Utilize Money To Enhance Life

An important aspect of taking care of yourself is to utilize money in such a way that it enhances your life, not detracts from it.

The quote to reflect upon for this month was Trent Hamm's response to a reader letter submitted to The Simple Dollar in a post titled "Life Advice to a Graduating College Student".

As Trent offered later in the same article, "The more relationships you have, the more money you have, the more skills you have, the easier it’s going to be to follow your heart. If you don’t do these things and take the easy path, you’re going to find yourself throughout your life being tied down to your circumstances, watching great opportunities pass you by, and that will leave you with nothing but regret."

Logically, we know we should use money to create security and safety. However, we are not always completely logical beings. The complex mixture of life experience, expectations and whatnot can, and does, lead us to handle money in a more emotional way. When this is recognized, it is possible to begin to use that emotional base to help lead us.

How To Utilize Money In Taking Care Of You
The first step is to learn the important difference between needs and wants.
  • It is necessary to provide for basic human needs that money can buy, such as subsistence (food, clothing, shelter).
  • Next in line of the hierarchy of needs is to satisfy the need for security and safety. It is necessary to set aside an adequate amount in savings to provide for all of your (and your family's) needs, now and in the future.
After that, it becomes a lot grayer in terms of what you need vs. what is actually a want.
  • Need paper & pen to express creativity or aid in earning income? Yes, probably. But at what level does it become a want? When is a certain paper & pen not adequate and you need that other one?
  • Need electricity, transportation, computer access? Many humans live just fine without them...though they are most definitely over-classified as a need by this human. :-)
On to step two. By now, you've probably realized that most everything above the level of basic subsistence and protection/security are wants. And that is OK. Wants are not inherently bad.

Rather than fleshing out when fulfilling wants (or even seeking fulfillment of them) becomes problematic, I'd rather focus on stressing the importance of creating balance. This is where utilizing money to enhance your life comes into play.

In its purest essence, money is a tool.
As you utilize money, find the balance unique to you alone that enhances your life and does not detract from your focus on taking care of yourself -- all parts of you. "It is said that people have unlimited wants, but limited resources. Thus, people cannot have everything they want and must look for the best alternatives which they can afford." (Wikipedia: Wants) It is key to recognize when the want is insatiable, e.g. always wanting a newer car than what you own, always wanting to have what another has, and so on.

Life fulfillment will come as your increased awareness guides you to utilize money in such a way that it enhances your life, not detracts from it.

By the way, if you haven't read Trent's writing over at The Simple Dollar, I highly recommend it. Trent understands the psychology of money; it's not simply a tool.
Until next time...Take Care Of You!

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