The Myth of “Money First, Happiness Later”

Are you waiting to be financially secure before you do things you really want to do? Things like learning French, teaching your children skiing, getting married or starting your own business?

“Money can’t buy happiness” – most of us agree with this statement. Still, so often we act like the opposite was true. Our next salary raise or bonus, or that next promotion we’ve been waiting for too often become our main focus. We promise ourselves that once we get “x” amount of salary or savings, we finally could do what we truly want with our life.

When we allow money to rule our lives, we get distracted from what is really important to us. For example, we find ourselves in situations when:

  • Family is key to us, yet we have only a few moments a day to be with our spouse and children;
  • Our health is of immense value to us, yet we let it deteriorate by a hectic lifestyle and a lack of sleep;
  • We really believe in community service, yet our job doesn’t leave us with any energy to volunteer.

Such a conflict between our real values and our day-to-day reality can never lead to happiness. Unless we break free from the unhealthy dependence on money, we will never be truly happy.

For a long time, I dreamed of having more time for myself. I envied everyone who didn’t need to work long evenings and weekends. I hoped that every next promotion would give me more freedom and more time for myself. Instead, the gap between what I wanted and how I lived was getting bigger and bigger.

Choosing myself and my own happiness over the tempting financial security of my old job didn’t happen overnight. But it was actually much less painful that one might think. Once I realized that I value myself more than any paycheck of any value, all the fear from the unknown disappeared.

I realized that the only thing which can make me feel secure is my own attitude and faith in myself. Yes, I had to significantly adjust my lifestyle to the new financial situation. But the free time I gained being now self-employed and the freedom to live my life is worth it.

Ask yourself:

Is there anything important in my life I am postponing because of my money goals?

Am I in control of money or are money in control of me?

How can I experience more of what is truly important to me?

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