Let's state something that should be obvious to us all. We in America are very lucky people. We were born or immigrated into a country with unlimited possibilities. Those possibilities can help us achieve some pretty amazing things over a lifetime. That could include money and material possessions, but at what point do we stop and question this system that tends to guide us down a path of more, more and more?
Let's step back a minute. What is the definition of enough? To have enough is to say you have enough money saved up and invested to live on and you don't need more stuff. It's worth your time to read Your Money or Your Life to better understand this issue. Are you at enough yet? If not, at what point will you? I concede this is not an easy idea to wrap your head around, but it's worth your time. Why? It can change your life!
How? You can stop chasing after more money and more stuff. When you do that, you can start redirecting your time, energy and even your money toward more important things. Can we agree that there are more important things than money and stuff? This is a critical point in this discussion. Once we concede that money and stuff takes a backseat to more important matters, we can move on.
So, what is better than money and stuff? Serving others. It's that simple. Identifying your talents and finding ways to help others unconditionally will make this big ole world a better place for us all. By reaching enough, you can redirect your life toward achieving that goal. Then, you simply have to figure out who you are going to be and how you are going to help others.
When you truly trust in this idea of unconditional giving, it opens up a world that many have never experienced. This is a place where you are making a real difference in the lives of others AND yourself. Yep, through the process, you see how meaningless money and stuff really are and how great it is to help others. You realize money is just a stepping stone that helped you graduate to enough. I want you to graduate!
Now, let's take another step back and address what many of you might be thinking. Well, that's just fine Finley, but I am still struggling to get ahead. I have not reached enough and therefore I can't just drop everything and start helping people. That is a fair point. I am not saying everyone should stop what they are doing and follow this path NOW. I am saying a better future awaits as you Push aside your fear.
Let's take a few moments and review a real problem for many. Learning how to minimize your wants will increase your freedom. There is a shopping addictionthat has taken hold in America and if you're not careful, it can grab you! By truly embracing the idea of wanting less, you will open up so many possibilities going forward. If you spend less, you will have more to save and invest. You get to enough faster!
Can you work full time or part time and still reach enough? Of course you can. If you enjoy the work you do, by all means, keep doing it and find ways to give unconditionally with your free time and on the job. Many choose this route, but at some point, you might want to have more time available to serve others. When that day comes, exiting work and diving into a new way of living will be possible by having enough.
Here is the short version to getting there. Earn a decent income. Minimize debt. Increase savings to at least 20% and for some who want to get to enough sooner, shoot for 50%. Invest those savings in retirement accounts (focus on Roth 401(k)s and Roth IRAs for earlier retirement) and a non-retirement brokerage. Buy low fee, diversified stock index funds. Sprinkle in some bond index funds and be patient. This takes time.
Let's take another step back. Some of you might be thinking I am asking you to live the life of a Monk. I am not. I might be asking you to Think Like a Monk, but not actually live like a monk. This new way of thinking can seem a bit crazy because you are surrounded by a chaotic, stressed out society who lives paycheck to paycheck, hoping to get all the bills paid by the end of the month. I believe that is crazy!
Getting to enough is not only possible, but doable for those who embrace the message I am sharing with you today. Will everyone like this idea? Hell no! They are so caught up in the rat race, they can't stop long enough to see the maze they are in. So, you should not expect everyone in your life to support this idea of enough, leading to unconditional giving. That's okay. They can live their life. You live your best life!
Now What? Take some take and sit down all by yourself to consider this idea of enough and what it could do for you. Do you want to live the paycheck to paycheck, stressed out life like so many do? Or, do you want a more meaningful life where you can make a real difference in the lives of others AND yourself. I think when we lay those options out, it's clear what direction we should go. Reach for enough!
Enough + Unconditional Giving = A Better World