The quest for money is one that consumes many people. The idea is that if you work a little harder, and make a little more money, your life will improve.
Unfortunately, at some point you are likely to reach a level where making more money just isn’t worth what you are giving up. This happened to me a couple of years ago.
I was working more and more, and earning more money than I thought possible. But I wasn’t happy. I was always frazzled, and telling my son that we would have to put off some activity together, or staying up late pounding away on the laptop while my husband watched TV.
After a while, I realized that I wasn’t enjoying any of the fruits of my labors. There was more money, true, but what was I doing with it? The answer: Absolutely nothing. The money wasn’t improving my quality of life at all. I was doing so much work that my quality of life had worsened.
I looked at my schedule, considered my clients, and drastically cut my workload. I was making less money, but I didn’t feel rushed all the time, and I actually had the time to enjoy a night out with my husband, or go on a bike ride with my son.
What Does More Money Cost You?
While having more money might be a comfort in some ways, if it isn’t enhancing your lifestyle, you might want to take a step back and consider what your money is actually costing you.
Costs aren’t just about dollars and cents. In fact, when you are earning money, you are trading a set portion of your life. So, you are using your life — your hours of free time — to buy more money. To a certain extent, the trade is worth it. You get the money you need to buy the necessities of life, as well as some of the wants. The money can also be saved to help fund your retirement down the road.
But at some point you reach a place where more money isn’t really helping your lifestyle. I’m in a position where I don’t have to worry about a commute. However, if you have a lot of commuting to do, you need to factor that in as well. You aren’t being paid for your commute time. If you could make a little less per year, but cut your commute time drastically, you might find that the extra money just isn’t worth it.
Always working in the hopes of increasing the money pile isn’t likely to lead to fulfillment in the long-term. Instead, it is far more likely to lead to frustration and unhealthy relationships. It’s tough to find the balance between truly living your life and spending all your time trying to make more money.
Consider your situation, and decide what’s important to you. I decided that a couple thousand extra dollars a year wasn’t worth the amount of time I was putting in on work, so I reduced my workload. I have more free time now, and I’m much happier.
I don’t even miss the money.