Are you happy with your money and your life? The majority of us aren’t, but I want to help you correct that.
Financial columnist Jonathan Clements wrote a piece about figuring out your priorities with money. Survey says only a third of us describe ourselves as very happy with our finances. Half of us say our lives are dull. Only about a third of us are really satisified with work.
And here’s the thing: These survey questions have been asked for the past four decades and the responses are consistent even though disposable income has doubled during that same time.
3 questions about your happiness
So what will make you happy? Clements cites the work of the Kinder Institute of Life Planning and their 3-question template designed to help you figure it out. Here it is:
1. Imagine you have enough money today for the rest of your life. What would you change in your life? How would you change your life?
This question helps you get to what the goal is. What do you want to do? So many people find that setting aside time for travel or hobbies can significantly improve their satisfaction with life. Interestingly, many people wouldn’t change how much they work if they were financially set, but they would change what they do otherwise with their lives.
Once you have the answer to this question, ask yourself this: What wants (not needs) that you spend money on now do you need to give up to have the time or resources to do what you really want?
2. You’re terminally ill with 5 or 10 years left to live. How would you change your life?
This question presupposes that your finances are what they are right now, unlike the last question. But a question like this one can really change your priorities. Enough said.
3. What if you were told you had just 24 hours left? What would you do differently? What would you change?
The reality is you never know how much time you have left. Think of this as the last day you have. What would you change, what would you do or not do?
“The point is to reflect on your life,” the founder of Kinder Institute of Life Planning told Jonathan Clements. “With the final question, you get down to what’s bedrock, what’s absolutely critical. Sometimes it’s something that’s creative, like, ‘I never got to play jazz in a club.’ Sometimes it’s something that’s blocked them for years, like ‘I never resolved my relationship with my sister.”
As for me, I’m really thrifty. I’m a max saver. I save money and invest it like a madman. But for what purpose?
For me, it’s about independence. I don’t have to fear that I say something that some industry or influencer takes umbrage to and then they try to destroy my voice on the radio. So saving money lets me speak my mind with integrity in my line of work. I don’t have to worry that something I say would mean I have no more income.
For you, think about those priorities. Really think through deep inside what will make you satisifed. What will bring you joy?