I picked up a great quote the other day: “Money isn’t about value … it’s about values”. It resonates with my own tagline for the last book (Digital for Good) which is: “Stand for something or you will fall”. The point of the latter is: What is the purpose of your life and work? The point of money is: How does it help you to achieve those goals?
When we think about our life works, the priorities are health, time, family, friends, learning, achieving, reputation and experiences. It’s nothing to do with money, but money enables you to enjoy those things you value.
When you put money in that context, it changes your context.
Of course, you want a nice home, car, holidays and more, but then relate this to what you value: family, friends, time, health. It’s a balance. Far too often we end up like a hamster on a wheel. We run around in circles and never break out for a breather. We live to work rather than work to live. That’s another balance.
We used to call it a work-life balance, but it’s more like a balance of thinking. Some people think that their life is all about work, earning and wealth; some think it’s all about zen, family and friends. It’s a balance.
The issue is that the things we value about having a nice house, home, car, holidays, family, friends and such like, has set us off on this treadmill of focusing upon work, wealth and earning. This is about supply and demand. The supply of housing is not keeping up with the demand; the supply of decent holidays is not keeping up with demand; the availability of a car that is of the right status is not keeping up with demand; and so on.
And what is the law of supply and demand?
The scarcer the resources, the more they cost. It’s a balance.
This is the reason why many are struggling. It is because the cost of living is getting higher than the ability to earn. Cost versus earnings. That’s also a balance.
“Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure nineteen pounds nineteen and six, result happiness. Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure twenty pounds nought and six, result misery.” Wilkens Micawber speaking in David Copperfield by Charles Dickens, 1850
Micawber was always on the verge of bankruptcy, and his quote above is one of my favourites. It’s actually a quote my parents drilled into me non-stop growing up. Growing up, I always wanted new things: presents; toys; that bike which Joe just got for his birthday; the Labrador that Mary’s family just bought; the car that Miranda’s dad drives; to go on holiday where Vincent’s just been; and so on.
These things create pressures, especially on the heads of the household who need to earn to fund the things they value. These things are also important to consider in this time of recessionary fears. Many may be subject to redundancy; you may have had to use your savings to pay for day-to-day living; you may be feeling like you are on a tightrope between wealth and bankruptcy. It’s a balance.
If you do feel that way, just remember that money is not your focus. Your focus are on the things you value in your life. Health, time, family and friends. Hold those close to your heart.
If you want to explore this in more depth, click here.
Chris M Skinner
Chris Skinner is best known as an independent commentator on the financial markets through his blog, TheFinanser.com, as author of the bestselling book Digital Bank, and Chair of the European networking forum the Financial Services Club. He has been voted one of the most influential people in banking by The Financial Brand (as well as one of the best blogs), a FinTech Titan (Next Bank), one of the Fintech Leaders you need to follow (City AM, Deluxe and Jax Finance), as well as one of the Top 40 most influential people in financial technology by the Wall Street Journal's Financial News. To learn more click here...