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Your Money and Your Values


financial purpose is what your money is for

❝Personal values are the measuring sticks by which we determine what is a successful and meaningful life.❞ -Mark Manson

I'm stressed out as I sit at my kitchen table, trying to figure out how I will pay rent this month. It's 2001, and I'm trying to go to college and work full time at the same time, but I have to give up some hours because I am simply too busy. I work hourly, so if my hours get cut, my pay gets cut. On top of this, I have a lot of expenses related to school.


My life mission is to find a job where I can make a lot of money. I decide to switch from studying mechanical drafting to studying economics and finance because it feels like there's more money in those fields. The source of my stress seems to be money, so the story I tell myself is that if I had money, then I would be happy.


A decade and a half later, I make more money than I ever thought was possible. I'm never late on any rent payments or mortgage payments. I'm never behind on my bills. Based on my old philosophy, I should be delighted. I'm checking off all the boxes and doing everything I think I'm supposed to do, but I'm not very happy. My work is pointless, and my boss is evil. Having the money to buy whatever I want doesn't compensate for this.


I learned that having money to buy anything I want doesn't actually lead to a meaningful life. Buying what I think I'm supposed to buy doesn't make me very happy. And trying to keep up with the Joneses feels like running in place on a treadmill.


CONSUMERISM AND THE JONESES: OUR DEFAULT MODE


Unless you've been living in a cave, you've heard the expression, "keeping up with the Joneses." This expression, at its core, is about consumerism. Consumerism, essentially, is the idea that consumption is the ticket to happiness. In other words, if we could just buy more and better stuff, we would be able to say that we are happy.


Keeping up with the Joneses goes further than just wanting to buy more and better stuff. It's the "keeping up" piece that is problematic. It's not enough to buy stuff and be happy in a vacuum,