A few months back, I had an introductory meeting with a married couple who were hoping to retire within the next year or two. The wife made note that she was ready to retire a decade ago. Her job at a large corporation, which once had been glamorous, had been reduced to a glorified call service, where her every word was scripted and her every minute tracked. She was frustrated and burnt-out.
I’m going to propose something that might seem ludicrous at first: Successful personal finance is about gratitude.
When it comes to personal finances, rare is the person who feels successful. There’s always at least something that makes us feel anxious, stressed, or inadequate. So, isn’t feeling grateful putting the cart before the horse? Shouldn’t we feel grateful after we are financially successful?
Nope. Quite the opposite in fact.
The Heart of the Matter
Developing a healthy emotional and intellectual understanding of money is where we get to the heart of the matter. And I mean heart in a very real sense. For like heart, which is both a beating entity and a symbol of all things love, there is both a tangible and intangible reality to money.
There is the physical entity that we earn, spend, and save and then there is the less tangible, but no less real, significance that we attach to money and the ideas, beliefs and philosophies that spring forth from such impulses.
Have you ever been in the middle of a task at work or school when somehow you end up on Amazon (or a similar site) and order all the things you’ve been wanting but trying to resist? Or maybe you’ve come home from work, after a long and stressful day, hopped on a food delivery site and ordered EVERYTHING - even all that fried food you know you shouldn’t be eating. Later, after your spending or eating binge has subsided, you find yourself assuaged in guilt. What was I doing? What came over me? Why am I so weak?
One of the most important things we consume in our lives is time. Admittedly, it sounds crass to say we ‘consume’ time, but to heck with it – we already ‘kill’ it and ‘burn’ it, we might as well be a bit more intentional about how we ‘spend’ it! Most of us barter time for money. More money, in many cases, necessitates more time. This can be as simple as having to come into the office a couple Saturdays a month or being available by email after traditional work hours. It can also mean taking on another job or project to earn a little extra income.