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Saturday, January 21, 2012

Taking Control of Your Money

How does your money relate to your happiness?

You and I can probably agree that money cannot buy happiness. It’s a common expression and you have probably seen a case or two of someone with a lot of money that was miserable or even took their own life.

Yet our actions with money throughout our life suggest that the more money we have the more we spend in the subconscious effort to “buy happiness”. Think about it…

When you are feeling down you “treat” yourself to something to make you feel better…Whether it’s a new pair of shoes, a movie ticket, a drink, a nice dinner, an ice cream cone, etc.

When you want to celebrate good fortune you probably spend money in some way…A nice dinner, a gift from the mall, a vacation, weekend getaway, a catered party, etc.

When you are looking to do something fun or are bored you spend money again…Go shopping, the movies, buy something online, the casino, a sporting event, go to some big box store to buy something on credit, etc.

When you want to reward yourself because you work so hard…A motorcycle, a recreational vehicle, a time share at a resort, a golf club membership, a trip to the spa, more shopping…

The things above are not necessarily wrong, it’s just what we do. Yet we need to realize that for many, many things in life the solution that we find is to spend more money. So again we remind ourselves that money can’t buy happiness yet our actions say a different thing.

It’s this type of mentality that keeps us in the eternal treadmill of “I need more money”, “I don’t have enough”…

Making ourselves conscious of our relationship with our money is the first step in creating the relationship we want with money instead of the one that we have been subconsciously creating.

When you do this you then determine why you want money, what you are going to use it for and how much do you want. The biggest benefit of this can be getting your life back by not having to work for money all your life to fuel a lifestyle of consumption.

If consumption does not become the reason of being for you having money then you gain more and more control over your money.

I once read a quote that said “Man is rich in proportion to the things he can live without”…

The more we “free” ourselves from the thing we “must have” the less we are controlled by them. However, in such an overly materialistic society where we are bombarded with incentives and advertising to have more and have more stuff we don’t need, this can be a challenge.

To make matters worse our entire economy in the US relies on us consuming more and more. Never has this been more evident than in the 2008-2011 recession. We are told that in order for our economy to keep on growing and improving there needs to be more consumer spending, more credit borrowing, more home purchasing, and so on.

Yet our 2,000+ square foot homes are so full of stuff we have to park the cars outside because the garage is also full and then we have to rent more space at the storage place to put more stuff…

At the same time more and more Americans are seeing the goal of retirement slip into oblivion. Because after all “I don’t make enough money to retire”…

If we look around our houses and then deep inside of us to understand how we have been using our money then we can become conscious of what kind or relationship we have been creating with our money. This is the first step in taking control of it.

When we get to this point it then becomes our choice whether we want to be slaves to our money or we want to use it to create freedom. After all it can be used for both.

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