A 20-year study conducted by Dr. Thomas Gilovich, a psychology professor, came to a powerful conclusion: Don’t spend your money on things. The trouble with things is that the happiness they provide disappears quickly.
Can you remember what you got for your 7th birthday? I can’t.
But I do remember my first visit to Adelaide Zoo. I remember my first trip to the snow. I remember my week of work experience as a vet in high school.
We are bombarded with information each and every day. Via smartphone, email, TV, social media. Much of this is marketing and it’s hard not to purchase things we don’t need. New clothes, new shoes, new phone, new car.
Quite often these purchases are impulse buys that we give little thought to and merely serve to satisfy a short term emotional need. I’m tired, I’m stressed, I will buy that thing and enjoy it while it keeps me distracted. It may make us happy for a day or a week but does it really help us get to where we want to be?
You need to ask yourself, does it add value to your life?
Has it improved your sleeping?
Improved your health?
Reduced your stress?
A recent study from Deloitte Access Economics and commissioned by the Sleep Health Foundation, found that 39.8% of Australian are sleep deprived.
Almost 4 of every 10 people!
This has massive flow on affects into work productivity. However, I am more concerned about your personal wellbeing.
Lack of sleep can lead to anxiety, depression and illness. Your chance of being in a car accident or making a poor decision (such as in impulse buy) also increases.
So what can we do?
Well take a minute to think about the things that make you happy.
Is it spending time with your kids?
Reading a good book
Sitting on the beach
Lifting something heavy in the gym
Planning that side business
A good exercise to get started is to imagine you won the lottery, not a huge amount, but enough to have to not pay rent/mortgage nor groceries. How would you spend your day?
Would you want to build something?
Learn a language?
There’s no right answer. Everyone’s answer will be unique to them.
So what can you do from here.
First, think about what makes you happy and try to fit more of that into your day to day life. The upside is that it will make you a happier and more productive person which can flow on to better career success.
Second, think of where you would want to be if you did not have to work.
Third, start devising a plan to get you there. You don’t have to reach your destination next week. Any plan needs to be realistic and achievable and broken down into lots of small steps.
Finally, now that you have targets to work towards, don’t let the daily distractions throw you off your path. Learn to keep walking when you see the sales signs and think “do I really need that thing right now”. How does purchasing this, help me get to where I want to be? How does it increase my financial or lifestyle wellbeing?
Try to integrate more activities into your life that reduce stress and increase your wellbeing.
We at the Financial Wellness Group are big advocates of wellbeing and want to ensure your relationship with money is a positive one and one that helps you achieve your aspirations rather than increase your stress.