Chris Skinner's blog

Shaping the future of finance

Focus on needs, not wants

Chris Skinner Author Avatar

I got this sign the other day, and it really resonated. I guess it resonated as, for nearly all of my life, I’ve had wants. It’s a terrible disease, as needs is far less serious. Wants is that there’s always something you want but cannot have. As a result, you work as hard as you can to get what you want and then, when you’ve got it, you look for the next want.

Wants is bad.

As an older man, I look back and think about the fact that I’ve always been quite well off, but never knew it. The reason I never knew it is that there were always things that cost, and I could never afford them. The mortgage would be a biggie, as would the car purchase, but there are many others. Educating the kids, having a good holiday once or twice a year, paying living bills for energy and insurances, and so on and so forth. Very little was left at the end of each month for pure spending and, what was, went on wants.

Buying rare art and books, investing in crypto, looking at property portfolios and such like became the obsession. As a result, after all these years, I have all those books, investments and more, but does it make you happy? Not really, as the happiest experiences are with family.

With family, you have all you need. That’s why the sign made me think, once more, that life is about making the best of everything you’ve got and not the things you want. In fact, in a similar vein, the law of diminishing returns means that the more you want and get, the less satisfaction. The first time you snag that rare artwork at auction is great! The second time is good. The third time starts a routine. The tenth time, you don’t really care anymore. It’s just for a short adrenalin rush.

This really came home to me recently as I now have two homes: one I don’t want in the UK; and the one where I live in Poland.

The house in the UK is full of all sorts of memorabilia that I collected but, tbh, cannot remember what half of it is. The house in Pioland is full of family memories with my wife and kids, and regular visits from cousins, parents, aunts, uncles and well, family.

What would you rather have: the things you wanted or the family you love?

It all comes back to a conversation I had many years ago when arguing with my then partner about my career focus. I was busting a gut to pay the mortgage and bills and earning enough to just get by. She turned to me halfway through the conversation and said: who do you want to attend your funeral because, at this rate, it won’t be us … will your work colleagues be there?

I guess it’s a similar thought that inspired Charles Dickens to write A Christmas Carol. You can be a Scrooge – a pure money-making work machine with no heart – or you can be a Bob Cratchit, with family and love bursting out of every pore of the house.

Anyways, sorry for this reflective thought, but the holiday season brings home truths. Therefore, in the strict belief that New Year resolutions are never kept, my general aim is to spend more time making memories with my family and friends. What’s yours?

Oh, and I love this ad from Scotiabank shared by a friend in response to this blog ...

Chris Skinner Author Avatar

Chris M Skinner

Chris Skinner is best known as an independent commentator on the financial markets through his blog,, 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...

Intelligent Money - Chris Skinner Keynote @ Pay 360 conference 2024

What is the future?

Learn more

Learn more about Chris

About Chris Skinner

The Past, Present And Future Of Banking, Finance And Technology

Fintech expert Chris Skinner: countries need digital transformation to remain competitive

Join me on Linkedin

Follow Me on X!

Hire Chris Skinner for dinners, workshops and more

Learn directly from from one of the most influential people in technology, gain insights from the world's most innovative companies, and build a global network.

Chris’s latest book

Chris Skinner’s ‘Digital For Good’ Book Launch Event – CFTE

Top 50 Global Thought Leaders and Influencers on FinTech 2023

Chris Skinner
Commentator, CEO of The Finanser and best-selling author at The Finanser

Thinkers360 Thought Leader

Contact Me

Global Awards

Lifetime Achievement Award

Global 100 - 2024 Winner

Chris Skinner - Financial Markets Advisor of the Year - The Finanser - UK 2023

Best Financial Markets Advisor of the Year 2023

30 Best Regtech Blogs and Websites 2023

Kids creating the future bank | TEDxAthens

Captain Cake and the Candy Crew

Captain Cake Winner of a Golden Mom’s Choice Award


Alex at the Financial Services

Gaping Void's Hugh MacLeod worked with the Finanser