I’ve been thinking lately that my relationship with wealth and money is like the one of someone suffering from bulimia has with food. I oscillate between a state where money – making it, keeping it and investing it – dominates completely and another one where I’m not that bothered.
How do people find a balance?
How do you find a balance between ‘money rules’ and ‘there are more important things in life’?
For me, money has never been important when separate from the things that it can bring with it. And I’m not talking about new kitchen, fancy shoes and all the consumerist stuff with which we clutter our lives.
Money is important to me not because of what I could buy with it but because of the independence, security and quality of life it brings with it.
Today I’m in a contemplative mood. This morning we saw close friends who have been having tough time over the past year. They were both reminded of their own mortality in no uncertain terms.
Talking to these friends made me reflect on the things in life that matter more than life.
Here they are.
Obvious, isn’t it. There is nothing in life that is more important than health.
Anything is possible when one is healthy: fun, laughter and building wealth.
Following some text results, I had back couple of weeks ago, I must focus on my health. Have reached the age where ‘prevention is better than cure.’
Wisdom, in my mind, has three elements to it:
- Knowledge. Wisdom and ignorance don’t go together well. To achieve wisdom, one needs to learn about many aspects of life. (Personal finance bundles this one under ‘invest in yourself’ though there is a certain bias towards knowledge that can be used to make money. The knowledge you need for wisdom doesn’t have to be like that.)
- Judgement. This is not about being judgemental; being judgemental is a serious character fault. This is about developing internal standards you can use to make the difference between good and evil, morality and immorality, and appropriate and inappropriate action/behaviour.
- Acceptance. Don’t know about you but I did fight life events a lot when I was younger. Now I’m learning to accept them. I’m getting older: yep, this is the way of life. Something didn’t work out: well, some things are not meant to be. Acceptance is also about knowing when to ‘pull the plug’ and quit what is obviously not working.
Wisdom is what is left of learning plus the capacity to assess situations and accept them when appropriate. It deals away with so much unnecessary drama in our lives.
In personal finance we talk a lot about financial freedom.
This is not what I mean here. I mean the freedom to shape your own destiny, the freedom to travel, to tell jokes critical of the political regime and the freedom of choice.
My readers born, and brought up, in liberal democracies may not grasp the full meaning of this. It is essential, trust me.
Your family is the core of your support networks. Family members are meant to care for, and support, each other. Three things mark the border between ‘family support’ and ‘taking advantage’: love, respect and reciprocity.
What do I mean? For some time now, I’ve been irritated with young bloggers telling the world how they are moving back with their parents to save money (in some cases, this is their sole idea for building wealth). I see this as ‘taking advantage’. It can become a matter of mutual support if the people moving back pay their share of the bills and/or take on most of the house work.
I’ve been reading ’12 rules of life’ by Jordan B. Peterson. You may think hat you wish about the book (I’ll probably tell you what I think in another post) but there is something that struck me as a thunderbolt: Jordan Peterson apparently in an earlier book argues that our natural state is one of misery and it’s impossible to go through life without friends and close relationships.
So you see, this is why we all need friends. And having friends is about generosity and mutual reliance.
When I was in my early 20s, my friends Stela and George fed me when I was hungry and gave me shelter when I needed it.
When I was in my late 20s I helped them buy their apartments (don’t ask but I could do it). This is friendship and it counts for much more than money.
I’m sure that if I think a bit harder, I’d manage to think about other things that are more important than money.