In the financial services industry, we are always focused on creating wealth. At times this focus becomes an end in itself rather than a means to achieving our life’s goals.
When that starts to happen, it can create any of the two emotions; greed – to create even more wealth just for the sake of more wealth or a fear that you may lose it all and that causes more anxiety. Both these emotions are unlikely to bring any joy because greed is unending, without limits and fear anyway will not bring you joy.
The idea behind an individual’s financial plan or financial wellbeing thus, should not be a blind rush to create wealth. Wealth creation has to be within the context of each individual’s own wants and desires. Money is important and so is your happiness, but the two are not mutually exclusive. There is an overlap, this overlap is unique to each of us, our focus thus should be to find that overlap and remain as much as possible in that zone.
Why money is important
It’s because of the lack of it which can have an adverse impact on our overall wellbeing and behaviour. For many of us, having an income and being able to grow is about survival. But after you are earning enough to survive, you start saving for the future and spending on lifestyle. There is a need to focus on growing savings such that you have a supplementary income because at some point in life you will not have a job (retirement) and that’s when this supplementary income will help you. This is the practical side of an individual’s well-being.
Before retirement too, a lack of adequate finances to live the lifestyle you want can create a lot of psychological anxiety, sometimes even shame. In some cases, you may have a family that’s dependent on you for financial support, children who need money for higher education or parents who need money for medical treatments. Inability to provide could even lead to feelings of guilt. Eventually, this financial insecurity can have an adverse impact on your self-worth, on relationships with friends and family.
Money is not important because you need to be rich, it’s important because it gives you a sense of personal achievement, a sense of providing for your family, it gives you the confidence and ability to be sure about your future.
At this point it’s important to say that there is no standardised amount that can give you the above positive outcome, you will have to arrive at your own figure, which, you can do by connecting your life with money.
Connecting life with wealth
How does one understand how much is enough? Demands from family members or one’s own desire to go on spending on material pursuits can be never-ending too. Does that mean the mission is to keep adding more? Not really.
Each individual will have a different threshold of what is enough for them. Some may arrive at this realisation earlier in life and others may take longer. Beyond what’s necessary to survive and provide is all in the realm of desires. While one person may be happy to travel the world backpacking on a budget, another may desire to travel in luxury and enjoy that as a fruit of the hard work done in life.
It’s hard to define what’s enough. Just like there is no clear line on how much money is enough for an individual, the line of when one crosses over to greed can also vary.
If we go back to where the article started, when the wealth you have starts to make you feel fearful (of losing it) or greedy for more (even though you don’t need it-even for what you desire), it’s probably an indication that you have enough.
The important aspect is what you will do with this wealth. Will you use it to fulfil your desires, be it towards helping your family members or others in society, or towards your own pursuits aside of your routine life or towards providing for your lifestyle in such a manner that you are able to free up your time to focus on what the purpose of your life may be? Or will you use it to show others how much material wealth you have amassed through the glittering part of the consumption economy?
The latter will not help you connect with your life or achieve any peace of mind.