Money is a funny topic, especially among our generation — the millennial generation.
It’s this thing that no one likes to talk about. We have different associations with money–both positive and negative. Money is this uncomfortable subject that most people our age like to dance around because depending on your audience and your network, the energy around money shifts. We make pre-judgments about people who have money or desire money, we confine ourselves to a certain ideology that to be humble, we can’t want money and are afraid to allow ourselves to want both. When we hear the word money, we have been programmed to associate or feel the following: greed, guilt, ashamed, bad, materialistic, uncomfortable, less than, Wall Street etc.
Instead, we should be feeling this: candid, comfortable, worthy, stability, opportunity, options, freedom, awareness.
My goal is to reprogram how our generation thinks about money, because I too, once fell into the same trap as everyone else and was too afraid to allow myself to want more and speak my truth, in fear of what others thought of me. I found myself in relationships where we did not see eye-to-eye on the value of money which eventually became a point of contention. Some view it as materialistic. I call it practical. And then I realized, that my most powerful gift was to release that fear and unleash my truth, because that’s when abundance started to flow in effortlessly. Instead of molding myself to fit within the confines of a certain ideology that people artificially created, I assessed what I wanted in life and allowed myself to receive it, 100% guilt-free.
Alright, what am I talking about? This is so abstract and makes no sense. Or maybe it makes some sense but it sounds like I’m talking in proverbs???
If there’s one message I want you to take away after reading this post it’s that: Wanting less is not more. Being small does not make you humble or modest. There’s nothing brilliant or inspiring about concealing your true light, ability, and authentic power to make others around you feel better or less insecure about themselves. Before I shifted my energy around money, I used to feel guilty about wanting to live a certain lifestyle. I felt conflicted because as a member of the yoga and hiking community, we pride ourselves on the ability to live simply and we say greed is bad and giving is good. But why can’t we do both – want money AND give back?
You can. No justification needed. It’s an interesting dynamic you see, I found myself to be an outsider even within these communities that I belonged to. I didn’t agree with these ideals. I knew it was possible to also enjoy luxury because I knew in my heart what I wanted and I knew that it was also possible to give back, because I was already doing it. But I still had this fear of judgment even though I knew who I was, and that’s someone who craves stability, the ability to travel and live freely without the burden of making ends meet, spa days, and the same person who gives generously, believes in the power of philanthropy, community, and living simply, in a constant state of gratitude.
It took me years to realize that the issue wasn’t the communities or external factors. The issue was my own mindset! I needed to change MY mindset before I could attract abundance in my relationships, lifestyle, network, friendships etc. If your goal is to make a larger impact and give back to the community, wouldn’t rising up to a position of greater influence more easily enable you to do that? Wouldn’t making more money enable you to give more money?
Having children, going on vacations, traveling and seeing the world requires dough. Wanting to earn money to do those things is nothing to be shameful of. Wanting to have options to live freely because you’re sick of the constant grind to make ends meet or having to depend on others is not greed. Something I wish that was taught in high schools was the value of money (and how long it takes to acquire it), how to budget, how to make smart decisions around money, and if you want X car, X house, this is what you need to do in X amount of time.
In addition to the awesome thirty-something pages in The Millionaire Morning where Howes drops some serious wisdom (PS- you can get a FREE copy of this book at themillionairemorning.com), below are some simple tips that have helped me live a good life and hopefully will help you too!
- Self-permission – give yourself the permission to want the things you want, to want the life you envision for yourself, and allow yourself to be your authentic self, without fear of judgment. Don’t let anyone make you feel less or guilty. You know who you are. Wanting more does not make you materialistic or greedy. I call that practical. 🙂
- Earning more does not mean you have more – earning more does not mean spending more. You’ll be in the same spot as before if that’s your mentality! It means saving more of your paycheck while you’re young(er) so you can meet your financial goals sooner, and then treating yourself in a few areas.
- Calculate what you owe, take this delta and work off this number – taking out more credit cards and acquiring more debt is not the answer. Lay off on treating yourself and focus on paying off your liabilities little by little. Factor your liabilities in your budgeting balance sheet. Ignoring it won’t make it go away.
- Figure out what’s an investment or a liability – timing is an important factor. Sure, lots of things are investments. I’d like to have an investment property within the next few years, but does it make sense to “invest” in it now? Or is that just frivolous spending? Depends on the individual’s current financial situation. Think about your personal financial situation and if it makes sense to tie up your cash. What’s the impact on the other areas in your life?
- Maximize your employee benefits – this one is a no-brainer and something you have probably heard a million times over from your parents. Maximize your 401K (that’s free money!), leverage your company’s tuition reimbursement (that’s free money!), look into discounted gym memberships and commuter benefits.
- Live below your means (car, gym memberships, vacations etc.) – I’m not saying you gotta live like a monk. I’m just saying there’s a time and place for treating yourself and how often you treat yourself. Depends on what you want in life. Maybe you get a standard car in your mid-twenties so you can travel more and get that hot Porsche when you can actually afford it? I’m a sucker for the boujee yoga studios and gyms. Did you know a lot of them offer trades? A trade is a free membership for working one day/ week. Better yet, if you’re a fitness instructor you’re likely to get a free membership and/or a discount anyway.
- Life’s curve-balls – time to face the music! Life is full of surprises including surprise emergencies like medical bills or car repairs for getting rear-ended by the person who was texting and driving behind you. You can’t plan these things! You can’t just choose to deal with them later. Money doesn’t fall from the sky, my friend. You deal with this now. You deal with it by having an awareness of your finances.
- Side hustle – ain’t nothing wrong with a little extra cash on the side.
- For those who have money, save more! – that’s right, don’t just save it but invest it in mutual funds and watch your money grow while you’re young. I recommend investing in Vanguard index funds. Unless you’re Warren Buffet’s disciple, stay away from individual stock-picking. 😉
Anyway, I am living proof you can do it. I’m balancing a full-time job, living in Shanghai, traveling the world and I’m not broke! Life is not on hold just because I am aware of my finances. Life is full because I am aware of my finances.