After you discover your why, you need to re-examine your relationship with money. Are you using money as a tool? Or are you using money to plug a hole; fill something within yourself that never seems to be satisfied?
See, you can have a poor relationship with money if you don’t understand its power, and its limitations, no matter your net-worth. There are millionaires that have just a bad a relationship with money as someone with six-figure debt. The problem that they have in common is one of control; they let money control their lives, rather than the other way around.
At its core, money is a tool, albeit a useful one. Money can turn into absolutely anything in the world, if we allow it. Money can become food, or shelter. It can also turn into a trip of a lifetime, a jet-ski, or private island. It can even, if put to the right use, produce asexually, like a slug or Komodo Dragon, and make little money babies.
But it costs you time to produce money. And time is the one resource we have that isn’t renewable; once lost we cannot gain it back. There are 24 hours in a day, but there should be a limit to what we work. You cannot hope to be productive, and have a balanced life, if you work 16 hours a day, everyday. A balance between work, life, and saving has to be reached. You have to become a good steward of your resources. Avoid carrying any kind of unhealthy debt (unsecured loans, credit card debt, payday loans), and eliminate the debt that you do have
If you currently are in credit card debt, its time to shake things up. You are in an unmitigated, hair-on-fire, Category 5 hurricane ripping through the house, tied to the train tracks disaster. The reason is that every month, you are costing yourself time before you even get up in the morning. Every time you go to sleep, you are waking up poorer. And you must address the situation. You have to scrape, claw, and hustle your way back to positive numbers. You deserve to not be shackled down by debt; be proactive, and find a solution that works for you.
You have to put in the work to free yourself, because at this extreme, money is controlling your life. You can’t answer the phone if you don’t recognize the number, panic settles on your chest like a parasite, and you dread giving your card to the cashier at Wal-Mart. You may not know if you can pay for your kids field trip, or whether or not the lights will be on next month. You aren’t going to be able to enjoy life, and your not going to get a mulligan. This is the only life you’ve got.
But often, the mountaintop is no better. We all dream of being the big boss, and calling the shots, but the men and women who do so often do it to the exclusion of every other pleasure in life.
I had a real estate professor in college who worked as a investment banker. This man was an absolute workaholic. His advice to us, as a classroom, was to take time to establish a work-life balance. He’s ideal of a good work-life balance was working about 70 hours a week. He thought at that point, you could have enough time to spend with the family, and for free-time.
Is 70 hours a week really work-life balance? Really?
My first thought was that he had found some new, potent drug, the kind that druggies all over the world could only dream off. One that was capable of making you believe absolutely maddening things, but gave you the appearance of total clarity. However, it soon became apparent that he was just run-of-the mill insane (without the benefit of anything altering his mind.) Just a quick back-of-the napkin calculation will tell you that you need at the very least 7 hours for sleep a night (49 hours a week), an hour for lunch (7 hours a week) and a commute of perhaps an hour (7 hours a week). That means that in any given week, at least 133 hours are spoken for. That leaves only 35 hours for family time, at best.
35 hours a week for the family is balance? A perfect ideal that one can only hope for? Really. That’s how good this man thinks life can be. But he was just so trapped in the idea that work was who he was, that he couldn’t see his family was getting the short-end of the stick.
Another trap to look out for is tempering your desire for financial independence with living life in the moment. When you are at a stage where you are building wealth, its easy to get caught up in the journey; checking your investment account holdings several times a day, knowing to the penny how much is in your checking accounts at all times, constantly updating how much longer you will need to work. All of this can be damaging, can actually slow you down in your pursuit. Part of this is why I have an investment advisor, and why you probably shouldn’t.
This quote from Arthur Ashe sums up the ideal perfectly.Success is a journey, not a destination. The doing is often more important than the outcome. Click To Tweet
Because once again, at this point, money is the boss. Your desire should be a life that is better than that, where your journey is more important than a dollar amount.
What do you think? Have you reached a balance in your life between accumulating wealth and living life? What helps you keep that balance?