money health weekly


Financial Purpose and Intentional Living

financial purpose is using your money to design the life you want
❝The purpose of our lives is to be happy.❞ -Dalai Lama

I’m in the economics department talking to two of my professors about my future. One of my professors thinks I would do well in a Ph.D. program in economics. He thinks, at the very least, I ought to pursue a Master's degree. The other professor thinks I should consider law school. I’ve also considered a Master of Business Administration degree. Further, I have a finance professor who thinks more training in investments would suit me - specifically the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) program. There are too many options, and I’m not used to this. Frustrated, I ask my professors what I should do. One wants me to further my economics training, one wants me to study law, and I sort of want them to decide for me.

Instead of making my decision for me, which I’m looking forward to, they simply ask me one of the most challenging questions I’ve ever been asked:

What do you want to do?

I’m stumped. I’m even frustrated. How dare they ask me what I want to do. I asked them first!

This is the first time I’ve ever really even thought about deciding for myself what I want out of life.

Two years later, I’m sitting in the library studying for the first level of the CFA exam. Well, I should say I’m “studying” for the exam. Truth be told, I’m always on the lookout for distractions from the reading, practice tests, flashcards, and word problems.

Instead of studying, I flip through a brochure from CFA Institute - the organization that administers the exam. The brochure offers all the reasons we should all become CFA charterholders. One of the reasons is pay. I find myself drawn to the chart that shows the average salaries for professionals with the charter versus those without. First, I’m shocked to see that the average salary for those without the charter is high, but the charter, on average, will earn me $100,000 more per year. This is incredible to me. It’s another reason I should be actually studying instead of “studying.”

I have no idea why I want to make that kind of money. I certainly am not thinking about what it takes to have a job that pays that kind of money. I assume that’s what I’m supposed to do. More money is always better; that’s what I’ve learned. So it is, I put my head down and keep studying.

I’ve never thought about what money is for. I’ve always thought the collection of money was the primary goal I should have.

It took me years to realize that I can live my life on purpose instead of reacting to whatever happens. It took me even longer to understand what I needed money to do for me.