‘What is your biggest success?’ – a friend asked me recently.
Oh, gosh. My brain started spinning with examples of the savvy money decisions I’ve made in the last eight years. Nothing seemed note-worthy enough to mention as my biggest money success.
What would you answer if some one asks you what is your biggest money success?
(You can let me know what it is in the comments.)
I asked my husband what is his biggest money success.
He looked in the distance, thoughtful for a minute and said:
‘My biggest money success is buying my previous house (we weren’t together back then). I made so much money on it that it was possible, even after paying off my ex-wife, to buy our house. You know how much equity we are sitting on here, don’t you?’
Yes, I know. And this one savvy purchase, at the appropriate time, made enormous difference. Still, is it big enough?
This is when it hit me. Most people when asked about their biggest money success would think of a discrete act. My husband thought of buying his previous house.
I could think of:
- Paying off £100,000 in three years; after all, this is the money feat for which I’m best known.
- Nearly doubling our income in the last six years.
- Investing in value stocks and making a success of it (though I gave this one up).
None of these, however, is my biggest money success.
Because, what I’d count as my biggest money success is not an act but a process. Let me explain.
When faced with debt, and a lot of it, most people tend to see paying it off as a destination. Paying off the debt becomes the ultimate measure of achievement and sacrifice, thrift and selling off possessions means to an end.
For me, debt was very different – it was a symptom of my faulty relationship with money. Hence, paying off our debt was never a destination; it was more like a part of building wealth.
I looked at our spending and made sure that we don’t waste any money. Our whole family made sure that we changed the way we do things so that we get most value for our money. We never sacrificed our quality of life. (If anything, our quality of life went up through mindful spending and maximising joy.)
I claim that I’ve become a frugal artist but I still have a problem with the simple frugality that drives some to expand much resource to save pennies.
And, as my long term readers know, the only thing we sold when we found ourselves in so much debt was my Smart-for-Two car. (Between you an me, it needed selling – easily the worst car I’ve ever driven. We also didn’t, and don’t, need two cars.)
My focus was much wider – finding myself in debt I saw as an opportunity to learn about, and experiment with, the ways to build sustainable wealth. My emphasis was on:
- Changing the way I think about money.
- Leaning about, and adapting, budgeting tricks and tips.
- Developing healthy money habits.
- Increasing our monthly cash flow.
- Starting side-hustles and learning to make money on the side.
- Learning to invest in businesses.
So you see, I consider my biggest money success to be a process, not an act.
My biggest money success is that I didn’t stop with paying off our debt but continued to build new investments.
Frankly, I’m not sure what would have happened if my biggest money success were paying off the debt. Maybe, I would have turned out to be one of those yo-yo debt people who pay off their debt just for find themselves in debt again.
What you consider to be your biggest money success? Why?