I mentioned the other day that my financial philosophy has changed a bit since I left Get Rich Slowly in 2012. One of the biggest shifts is where I believe we should place our focus.
- In the olden days, I thought money itself was a fine focus. I wanted out of debt. To achieve that goal, I needed money. Today, I view debt reduction as a side effect, not a goal.
- After I got out of debt, I wanted to build my savings. To achieve that goal, I needed money. Today, I view savings as a side effect, not a goal.
- After I built a modest nest egg, I wanted to gain greater wealth. To achieve that goal, I needed money. Today, I view wealth as a side effect, not a goal.
After I gained greater wealth, I realized something. I'd been chasing the wrong thing. What I really wanted was happiness, and happiness isn't something you can just go out and grab. Just as debt reduction, savings, and wealth are side effects of certain choices, happiness too is a byproduct of our choices and the lives we lead. Happiness comes when our actions are aligned with our purpose.
Gradually, I came to understand that purpose was actually my goal all along. Truly, it's the goal for each of us. When we have a purpose, and when we're able to pursue that purpose with passion, everything seems to fall into place.
A big reason I returned to writing about money after three years away? I realized it's part of my greater purpose. That's also part of the reason I bought back Get Rich Slowly.
None of this is new, really. People have been thinking about this and talking about it for centuries. For millennia. But each of us needs to come to this realization on our own.
Some folks never have this epiphany, and that's fine. But for those of us who do experience it, it can change our lives. It changes how we view our work, our play, our relationships — and our finances. [Read more…]