Some of us tell ourselves that when we make X amount of money and can afford X amount of things, we’d be happy. Therefore, we spend our lives working hard towards that goal.
Sadly, we live in a society that associates the overachiever, the hustler and the workaholic with success. Often success is associated with money and fame. You need to have latest car model, live a big house and buy brand items. Almost as if you are not hustling all day and making tons of money, then you won’t reach your goals. There is a truth to that, but it doesn’t mean that if you don’t hustle every day, you won’t reach your goals.
For years, I lived up to this idea that I needed to work nonstop until I became wealthy enough to live the life I always wanted. Retire at an early age with a nice car, nice house and traveling the world without worrying about money. Sounds like a dream, right?
But did I really want that? Was I going to be happy once I reach that goal? At what cost would it take to get there?
I was miserable. I had worked so hard and I was already 26 years old and was not even close to becoming a millionaire. I had negative everything. I was living above my means to live up to an image of success, and had nothing to account for. I had $0 savings and $50,000 in student debt, a car loan and credit card debt. I made several wrong decisions that led me to my financial situation then.
Growing up no one taught me about money management. I grew up in Colombia. We weren’t rich, but weren’t poor either. We had a roof above our heads and food on our table. No one in my family had savings and they were always were barely making enough to cover their living expenses. Stock and real estate investing were foreign concepts to me growing up.
So when I began working and got credit cards, I was reckless. I was trying to give myself the life I never had. I was young and stupid. However, here I am today.
When I finally decided to face my financial situation, it wasn’t easy. I wanted to be a millionaire and retire by 40, but here I was nearly broke. It felt like I had been working so hard, but not getting anywhere. Like a mouse in a wheel.
The thing is that I thought I knew what I wanted. I was going to become a real estate guru and I was going to be rich. However every time I would accomplish a milestone, it did not made me happier.
The moment I realized I did not need to work so hard and still achieve the same result, my life changed. I didn’t need to be rich. I didn’t need more money.
I could be a millionaire with the salary I had. I already had everything I needed. I just need to shift my mindset and use the tools already available to me. I was blindly following a standard and it didn’t make me happy.
Today, I am working toward financial independence and retiring before my forties. I won’t live in mansion or drive a luxury car and I am okay with that.
All I want is to be free to do what I love without worrying about my financial situation.
When I stopped putting a number to my happiness is when I started living. It was like a weight was lifted off my shoulders. I shifted from I need to have X amount money to be happy to—> I would love to do X and I just need enough to get there.
We think more is better, but sometimes, enough is even better.
Now I have a purpose and I know exactly what I need to do to get there. I’m no longer running in circles and it feels amazing.
Not everyone will agree with me and that’s okay.
This blog is just a recollection of what led me to where I am today and how I am approaching my finances these days.
A lot of people don’t like to talk about money or the effect it has in their lives, but talking about it is what has helped me and I hope I am able to help you start that conversation.