MM009: Being Happy with “Having Enough”
Society encourages us to work hard so we can keep working our way up the corporate ladder so we can ultimately find success at the top. Along the way, we'll see our income increase and almost inevitably so will our lifestyle. But, as we're chasing happiness and always looking for more, what happens when we realize that happiness might have been at our heels the entire time. It's time to put our personal and financial goals ahead of what society tells us our goals should be.
IN THIS WEEK'S EPISODE
* Our family's exposure to the societal pressures of climbing the corporate ladder
* How we use Personal Capital to free up time and focus on what matters most to us
* The parable of the fisherman and the businessman
* How focusing on "having enough" can help you simplify and streamline your life
* Encouraging words to help you recapture and find your own happiness
Let's start today with a quick story. Mrs. Modest and I have found ourselves moving around to different parts of the country due to our jobs and climbing the corporate ladder at a breakneck pace, which has allowed us to experience different societal and cultural trends in different regions throughout the country.
One such time period, or as my wife would say "season of life," that stands out was when we lived in the suburbs of Chicago.
There is a lot of money there. People earn more, which allows them to spend more. It also comes with a higher cost of living (don't get me started on property taxes...).
What we noticed is that for us, it was really easy to get caught up in the trappings of a more expensive lifestyle. We were both earning more money when we took jobs in Chicagoland, so it was easier to look around and justify some of the nicer things that people around us were buying: homes, boats, cars, clothes, nice nights out, the latest gadgets and more.
It was easier to say, "Our income just jumped 15%, so yeah, why not? We can swing that purchase.” After a while, we noticed that our spending had increased at the same rate as our increase in income. Our budget had fallen by the wayside and our wallets were loose. We would look back at the end of the month, thinking that we would have a bunch of extra income left to feel good about and start working toward our financial goals, but we’d get discouraged that it all “magically” vanished.
It was about this time that we started having conversations about our career and family goals, so it was an opportune time to start thinking about what we wanted to be when we grew up.
Also around this same time we read a parable that really hit home. We'll dive into it after a quick break.
One of the ways we are able to free our mind is to leverage tools to track our finances. One of my favorite such tools is Personal Capital. They are an investment company, so ultimately they want to manage your money, but what I love is the free financial tracking dashboard that lets you track all of your income, expenses, debts and investments. It's a super handy way to quickly review your personal finances so you can get back to what you really want to do in your free time, like listening to this podcast, of course! To do your own personal finance happy dance, snag a free account and start tracking your finances at modestmillions.com/capital.
The Fisherman and the Businessman
Okay, we're back.