By: David Rae, Published June 24, 2019
Are you looking to be more Zen? Become a millionaire? Find more happiness in your money? If you gave a yes to any or all of these questions you may want to give the new book happy money – the Japanese Art of Making Peace with Your Money a read. Before you run away, this book is more The Secret than some boring personal finance book from Dave Ramsey telling you to keep all your pennies in envelopes. Who even uses pennies anymore? It is an enjoyable read that everyone can gain something from, rather than pages and pages trying to tell you that you are an awful person for wasting money on coffee at Starbucks.
Happy Money is written by Ken Honda who is a best-selling author raised both in Japan and the U.S. The book cover boldly states “What Marie Kondo’s The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up did for your living space, Ken Honda’s Happy Money will do for your wallet.” I’ll admit when I saw this I thought to myself, “yeah right,” but this book blew me away. As a Certified Financial Planner™, I’m trained to help people save money for retirement, minimize taxes, make wise investment choices, among other things. All of these things are just tools to help you reach your various financial goals. While this book barely touches on any of those things, it can help you change your money mindset- to enjoy your life along the way.
What is the point of saving money, working hard if not to bring more joy and happiness into your life? If you have read my column here often you know, I love to help my clients live a Happier, Healthier, Wealthier life. In this vein, I also was inspired to write How to Lower Your Tax Spark Joy By Tidying Up With Marie Kondo after watching the hit Netflix show Tidying Up.
I want to take a moment a mention that Elizabeth Dunn also wrote a book called Happy Money the Science of Happy Spending, from a more research and spending point of view. I previously wrote The Five Principles of Happy Money reviewing her book. Ken Honda referenced Dunn’s book in his book with a similar title. Same topic very different ways to get to the most happiness from your money. Do yourself a favor and give both of them a read.
“There are so many emotions wrapped up in our money!” -We all think about money differently. Money is stressful, but getting your financial house in order can help bring calm and Zen to your life.
“Money Can Buy Freedom”– We all have the same 24 hours in a day to get everything done. For many of us, money means freedom. Freedom to pay someone to clean our homes, freedom to let a restaurant cook our meals, freedom to spend more time with your children (or grandchildren). The list goes on and one. Without money, some of your options to improve life are limited. What would you do it you had an extra hour or two to yourself each day?
“Even All The Money In the World Doesn’t Prevent People from Worrying About Money” – If you are not happy with your life or your money, it will not matter if you are rich or poor. Over the years, I’ve met many people who are living their best lives on average or below average incomes. Alternatively, I’ve met many people who are never satisfied with any amount of money. Someone is always richer, sexier, more successful. What is your biggest stressor around your finances?
I’m still in the camp that it is easier to be happy with money than without. Personally, I take much comfort knowing I am secure financially.
“Even though you have an MBA Educations, if your Money EQ is low, you could very well end up losing money.” You may think of this as street smart versus book smart. A case could be made that the single mother raising three kids alone with no net worth to speak of, is better with money than a billionaire. The single mother may not be able to save anything, but I bet she knows where every last penny is spent and stretches those dollars to their breaking point.
On the other hand, the billionaire knows that if they spend too much money, they can always earn more. In other cases, they can just spend at will, and they never make a dent in their net worth.
Most of us likely fall somewhere between these two examples. Whether you are a rocket scientist, business owner, or teach you likely don’t know as much about personal finance as you do your chosen field.
“Making Money the way a Happy Millionaire would mean doing the things you love to do and sharing that gift or talent with others.” If you are slaving away 8-12 hours per day at a job, you hate, it will be hard to live a joyous life. Would a job change (or career change) help you fine more joy in your work life?
“If you are going to save money, save it while you imagine the many fun ways to spend it.”
Which of these would motivate you to save more money?
- First class flight to Bali with lie-flat seats, with a luxurious stay at the Four Seasons Sayan. Gourmet dinner, luxury accommodations, and several spa treatments.
- Money to be invested into a diversified portfolio, to compound over time, in a tax efficient manner. Building up your net worth, to use to pay for future expenses.
Option B could be used to pay for Option A. That being said if you know why you are saving money you are money likely to stick with it, and more likely to end up reaching whatever your specific financial goals are. Could a money mindset change help you achieve your financial goals faster and easier?
“Once You Get Into the Habit of Spending More, it is difficult to rein in.” Cutting back on spending is like dieting, hard to do, and will often make you difficult to be around. It is easy to spend a little more here and there, but once you do, things that were once a luxury become a necessity. If you want to be like the Zen Millionaire- live within your means, so you don’t have to make drastic financial cutbacks when bad times come.
“People who become wealthy slowly and deliberately over time tend to keep the money for a long time as well.” For this point, just think of all the lottery winners or pro-athletes that have gone from having more money than they knew what to do with to broke seemingly overnight. They just are not prepared to handle the money, and they have no idea how to turn that huge nest egg into an income stream that will last the rest of their lives.
“Want to be wealthy?” Happy? Peaceful?” Say, thank you. It’s that simple.” Try being grateful for the joys in your life and watch your mood brighten. Thank those who have helped you get to wherever you are and show appreciation to those who help you in the future. You may be surprised at how much more money and help flow your direction. Who do you owe a thank you to?