A big part of establishing your financial goals is determining your “why.” I hadn’t asked myself this in a while, so recently I decided to sit down and reevaluate. I’m not sure if asking why is the right question, though. Because here’s what I came up with when I asked myself why:
- Why do you want to improve your finances? Because I want to buy a house and retire before I’m old and decrepit.
- Why do you want to buy a house, and what are you going to do when you retire? I want to buy a house so I own something and don’t have to pay rent to make someone else rich. Very vague idea of retirement. Would love to travel and be a snowbird, but might have some other obligations that make the future kind of fuzzy in that regard.
- Why does it bug you so much to make someone else rich? Does a house really make you rich? And why do you want to be rich? I guess someone being made rich at my expense makes me a little spiteful. I want what they have. I don’t really know why I want to be rich other than comfort and a feeling of security. I know I don’t want to overwork myself and neglect other areas of my life to get there, though. I have a strong work ethic, but don’t want to spend my entire existence stressed. And, no, silly, a house doesn’t make you rich. If you pay it off you no longer have a monthly payment due every month, but the house in and of itself is a place to live.
- If you’re doing this out of spite to get something you’re not sure you want at the expense of time and stress you don’t want to exert, then why are you doing it? I DON’T KNOW!
There were quite a few other justifications I didn’t include in there for your sake, but that’s the general picture. By asking why, and digging deep, all I found was uncertainty. A worship of work abounds in our culture, but the more I live my life the more I realize I want to build other aspects of my life. I don’t want to be a lazy mooch, but I’m not quite sure why I put all the pressure on myself that I do. Because this is what happens when I ask myself this question:
What would you do if money were no object?
- Travel. Though I’ve done this on a budget almost every time I’ve gone.
- Spend a ton of time outside. Especially with my kids.
- Do genealogy. Because it’s like solving a mystery and I have some weird thing about remembering people after they’re gone…I feel like people aren’t truly ‘dead’ until people stop speaking of them, and that all of our stories are important…I’ll spare you the full spiritual rationalization.
- Serve. Take care of the people in my life that need help, but that time disallows me from reaching out to in the way I want to right now.
- Take my kids to do all the coolest things.
- Have date nights at least once a week with my husband. Right now we’re sitting at once every few months. It’s a mess.
Want to know the crazy thing about all of that? Almost none of it requires tons and tons of money. The thing about taking my kids to do cool stuff reveals more about my insecurities as a mother than their interest in crazy expensive experiences. At this point in their lives, spending time with mommy anywhere is more important than participating in the coolest parts of pop culture. I guess I should average out for that changing in coming years, though.
But everything else requires time. So what I actually want isn’t money; it’s time. And my lifestyle of preference apparently doesn’t require as much financial maintenance as I had previously thought.
Have you ever evaluated your “Why?”