I was recently over at the Frugal Gene reading her post on: Find meaning before you find wealth and it really resonated with me. Through my time working online I had a number of goals, the first one was to earn at least $1,000 USD a month, because that would be enough money to scrape by in Asia, while I figured out how to make more money.
If I could only earn $1000 I knew I wouldn’t have to go back to New Zealand with my tail between my legs and get a normal job.
It was my first goal to freedom.
The next goal was $5,000 as I felt that was comparable to salaries of my friends back home. For a long time, I was adamant that I didn’t want a travel lifestyle and working online to stop me from reaching any milestones I would have been able to reach back home with a traditional job, such as being able to buy property, pay off my student loans and being able to set myself up well for retirement.
As time went on, my goals continued to increase to $10,000, $20,000 and eventually $30,000 because that would be more than my old annual salary when I was doing office admin work. After reaching those goals I learned two things: more money doesn’t really equal more happiness. I also learned that I would have to find a new motivation, a new goal, in order to be able to push myself. I essentially stopped working and stopped trying to push through boundaries.
My income stalled for a long time, I just didn’t have the motivation to move forward. Money wasn’t enough.
Chasing dollar bills without any reason why you want to increase your income is a pretty empty way to go about life. The truth is, if you’re earning above $10,000 a year, extra money probably wont increase your happiness much. Yes, it will help you boost your savings account, but I’ve personally found I don’t really feel much happier above being able to meet my financial needs, putting something in the bank and having some spare money to play with.
So this brings us back to your why. You’re going to have to sit down and figure out what’s going to push you to reach your potential, because numbers wont be enough.
When I sit down and think of why I want more money, it comes back to financial stability. While I don’t have any children, both of my parents are low income earners and I’m basically their only financial backup plan. My mum has two of my young teenage sisters in her care, so I like to be able to help out with things they need such as new clothes, shoes, school expenses and gym memberships. On top of that, because I’m the only one in my family with a decent income, I would like to get some long term financial wealth into my family, such as owning a few properties and a stock portfolio. I want to know if a medical emergency was to hit my family, I would have the resources to get whoever needed that care immediately. I want to set up my life so that when I do finally have children, that there’s no worrying about money. I want the security that money can bring for me and my family.
So that’s my why and when I sit with it and really think about it, I find it to be a lot more motivating than an arbitrary number that keeps increasing, a goal I can never really reach.
Since I’ve started focusing on my why, I have found it much easier to start new projects and continue with projects I had let slide. Being clear about what your end goal is will make each step of the way a little easier.
So what’s your why? I’d love to hear about what’s the driving force behind your financial goals!