Six Ways to Make Money Work for Your Life's Adventure

By: Tom Malone

In today’s culture, so much of our self-worth is tied to our financial statistics (or ability to flaunt our financial worth). In order to foster true optimistic confidence, some aspects of our financial perceptions needs some revision.

Here are six ways to incorporate financial understanding into an optimistically confident lifestyle:

1. Embrace Your Job

The first question someone new will ask you is, “What do you do for work?” When people ask you what you do for a living, how do you react? Are you embarrassed and ashamed of what you do? Or, do you puff your chest with pride and boldly describe your work to your peers?

Since we spend a significant amount of time at our workplace, we need to embrace our cause and find confidence with what we do. If you sit at your job all day long and allow it to crush your confidence and optimism, you’re losing so much purpose to life.

What makes us confident in our jobs? If you make a lot of money through your career, this is something to attribute toward you confidence output. If you don’t make much money, then find another way to embrace what you do.

Perhaps your job serves an altruistic purpose. Perhaps your job allows you flexibility. Perhaps your job allows you to work outside in nature, or inside with fun coworkers. Whatever it is that drives you toward job embracement, find it.

If you can’t find a single aspect of your career to be proud of and embrace, then it’s probably time to find something that evokes a positive emotion. So, the next time someone asks you what you do for a living, you can respond with confidence in the fact that you enjoy going to work every day.

2. Stop Equating Success to Wealth

In our capitalistic culture, everyone cares how much everyone else makes...or do they? Typically, we find that the wealthier a person is, the less happy they actually are. Now, making a decent amount of money will surely ease the burden of paying bills, but living with such an excess amount of money causes its own undue stress; therefore, define what it means to be a successful person.

A successful person, in my mind, is someone who leaves the world a better place than it was when they arrived, a person who mastered certain skills, and a person who happily and positively impacted those around them. Does money fit into that definition? I don’t think so.

Determine what your own definition of success is. If it’s the dollar figure in your bank account, then you should revisit your definition. The most successful authors typically didn’t see much money, as with successful painters, musicians, and parents.

Success is a mindset and it’s definition is unique to each individual. Just because our culture equates success with money doesn’t mean that you have to abide by that constraint.

3. Attain Stability

I know that this title seems to contradict the last section, but keep reading. There’s a difference between being wealthy and being financially stable.

By acquiring a job that provides a guaranteed, steady income, you’ll feel extremely secure in your ability to pay necessary bills and save for the future, while still allowing yourself money to spend on fun things. Ideally, you’ll acquire this steady revenue stream from a job that you’re proud of and that you deem successful, no matter how much money you make.

According to I Will Teach You To Be Rich by Ramit Sethi, there are certain aspects of financial stability that must occur before you can deem yourself financially secure. Those include: eliminating debt, saving for retirement (in a 401K or Roth IRA), and allocating money through a budget. (If you haven’t read the book, it’s absolutely worth it).

Attaining financial stability will ease your mind when it comes to money issues. Sure, it may take a few years to get there, but once you’re on the right path, you’ll feel confident in your financial situation, which will allow you to focus on other aspects of your life that make you happy.

4. Learn about the Stock Market (and Invest)

Most people view the stock market as an avenue for the rich to grow even richer; they view it as an unattainable entity that requires absurd amounts of money to break into. Contrary to that perspective, the stock market is an attribute that anyone can utilize to enhance their financial security.

Most online brokerage firms (like TD Ameritrade or Scottrade) are free to join. Some even give free money to new members depending on the promotional time of year. Once you join an online brokerage firm, you can begin to buy stock for a small commission fee ($5 to $10 per transaction, no matter how many shares you buy).

Now, don’t just begin picking stocks blindly. Treat this as a hobby; research how the stock market works. Investigate certain data to look for when you select a stock to purchase.
Warren Buffett, one of the wealthiest men in world, lives by the cliche mantra, “Buy low, sell high.” Look for trends in a few companies’ stock prices, and then make your selection.

You don’t need to invest gobs of cash in order to begin your venture into the stock market. The important first step is to invest. Once you have a handle on how the stock market operates, then you can begin to invest more money.

Investing in the stock market provides a somewhat risky opportunity for your money to grow without the expenditure of your effort. Spend some time learning about the market and your confidence in your financial security will rise with each ticker symbol.

5. Save Money

Benjamin Franklin stated, “A penny saved is a penny earned.” As cliche as that statement has become in today’s modern culture, there’s a reason everyone knows it: it’s true.

Everybody vows to save more money with every paycheck, but how many of us actually do? Saving money needs to become a habit, not an exception.

The act of saving money comes from making many small-yet-significant changes to our daily routine. These small changes will build up toward an attainable goal of saving more money.

For example, if you stop by a coffee shop every single morning and spend $3 on a mocha, you’ll spend $21 per week, $84 per month, and $1,008 per year. While $84 per month may not seem like much, you could spend $8 per month on ground coffee at the store and make your own Cup of Joe each morning. Saving $1,000 per year will add up.

Cooking meals at home instead of going to a restaurant or ordering take-out each night will save tons of money. Plus, cooking at home is healthier for you, which will save on long term health costs, along with increasing your general happiness levels.

Simple lifestyle changes like these will help you stick to a realistic budget and help you save money each month which will further your sense of confidence in your financial security. Now, you can focus on aspects of life that further your happiness instead of worrying about money.

6. Don’t Flaunt It, Please!

Once you attain financial stability and develop excess money, remain true to your inner character. By flaunting your wealth, you take your confidence and project it outwards as cockiness, which is a form of insecurity.

When you have enough money to stop worrying about finances, there’s no need to alert the world. In fact, people will perceive you as rude, obnoxious, and pretentious when you flaunt your money.

Unless you were born into wealth, you attained financial stability through frugal means. You probably stuck to a tight budget, invested well, and attained a high-paying job. Once you become financially secure, don’t lose that sense of balance. That sense of balance got you to your current state of being, so don’t throw away your financial sense just to throw you money in other people’s faces because an attitude of superiority will lead to slope of overspending, which will lessen your confidence in your own financial security.

Plus, no one likes to spend time with arrogant people. When no one wants to spend time with you, your sense of belonging and your self-esteem will drop, which will lead to lower confidence levels and a less happy lifestyle.

*Photo Credit: Tom Malone
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