If you’re reading any post on a personal finance blog, the odds are that you are trying to achieve a goal through the means of money. But you may be wasting a whole heck of a lot of time diving through post after post in the personal finance niche without first asking yourself a few questions.
There are three questions I would strongly urge you to consider before ever reading another post on personal finances. If you can come up with a set of answers that satisfies you, it might just add an increased level of purpose and determination to your efforts. If not, well, at least they will have inspired a little introspection.
1. What is the End Goal?
When I say ‘end goal’, I’m not talking about superficial achievements such as buying that Ferrari you’ve always wanted or a house, or even things like getting out of debt or retiring. On the surface these may be short-term goals that you want to achieve, but what emotional need is lurking underneath?
What are you really trying to accomplish with money. Are you trying to eliminate fear? Eliminate stress? Buy more time for yourself? Free your mind? Experience more that life has to offer so that you don’t feel regret later in life?
2. What do I have to Sacrifice?
Achieving big financial goals to fulfill emotional needs requires sacrifice. It’s one thing to aim for being completely free of financial stress and fear – but achieving that goal often requires a whole lot of work, stress, and sacrifice to get there.
What exactly will you need to sacrifice? This may require some serious number crunching. It also may require you to re-evaluate the true value of financial and career goals, material possessions, and time. Are your end goals worth these sacrifices?
3. What am I going to do when I Get There?
We’ve all heard the stories of people who have worked so hard all their lives to finally get to retirement and are surprised that when they get there they are no happier than while they were working to get there.
Here’s the rub. As humans we set big goals. And when we get there? Well, we tend to ask yourselves ‘what’s next?’. We’re ambitious creatures. And ambition often clouds our judgment.
What I’m suggesting here is to really ask yourself if achieving your goals and fulfilling your emotional needs via money is going to make you happy. Or will more happiness come in finding the proper balance between the means and the end?
So, my friends, what are your answers?