with? Of all the types of people I’ve encountered both personally and professionally, I can tell you that the happiest, the most content, and the most financially successful, are none of those. Instead, they’re the ones who’ll tell you to align your money with your life and, when you do, the rest of the picture falls into place.
A Foolproof Philosophy
It takes no genius to realize that this is a financial philosophy that I live my own life by. I even named my firm after it. The thing is, it’s financial success in its simplest and most pure form. And it’s applicable to absolutely everybody, no matter their level of income or value of their assets.
If you truly align your money with your life, your finances work to give you the life that you want, and nothing else.
But what does it actually mean? And what does it involve? It means that you’re constantly mindful of your spending, and also of your saving, making sure that every financial decision you make benefits you and contributes towards meeting your goals and objectives. But it’s not just that; it’s about consciously creating the life that you want, in a world that you want to live in.
It’s about bringing a level of consciousness and awareness to your spending and saving, so that you are only spending money on things that truly enrich your life, and on nothing that brings you feelings of guilt or of shame.
If you align your money with your life, you address what it really is that you want out of life and, by making small adjustments to your financial behaviour, plot a course to achieve those goals.
Your Money Or Your Life – Or Both?
There’s a wonderful book that embodies this philosophy so perfectly that I keep a recommendation to it on my website, in the hope that everyone who is interested in improving their financial wellbeing will come across it.
The book is written by Vicki Robin, and is the financial education that everybody needs. It outlines the simple steps needed to reflect on your finances, and implement some simple changes that can help you reach financial independence. And that’s a financial independence on your terms – whatever that means to you.
I’m not going to give too much of the book away – I want you to read it. It outlines a nine-step process to head towards financial independence, and Vicki’s wisdom carries you through the book with positivity and hope for a financially secure future, regardless of your past.
But one of the key takeaways is that by deciding on what financial success looks like for you and on what happiness is for you, you can align your money with your life and be truly happy and content. You can keep all your goals in focus, and live each day productively, towards meeting them all.
What’s Important To You? And How Do You Get It?
To define your own financial success, decide on your priorities. What’s most important to you? What makes you the happiest, most content? What does ‘living your best life’ mean to you?
Maybe it’s having a house with enough rooms for huge family gatherings at Christmas, and a swimming pool for the summer. Or maybe it’s having a modest house, and enough disposable income for regular family holidays, to a place with a pool that someone else has to maintain. Maybe it’s knowing that your kids will be able to have the best education on offer to them, and have the peace of mind of adequate healthcare throughout their lives.
But you know, it’s also okay to want a designer handbag or two, if that’s what makes you happy. Or buying a lavish gift for a loved one. Or having a great car that turns heads. It’s your own goals, your own priorities. Never someone else’s.
To align your money with your life, it’s your own, personal ‘enough’ that you need to define and embrace. Then start eliminating unnecessary spending that’s going to take you away from that goal.
Start With Little Wins
Is debt causing you stress and worry? Then your first step needs to include paying off that debt and not increasing it. See every extra payment towards that debt as a step towards lightening that emotional load.
Do all those monthly subscriptions to different services actually help meet your goals? Does having multiple TV streaming subscriptions contribute to your goal of fitness and productivity? Of learning and mastering a new hobby? Of reading more? Probably not. So can you ditch one of them? By doing so, you might free more than $100 a year to put towards a new hobby, or save towards a larger goal.
Does paying only the interest off your credit card bills help you reach your goal of being debt free? Could you reduce the amount of times you eat meals out in restaurants to help save towards a specific bucket list holiday?
Create the World You Want to Live In
By looking at your budget and seeing where the money is all going, you can begin shifting your spending habits and start to ensure that every penny, every dollar is helping you achieve your objectives and creating the life you want to live. A life that you are content with.
Living a contented life might mean thinking about who’s on the receiving end of your money. If a certain company doesn’t positively contribute towards social targets that echo your own values, then bring more mindfulness to your spending and actively choose who receives your money.
In this way, to align your money with your life can also mean to elevate the importance of your own values in your life. Doing so can have huge psychological rewards, by relieving guilt, and creating a true sense of purpose. And yes, that’s another book I recommend. By imbuing your life with purpose in this way, you can live longer, and live better.
Investing your money ethically or in disruptive technology may help you feel that you are helping to drive important change in the world around you. Or simply buying your daily commuter coffee in a small, independent coffee shop might just be the daily change that makes you feel good.
Align Your Money With Your Life
Decide what’s important to you. Look at your current financial habits, and see how they help or hinder you. Decide what your ‘enough’ looks like, and set little goals to create a life full of that ‘enough’. Scrutinise your outgoings, and eliminate wasteful, unproductive expenditure. Make your money actively work for you, and always, always keep your goals in sight.
If you’d like to talk through your current financial circumstances, and have a chat about your biggest goals, wildest dreams, and strongest values, please reach out. We can put together a personalized plan. Together, we can align your money with your life.