We all know the old adage that money can’t buy happiness. Of course, a lack of money can certainly contribute to one’s unhappiness. However, the point we’re trying to make is that financial wealth may not be what you think it is. It may be surprisingly easy to increase both your wealth and your happiness, just by reevaluating your definitions.
Defining Financial Wealth
When people consider what having money actually means to them, they usually mention the freedom associated with financial stability. Therefore, while money doesn’t directly buy happiness, it gives people the ability to pursue things they enjoy most. Pretty straightforward, right?
Unfortunately, a lot of the time it’s not that simple. One might think that more money would lead to a more meaningful, happier life, but often it doesn’t. Most of the time, the things we assume will make us happy end up disappointing us.
Calculating Wealth in Years
Forget defining wealth as your net worth in dollars. Instead, think of it as your independence. You could have $10 million dollars to your name, but if you live an excessive lifestyle, it won’t last. It’s all about how you choose to live your life.
Think about it. If you are worth $10 million, but your lifestyle costs $2 million a year, you only get 5 years. If you’re worth $250,000 but can get by on supplementing Social Security with just $10,000 a year, that’s 25 years.
Instead of trying to increase the dollar amount of your net worth, you can increase it by cutting annual expenditures.
Achieving True Financial Freedom
Being comfortable is often enough to support happiness, though you’ll need some degree of financial freedom to be comfortable.
To achieve this, it’s important to be diligent about saving, to keep debts to a minimum, and to be prepared. That means you should have a reserve in savings and adequate insurance when it comes to your health and home. Avoiding any unnecessary financial risks is also imperative.
Remember, you can’t take it with you. Spending money on experiences, as opposed to buying physical things, will likely make you happier in the long run.
Don’t worry about what’s trendy or what your neighbors have – think about how much it sets them back financially instead. By valuing experiences over physical goods, you will likely live a much richer life.
More often than not, richness is found in being happy with oneself, not one’s possessions.