How to find financial happiness, according to author and Japan’s best-selling self-improvement millionaire Ken Honda
The bad news is that it’s still four days until pay day — festival season and back-to-back hen dos are draining your Monzo card, fast. The good news is you don’t have to stick to Pot Noodles for the rest of the week. At least, that’s according to Japan’s best-selling self-improvement millionaire Ken Honda, who’s on a mission to help you “make peace” with your cash. His new book, Happy Money, promises to do for your wallet what Marie Kondo did for your bedroom, from spending consciously to embracing a “Zen” approach to paying your bills. Here’s how to find financial happiness.
Choose your flow
There are two kinds of money, says Honda: happy money and unhappy money. Happy money is the kind that you use to buy your mum flowers or save for Glastonbury; unhappy money is the kind you use to begrudgingly pay your rent, bills and taxes. “Whether you make a lot of money or very little, your money can be in either flow,” so choose the happy flow: rejoice when you receive money (it can be as simple as smiling) and give generously and “with joy”, whether it’s to charity or friends. Buy a stressed colleague a cup of tea and tip that waiter a little extra — it’ll make you happier, too.
The book suggests shifting out of the “scarcity” mindset: “a belief that there are limited resources in the world and if we don’t get what we want when we want it, someone else will”. This makes us feel “small and less generous” and makes us operate out of fear, jealousy and greed, says Honda. Instead, he proposes a mantra of “abundance”. If a colleague gets a pay rise, see it as an opportunity — maybe you can ask for one too. If you and a friend both have business ideas, share them — maybe you can collaborate or make each other’s stronger. Think of it as embracing a win-win mindset.
Those with what Honda calls a high “money IQ” don’t spend with a view to being thrifty. Instead they are “conscious”, which means spending mindfully on things that benefit their wellbeing — such as subscribing to a gym membership or investing in public speaking lessons. As long as your spending aligns with your values, “you never feel like your money is wasted”.
Honda embraces “the Zen approach” — which means being present in the moment. “If you’re not thinking about the future, you’re not anxious, you’re not fearful, and you’re not stressed,” so you don’t have to spend your time worrying about paying your bills at the end of the month. If you want to treat your friends to something — do; if you want to buy a present for your partner — buy it, he insists. When it comes to saving money for the future, “save it while you imagine the many fun ways to spend it. You might go traveling, eat at a nice restaurant, get a massage…” This way “you’re infusing your thoughts of money with appreciation, love, hope and positive energy”.
Say thank you
Honda’s mantra is gratitude and it’s as easy as saying “arigato” (thank you in Japanese). “People who appreciate life are more liked, more approachable and more attractive,” he writes. “As a result, they invite all kinds of opportunities into their lives.” For example, billionaire Richard Branson sends hundreds of thank you letters to members of the Virgin family of businesses and operations every year.