Happy Money :) — Life Principle #17

Like it or not, money (like health) affects every aspect of our lives.

But what is money anyway? It’s not the paper in your wallet, the digits in your bank account, nor the stacked gold bars locked away in Fort Knox.

Money is an idea.

 Money is information.

Money is the quintessential form of knowledge. I might not know how to create a website or make a cheesecake, but I can pay someone who does. Then, they can use that money as a way to buy shoes or pay for your car. We can use money as the medium to exchange earning into insights, and insights into earnings.

Money is exchange power.

When you have money you can reach more people. You don’t need money to reach people, a great story or skillset can do that all on its own. However, money does amplify your exchange power.  With it, you can travel around the world, open many closed doors, and (even more importantly to me,) create freedom of Time. For many of us, even the idea of asking for a day off at work sounds impossible. That’s what happy money gives you — flexibility and freedom.

Money is leverage.

When you have it, you can leverage others to support what you do, and rally behind your cause (for good and for ill) 

Life Principle #17: Create Happy Money. 🙂

The best place to start with happy money is on the opposite end:

Unhappy Money.

On the spectrum from homeless to Jeff Bezos, there are all sort of money problems we may have to deal with. When you have no money, it’s hard to think about creativity or even dream big because it’s impossible not to focus on the immediate issues. Anyone who has been through some rocky periods (meltdowns) like me with their finances will understand this firsthand. It’s hard to think about the longterm when you’re short term is screwed up and punching you in the face.

When you’re making some money, one problem is what to do with it? How do you use it effectively towards building a money machine? How do you save, invest, give and spend it wisely?

The closer we get to our money working for us instead of us working for our money, the happier our money will be.

Being born into money has just as many problems and potential landmines. Sure you don’t have to worry about your next meal, but you do the weight of your family’s money looming over you, casting a shadow
My family isn’t wealthy, but I’ve observed friends whose families are wealthy.  One problem is there’s the parent, the kids and the money. Their money is like it’s own living thing itself, and can either teach the kids how to be great with money or turn them into silver spoons.

When you’ve created something magical and or help a lot of people, you may be making it rain. Now everyone in their uncle wants you to give them your money. Actually, /no/. They don’t just want, they expect you to buy them stuff to fix their lives. What you earn suddenly becomes a communal giving spree. And if you’re wealthy you may end up surround people who love your money and tolerate you. Surrounded by yes men, you don’t know who you can trust. You also worry about losing it. It’s hard for a broke joke to lose $1000, It’s soul crush for a wealthy individual to lose a million (or worse). 

The worse part about unhappy money is spending it when you don’t have it or can’t afford it. From my experiences, using credit to spend money on things you can’t afford is one of the biggest stressors we can face in life.

It’s not that credit is bad, in some ways, it can be really beneficially. It’s the fact that credit + unaffordable lifestyle equals misery. The worst thing we can do is to go into debt to someone else. It chips away at our security and confidence. Slavery still exists around the world. If you owe someone money, you are a slave to that debt. 

Seeking money by itself is not enough. Money alone defaults to unhappy money. But when we turn our minds to pursuing happy money and focusing on the good that we can do with it, our financial lives (and beyond) will start to shine!

Here’s what I’ve learned about happy money so far (this list isn’t exhaustive, only what I’ve learned so far):

Happy Money

Happy Money is a Tool and Resource.

We must invest in ourselves. Use money as a tool to gain valuable skills and insights. Create a learning fund. Don’t regret buying books, courses, and experience that improve your life.  A pile of money at the end of our lives doesn’t really amount to much. It’s not about how much we have, it’s what we do with it.

Happy Money is a Mindset.

How much we make reflects the mindset we have about ourselves. The belief we have in ourselves directly effects how much we make. If we constantly talk down to ourselves and believe we not worth much, we’re going to sell ourselves short. However, if we do the opposite and believe that we are capable of earning more and learning what we need to in order to make more, we will.

Happy Money is a Tape Measure.

Money is the result of helping others and doing great work. The more you can impact others lives, the happier your money will be. When people lose sight of this and pursue wealth for the sake of wealth, they lose their ability to make happy money and create a meaningful life out of it. They literally and figuratively become a sellout. Happy money is a tape measure for how much good we put out into the world. The more you give the more happiness you will receive. 

Happy Money is Net-Positive.

 If you have debt, work on getting rid of it as soon as you can. Peace of mind is having money that’s net-positive. The closer we get to zero, or go past zero, the more anxious, worried and self-centered we become. 

Happy Money is a Lifestyle. 

Wealth isn’t built in a day. Happy money is a habit. The more your days reflect positive financial habits, the greater your wealth will be in the future. Take care of the essentials (food, shelter etc) and focus on making money a lifestyle. Your future self will thank you for it.

Happy Money is Compounded.

The more we can use time and compound interest to our advantage, the better our longterm will be. A penny saved today is a dollar tomorrow. Make time an ally and start figuring out how you can save, invest and use the incredible power of compound interest.

Happy Money is a Reflection of Your Values.

There will always be ways for us to cut corners or scam our way into more money. The money we make that hinders people is not happy money — its dirty money. Money reflects our values and our values reflect our happiness and wellbeing.

The more we focus on helping others find happiness and meaning (,whatever that looks like for them) the happier we (and our money) will be.

Stay BOLD, Keep Pursuing,

— Josh Waggoner


Related Insights

“Wealth is the ability to fully experience life.” — Henry David Thoreau

“Time is more value than money. You can get more money, but you cannot get more time.” — Jim Rohn

Money is not the only answer, but it makes a difference.” — Barack Obama

A business that makes nothing but money is a poor business.” —  Henry Ford

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