When you think about spending your money wisely, many things can come to mind. Beyond the ability to have assets, investments, and comfortable life, many more striking factors determine how to make good use of your wealth.
After all, if you allow money to become your source of happiness, you may never be totally satisfied.
According to the latest research, more money does buy more happiness, but it’s not necessarily how you think. While a 2010 study claimed that more money doesn’t buy you happiness beyond $75,000 ($90,000 in today’s value), new research renders that study moot by senior fellow Michael Killingsworth from the University of Pennsylvania. Killingsworth’s study published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences reveals that happiness does continue to increase as wealth increases without a plateau that was stated in a previous study.
The key is to think of wise spending regarding the true happiness it brings you and to the people around you. Even when you have more than enough, money alone cannot buy happiness. However, observing six mindfulness techniques can help you align your money with what brings you the greatest joy.
Here are the six mindfulness techniques you can start putting into practice today.
1. Define Your Core Values
What are your core values? Think of family, integrity, independence, freedom, adventure, achievement, generosity. These are unique to you but universally applied to anyone seeking to align their money with what matters most to them.
2. Plan to Spend in Alignment with these Values
Beyond knowing your core values, you need to put them into action by spending money in alignment with your values. Spending money is an action. There is timeless wisdom that says, “If you want to know what a person truly values, look at how they spend their time and their money.”
Therefore, there is a disconnect if you value family, but all your dollars are directed toward your business interests. Whereas, if you value generosity and have a Donor Advised Fund established to give to the causes you care about, there is alignment.
You can ensure your money is aligned with your values by automating your finances so that money flows to predetermined areas of your life. You can automate education savings, trusts, charities, investments, mortgages, and a host of other expenditures.
3. Review Your Spending Habits
Are the dollars you spend tied to a value you identified as being most important? This mindfulness technique causes you to look at your spending in the rearview mirror to assess if your actions align with your intentions.
It can be easy to identify values but then fall into old spending habits. Paying attention to how you are spending money – not for the amount spent, but for the purpose it is supposed to support – is a way to hold yourself accountable for your happiness and financial well-being.
4. Consider One Thing You Have Done that Was Most Enjoyable
Life happens while we are busy living it. Sometimes, that means we can miss acknowledging something that brought us immense happiness. Without realizing it, we run the risk of not repeating it.
Therefore, take a moment every six months to think about one thing you have done that was most enjoyable to you and why? Beyond that, answer for yourself how money played a part in the enjoyment you experienced. When you do this simple exercise, you can focus on the things that brought you the most joy and recreate some version of that experience again and again.
5. Document 1 or 2 Goals
Goal setting is how successful people accomplish great things. Without setting goals, you can’t achieve them. So think about, and write down one or two goals you want to achieve within the next five years.
Five years is intentional because it’s far enough away to require time and effort but not so far away that it feels elusive. An example of a five-year goal may be to purchase a vacation home, start a new business, or write a book.
6. Plan Your Finances to Achieve Your Wealth Goals
Once goals are documented, what needs to happen financially to achieve these goals? Preparing your finances to meet a goal means spending with purpose like we established in mindfulness techniques 1 and 2.
To reach specific goals, you can be more intentional to ensure money is earmarked to help support your ability to reach a goal. Otherwise, you may dilute your spending in too many directions and lose focus on the one or two things you most hoped to accomplish within the next five years.
The secret to enjoying your money has more to do with living intentionally than the money itself.
Having money gives you freedom of choice and access to what you need to turn your dreams into reality. By observing these six mindfulness techniques, you can ensure that your money isn’t reactive to life – but proactive in building a life you are proud to live and grateful to enjoy.
The simple truth is money alone isn’t the goal. Money is simply the tool that can turn your vision for your life or the impact you want to have in this world possible. And when you know how to wield money to spin happiness, you can truly enjoy your wealth.