What are you saving money for?
Image courtesy of Behavior Gap
Easy question to ask.
Tough one to answer I think.
Carl Richards, of Behavior Gap fame and more, reflects on this question often in this book, other books, and with the clients he works with.
I’ve started to reflect on this question more frequently myself, this year than any other years in the past.
That’s probably because I’m getting older (now 45) and it’s natural to question the status quo more. It could be because my wife and I are getting closer (every month) to realizing a couple of our major financial goals. It’s just as likely because I’m maturing as a person. I’m sure other reasons abound…
The beauty of discovery
The first step in any goal setting process is to understand where you want to be. Part of that discovery process is learning who you are.
I recently revisited this discovery process through an emotional intelligence (EI) and leadership workshop that management in my division at work completed. This workshop challenged us to reflect upon the following components of EI:
- Our self-perception
- Our self-expression
- Our interpersonal skills
- Our decision-making skills
- Our stress management capabilities.
As part of the workshop I was provided a report about my own EI ratings on these subject areas. Much like any investment plan (that should be uniquely tailored to you), it was great to understand where I am in order to strategize where I want to be.
I won’t go into details about what this particular report said, but I did find it revealing and refreshing that my areas for self-improvement (should I wish to take those on…) reside in the same areas that I assessed myself on to improve upon.
Why money might be important
I suspect we don’t like to ask ourselves why questions very often, including those about money, because it often forces us to reflect on how we feel. Feeling is all EI folks. It’s much easier to talk about numbers than to challenge our fragile emotions.
I’m going to open up a bit and tell you why money might be important to me – at least some money anyhow:
I’d like to work on my own terms – sooner than later.
I’ve never really bought into this entire FIRE movement but I do admit some of the principles behind it are very important to me. Meaning, I’ll never stop working for income, at least as long as I’m physically or mentally able to. Rather, I’m more FIWOOT (Financial Independence, Work On Own Terms).
*FIWOOT is a pending My Own Advisor trademark 🙂
Since entering my 40s a few years ago, I’ve had no interest in “moving up” any workplace ladder. That’s not to express there haven’t been opportunities nor potential for it – but I simply don’t want it. It’s not what I desire in my current workplace setting. Rather, I’m pursuing something different in my life and work – something more meaningful than extra hours in a cubicle, in a meeting room; where outcomes seem far less important than outputs – just getting $hit done.
I’d like to seize more opportunities (and time) for experiences.
Some money goals are easy to define – establish an emergency fund comes to mind. But I have much broader life goals than money sitting in the bank. Travel experiences are important to me – and those desires for experiences grow as I get older. Money is important to me, to some degree, to be able to fund those experiences locally or aboard. Experiences could be (and have been) a local craft beer festival. It could be a desire to visit Chile or another international country in another year. It could be anywhere and everywhere in between.
I feel money can offer some of that financial flexibility. Enjoy experiences in closer to the present day. You only go around this life once.
I’d like to reduce my stress and improve my well-being.
Back to my recent EI report, I’ve been reminded that my financial goals are aligned with my values. And…aligning my values to how I work and play reduces my stress significantly. I don’t want to feel I need a certain job to maintain a certain income. I want to let go of expectations about the future. I want to let go of outcomes I think I have control over. I want to let go of any financial worry.
My emotional balance sheet if you will, has improved significantly since starting this blog. I anticipate that trajectory will continue as I share my thoughts, plans and ups and downs about our financial journey here.
What is certainly interesting is whatever becomes of this blog or my financial future, one thing I know for sure is: there is huge power that comes from asking why in life and more specifically for today’s post what I’m saving money for.
What are you saving money for?