Our culture has at its core the idea that more is better. I found myself designing my life around this belief not too far along and it led me to the unhappiest chapter of my life. What I learned was that the underlying qualities that truly affect happiness are not advanced one whit by having more material things or getting a higher paying position at work. More peace of mind is gained by allowing ourselves to be satisfied with what we already have. More joy is not bought; it is found in our hearts.
What is Satisfaction?
Satisfaction describes a feeling of fulfillment or contentment. Its meaning is relative and often dependent on one’s definition of success as applied to specific areas of life. In our financial lives, “satisfaction” is as much (if not more) an emotional issue as a practical one. That is because a sense of satisfaction is highly subjective, and greatly influenced by the individual’s attitudes and beliefs.
Why more money does not lead to feeling more satisfied.
In our society we tend to equate financial satisfaction with having a lot of money. In actuality, the degree to which one feels satisfied with his or her money life is based on a unique and personal interpretation of his or her financial needs and circumstances. In other words, two individuals can experience identical financial situations, and yet the degree of financial satisfaction they feel can be at polar opposites.
For example, one person can feel gratified and “wealthy” with an annual income of $100,000 while another person will feel disillusioned and deprived at this same level of income. Another illustration is use of credit. One person can be very comfortable carrying an ongoing credit card balance of $5,000, while another person will be “totally stressed out” and “not satisfied” until his or her credit card balance is zero.
In addition, priorities can change over time and affect one’s feeling of satisfaction. For instance, an individual could live with disorganized financial records for years with little concern, and then one day become discontent with the disorder and lack of control and shout “I can’t live this way anymore!” Another experience for many individuals is that their desire to increase their charitable giving grows in importance over time as does the sense of satisfaction they receive from sharing their financial resources.
Those who are dissatisfied with their financial lives are often unsure of the source of their feelings. For example, an individual can know intellectually that they are financially independent, but not feel financially secure on the emotional level. Others can strive for and achieve wealth and yet not feel any gratification from this accomplishment. In addition, there are those who feel “inadequate” when it comes to financial matters and put off making financial decisions for fear of revealing their lack of financial savvy.
How I help my clients get become more satisfied with their finances.
The first step to making positive change in any area of life is awareness. Therefore, as a Financial Life Planner, I help my clients to think about and assess their own level of financial satisfaction. Then I partner with them to address and correct the areas that impede their sense of financial well-being. Are you ready to start living a happier and more prosperous life?
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About the Author:
For more than a decade, Nestor has helped his oil and gas professionals define their personal financial values to help build a plan that centers on rewarding outcomes. The journey, he believes, is every bit as important as the destination. He established Green Mountain Planning as a fee-only financial firm to avoid the pitfalls and conflicts of interest found in other agency settings. “I work for you, not any company or product.”