We think that more money is the answer, but what we’re really seeking is a way to feel better. That’s what really matters.
Everyone is selling success.
You see this in people’s perfect lives on Instagram, their perfect bodies, their wine glasses on their waterfront beach property.
And when it comes to financial success, this type of thing is on overdrive.
I’m super unimpressed with people who have content like how they paid off $52,055.15 in debt, as if their exact circumstance matches your exact circumstance. As if you would magically pay off that exact amount.
(And seriously, who cares about how many pennies of debt you paid off?)
I think we get this all wrong, by focusing on the amount of money.
I paid off all of my student loans. Tens of thousands of dollars worth of student loans.
But I don’t have content called, “how I paid off $yada,yada of student loans”
Why? Because that misses the point.
People think that their financial goal is to make a certain amount of money.
But I think that people’s financial goals are to feel better. More at ease. Less anxious. More confident. And that does not correlate with a dollar amount.
Table of Contents
Why you can be rich and still broke
I have known people who make six figures and are up to their eyeballs in debt. Are they feeling great about making so much money? Are they feeling confident and anxiety-free? No.
That’s because how much you make doesn’t matter. How much you have after you make it is much more important.
(Think with me: who is in a better financial position, someone who makes $300,000 a year but has $290,000 in expenses, or someone who makes $50,000 a year but only has $25,000 in expenses?)
The leaps we make
But even how much you have isn’t as important as how you feel.
Money is just a tool, a lever, a store of value, a means of exchange. Use whatever metaphor your want.
In your mind, you are making a jump from having a certain amount of money to being able to do and have certain things and experiences, and then on to how those things and experiences will make you feel.
Or, in clip art form:
You probably make these leaps so quickly that you may not realize that they are leaps.
The amount of money that you aspire to have, is your own, and different from others. And probably don’t even know how much it is that you want to achieve. Most people just stop at “more”, which is a problem, as you’ll never be satisfied.
Similarly, the things and experiences you want are also your own. Well, they are if you’ve really thought about it. Sometimes people recycle other people’s ideas (like how everyone says they would “travel more“).
I bet you haven’t really looked at the things and experiences that you want, in detail, and asked yourself how much these things cost. In my experience, the really really big things aren’t as expensive as we think they are.
How you feel is the new “rich”
Which brings us to feelings.
How do you want to feel? What do you want to feel more of, or less of? Less anxiety? more confidence? More faith in the future?
Do you want to feel protected? Do you want to feel protective of those you love? Do you want to feel safe?
These feelings are also your own, different from other people.
And they are at the heart of what’s important.
Not how much money you have in your bank account or retirement. Not your income. Not how nice your car is. Not how big your house is. Not how much you give to charity. Not how much you spend on your family and friends.
How you feel is more important than all of that. Because when you feel the way you want to in your money situation, the numbers just don’t matter.
So don’t be blinded by people telling you how much they make, or how much debt they paid off. None of that matters. Focus on the feelings. and seek out the people who will help you get in touch with how to feel the way you want to feel.
Once you get there, you may in fact be a millionaire, but who cares?