When I first joined the police force, I went from zero income to just over the UK average salary. At age 19, I felt like a millionaire.
A couple of years later, I’d bought a house and a car and started renovating my house. Now I didn’t have enough money, so I looked forward to my yearly salary increase. After a few years, they stopped, so I looked forward to getting promoted so I could earn just a bit more money.
When I made a career change into IT, I spent most of my time thinking about my career review, so I could ask for more money. I studied hard and passed several exams, so I could qualify for a pay raise.
When I started my own IT company, it was really hard financially. Every day, I’d work hard to win customers. I set a goal to make $4,000 per month, and then I knew I’d be happy and could relax a little. By the time I was making $4,000 per month, it didn’t seem like enough, so I set a goal for $6,000.
This went on and on until I hit the point I was making $35,000 per month. But guess what? It didn’t seem like enough, so I set a goal to make one million dollars per year, which works out to $2,808 per day. I knew when I was making that, I’d finally feel like I could relax. I’d finally be “there.”
I recently took a step back and looked at life and at particular patterns. How could I go from needing $4,000 per month to feel secure to $83,000? Things have changed since I started out in the world of work. I’ve gotten married, had three children, and emigrated to Australia. My costs have gone up for sure but not to the extent where I need anywhere near that much money.
The truth is that you will never feel secure financially because, even when you have a large chunk of money, you will fear losing it all.
Money makes a big difference in all our lives, but if we are looking to measure our lives by how much we have, then we will never feel satisfied. There will always be somebody who has more or made it more quickly than us, and there will always be the risk that we could lose it all somehow.
What usually happens is that as our income increases, so does our lifestyle. We buy more stuff, upgrade our old stuff, take better vacations, and give our kids a better education. Of course, if we do this stuff without our incomes increasing, we go into debt. I’ve been in terrible debt myself. We’re also in deep trouble if our income source is removed.
I’ve been working on simplifying my life over the past few years. I’m happy with a reliable secondhand car. My younger kids wear the clothes which used to belong to my older one. I no longer crave living in a 20 bedroom mansion with a private lake. I get enjoyment from playing with my kids, reading books, and playing my guitar. Money has become a by-product of what I do now.
Once you get into the flow, you will come to appreciate what you already have, and no doubt, more will come into your life. It seems that the more we chase something, the further away it gets.
Think about whether you are always craving just a little bit more money. Why and what feelings are you putting off enjoying while you wait? Are you accumulating more stuff in your life? Stuff will never make you happy, you know that right?