I feel like this should be obvious but let’s just get it out there: Money does not equal happiness. Happiness is attained. It’s a state of mind. Money is simply a tool that we use to help us attain happiness but even then, it’s not necessary.
You don’t need Financial Independence to be happy. Yes, becoming financially independent will be amazing and it will be fantastic to not have to go in to a 9-5 everyday but if you’re not happy before you get there, then you probably won’t happen once you arrive at your destination. You’ll probably be excited for a little bit but then that will wear off and you’ll be left just wondering what the hell to do.
Take a lottery winner for example. We all know that they have a higher tendency to go bankrupt than a normal person but are they really happier? I doubt it. Before they had money, often, they were slogging through their day to day lives, waiting to hit that retirement boat at the end of the journey, the one they most likely hadn’t saved up for. When they won the lottery, they attempted to use the money to buy themselves happiness. They buy fancy cars, big houses, and go on spending sprees. After about 5 to 8 years, all the money is gone because they didn’t know how to take care of it in the first place. And they still aren’t happy.
My point is that, like I said above, money is simply a tool to help us in our journey for Financial Independence and, ultimately, some sense of happiness and contentment. It’s not going to simply provide it for us. Just as we have to work on our budgets and investments, we have to work on being happy. We have to put ourselves in positions where we know we can be happy. Are you happier if you’re working out? Join a running group or a crossfit and be a part of a team.
I think the biggest thing any of us can do is to make sure that every day we do something to make us happy. Otherwise, we’re wasting our own time! If you’re scrimping and saving and investing wisely, all to reach financial independence, then you better be happy. If you haven’t reached some measure of general happiness with yourself, money will not suffice as a substitute. It will only treat the symptom and not the disease. Take some time and think about what has been dragging you down lately. Think long and hard and try to see if this is something you can change. Chances are, you’ll find that it’s within your power to fix.
Image courtesy of 401(k) 2013