What is Your Money For?
Across most of the world, our American work ethic is perceived as crazy. There was an article in Business Insider called, 11 American Work Habits Other Countries Avoid at All Costs.1. It named these:
- Crazy long hours
- Very little vacation time
- Not enough family leave
- Americans eat at their desk
- Breaks during the day are scant
- Emails after work hours
- Too little socializing with coworkers
- Workers don’t take pride in their job
- Not satisfied with their job
- Fear of challenging a boss
- Bosses are obsessed with staying in the loop
It really is a fascinating read and it is something we should take to heart and reflect upon. The thing that got my attention the most, however, is the reason behind having a job in the first place. 99% of the time I would assume this has to do with money. So, that begs the question: What is your money for?
Money is never really about building more money—even when greed is involved. It is about the utility of that money. Yet we treat money as if it were about money. We look at it every day for what it is instead of what it is for. Think about it.
You ask your neighbor what they are earning on their cash or how their investments are doing. You look to buy the hot, new stock everyone is talking about. You Google, What is a good return for my retirement portfolio? You talk to your investment advisor about what they are doing in your portfolio and how you feel about it. Your greed and fear set in from time to time. Don’t say they don’t! This is human nature. You have FOMO (fear of missing out) or live worried about running out of money.
All of these conversations, thoughts, and ideas focus on what the money is. Truth be told—this only amplifies your emotional connection to your money. If you fear you could run out of money in retirement, then you may be working too much for too long and burning the candle at both ends. You may be living in front of your device or TV worrying about what the markets are going to do because of the political landscape, wars abroad, and heaven forbid—an economic recession, which is cyclical and will happen more than once in your lifetime.
Let’s work this backwards for a moment.
…Let’s suppose that your money was truly aligned with its utilization.
…Let’s envision a timeline of how you get there and a permission slip to enjoy life a little more than the average American along the way.
…Let’ say you had a plan that defined the utilization of every dollar and how that dollar would be put to work to support that utilization.
…Let’s suppose you had defined three buckets for your money—
- A lifestyle bucket, which is stuffed full and probably overflowing a bit.
- A backup bucket, which acts as a contingency if things go awry due to a health event or premature death.
- A legacy bucket, to hold and maximize every dollar that isn’t in the first two buckets and will be used for someone or something else.
…Let’s imagine you knew what your money was for…
Ralph Waldo Emerson stated that Money often costs too much. I would agree. It is time to get a grip on what your money is for rather than what it is, so it doesn’t cost you too much!