What’s Your Financial Why?

Money…. Who doesn’t want it? Money can drive us to excel in school, can propel us to work hard for that next promotion, and having enough money can be used to meet our wants and needs…… or can it?

Personally, using money as a motivating factor is a weak reason to want success. Why? Because if money is your only reason to drive for success, you’ll end up feeling hollow and unfulfilled once you achieve it. IMO and from my experience, people whose main driver is money are greedy by nature. Once they set a goal of earning $250,000 a year and then achieve it, they then want to earn $350,000 and so on and so on. They are NEVER satisfied. Why?

Your Why

If the driving force for success is to accumulate wealth and stuff, it’s hard to consistently sustain this effort. You’ll never be able to accumulate enough stuff to fill the void that is felt. If money is the driver, the more you have, the more you will want. There will ALWAYS be something on the horizon to want for. Money without a purpose leaves a Grand Canyon-sized hole that just cannot be filled.

People who aren’t successful on their journey often don’t have a real motivation behind their effort. They stumble and wander wondering why they haven’t achieved success instead of asking the question, “What REALLY drives me”?

To understand this, you must know your why.

How To Define Your Financial Why?

Your financial why is the thing you want more than anything. It’s your driving force and the thing that gets you up in the morning. It gets your heart racing and blood pumping! It’s your passion point. It’s the thing that gets stuck in your brain and you cannot stop thinking about it.

Your financial why is used to answer these questions:

  • Why am I saving up so much money?
  • Why should I bother to payoff my debts?
  • Why invest for the future?
  • Why create a business or work a side hustle?
  • Why work so hard toward a better future?
  • What makes me tick?

Can you close your eyes and visualize it? If you can you know your why! Knowing your why gives you a lens to focus your choices thru to help find greater fulfillment in both your personal and professional life.

Taking the time to understand the why behind your financial goals will unleash your passion and motivation to pursue them. It will make you strong enough to overcome any setbacks or temptations to stray from your goals.

In other words, a strong financial why is about finding a mission and purpose for your money.

For example, people want financial independence because of their innate desire for freedom. Freedom to make choices on how we use our time, to choose where and how we live, and to work or not to work. Its more about what the money enables to happen than the collection of money itself. Accumulating wealth in order to obtain financial independence is the means to the end NOT the end itself.

I’ve met a lot of unhappy millionaires because they found their identity in wealth accumulation and keeping up with the Joneses, not a higher purpose. Those who have a higher purpose enjoy the journey more and appreciate the ride more. They understand and are grateful for the success they achieve. The one thing these people have that sets them apart is that they know their “why”.

Our purpose or our why is what keeps us going on the journey towards financial independence. Without it, you may feel stuck in a job you don’t like, work longer than you want to, or are just struggling to enjoy your journey. I know. I’ve been there.

My “Why” Story

For years, accumulating money was my main goal. As I talked about here, I grew up relatively poor and wanted to escape the life I was in. I wasn’t a great athlete, so I saw education as my way out of the life I was living.

My Why Story

I worked hard in school, earned good grades, and worked in a career where I have earned a respectable living. While I liked my job, I felt like I wanted more. At first, I thought I wanted to be an executive in my company.

I wanted to live the lifestyle they live and earn the money that they do. I grew up on a farm working 12+ hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year where we barely earned enough to keep food on the shelf.

I figured if I could earn huge compensation and work the same hours that I did on the farm, then hell, why not! I knew that I didn’t want to be poor again and I was determined to do whatever it took to not live my life like that anymore.

I worked long hours and kept trying to move up the corporate ladder. I earned a few promotions along the way but still I felt empty. So, I put my head down and kept trying to work my way up the corporate ladder. I was hoping that the money and promotions would fill the hole I was feeling.

I worked even longer hours and taking on more assignments. I became quite competitive as well. I didn’t care who I had to outwork, outperform, or just plain step on to advance. By God, I was going to do it!

After earning my MBA, I felt like my career was not moving as fast up the ladder as it should, so I looked for opportunities outside of my company. I found one with an up-and-coming company and was a HUGE promotional opportunity.

I figured that if it didn’t work out, I would just keep moving on to a different company and success would find me! Then, reality set in.

My marriage was falling apart. We were constantly fighting over why I had to work so much. I missed a lot of my son’s events and my wife was a stay-at-home mom. We also discovered he was autistic and struggling not only with school but developing friendships as well. She was up to her ears in problems and needed my help.

I also didn’t know it at the time, but my wife was struggling converting over to being a stay-at-home mom. She was lonely and depressed….. really depressed. She would literally lie in bed all day, every day. I would leave for work and she laid in bed. When I came home, she was still there. The house was a mess, and my son wasn’t fed dinner. It was a terrible time in our lives.

I thought that by working so hard, it allowed my wife the freedom to care for our son so that we did not need her to work. At the time, I thought I was doing it so I could “take care of my family”. In reality, this was not the case.

I was only really taking care of myself and my ambitions while my home life was falling apart. The more I worked, the less I had to be at home to deal with the situation. Out of sight, out of mind, I guess.

The worst point in all this came during a phone call from my wife. We had started to patch things up and ended up getting pregnant! Things were going great until I received a call from my wife to come home.

I was fighting for my career and trying to work thru a really rough patch with my current employer. I was under a HUGE microscope where literally my every move was being watched and reported on. She called me in tears because she had just gone thru a miscarriage by herself, at home. She wanted me to come home because she really needed help and was literally begging me to come home to support her.

What did I decide to do? Tell her I’ll be home for dinner. This literally signaled to her that the work I was doing was more important than her problems and more important than my family.

After several years, our marriage recovered from this fiasco and taught me a valuable lesson…….. Family is everything.

All the money in the world cannot replace the love of your spouse or the love of your kids. Earning millions doesn’t replace the laughter you hear from your children or the hugs ‘n’ kisses they give you when you get home. THAT is priceless.

So, my “why” has changed…. for the better. No longer am I in it just to acquire money and prestige.  No longer am I biting ankles and climbing backs to work my way up the corporate ladder.

Don’t get me wrong, I still work hard and strive to advance my career as much as possible. However, I have made it a point to make sure that the family’s needs are taken care of and is paramount. It’s just not worth it if I do not have my family.

What’s My Why Now?

My financial why now is 3 things:

First thing is to ensure my children are taken care of and do not repeat the mistakes that I have made. My wife and kids are my everything. I want them to be setup for their life like I wasn’t. I want my kids to learn financial literacy and be able to manage their money. I want them to have the opportunities and choices that I wished I had at that age.

My New Why

Second thing is passing on what I learned to others. I shared my financial knowledge over the years with friends and family to help them through some tough times. They kept saying I should start a website in order to share my experiences, so I did! 😊

The third thing is I want freedom to choose how I spend my time. I know a lot of executives at my company. While they make a great living, drive free cars (yes, it’s true depending at what level you are in my company), and enjoy a ton of great perks, they are unhappy. They are unhappy because they are literally an indentured servant to the company they work for.

The company tells them what they work on, where they need to live, and whether they move to a foreign country or stay local. The company expects them to always be on call and to answer the phone no matter what time of day their boss (usually a VP or higher) calls.

While some do like to work 18+ hours days because they love what they do and it energizes them, a lot of others do it because of the responsibility, privileges, and to be frank, the ego trip that come with it. They enjoy being the one who calls the shots as well as the glamour and respect the position brings.

Also, while they do enjoy certain liberties, they also work a lot of Saturdays and Sundays, miss a lot of their kid’s activities, and hardly take a vacation. It’s ironic at my company where a person who is an executive can get up to 5 weeks of vacation a year but might only use 2 weeks of it throughout the year. They cannot roll it over because it’s a “use it or lose it” policy.

I don’t want that. I want to call the shots on how my time is spent and what it is spent on. I want the freedom to decide if I get up early or not. I want the choice to decide if I move to a different part of the country. I want the freedom to enjoy hobbies outside work, hang out with friends, and enjoy watching my children grow up.

Therefore, I decided to start this blog site. I want to share my knowledge and experiences with you. I want to create a community of people that can help each other out as we go on this journey of financial independence together. If I can help one person avoid the mistakes I have made and expedite their journey to financial independence, it would have all been worth it! 😊

My mission has become to have my family and this community become financially free! No job promotion or dollar amount can put a price on the joy I feel every time I connect with this audience. This is MY financial why. It’s what drives me to stay up late writing articles for this blog. It’s what compels me to learn everything I can about managing my finances and then teaching others what I have learned. It’s what I obsess over and keeps me up at night thinking about how I can help other people avoid the pitfalls that I have experienced.

Where Do I Go From Here?

Not sure what to do next? Stuck in trying to figure out what is your financial why?

Stay tuned!

Next week’s article will go thru the steps I took to discover my why and how you can too.

Until next time…….

Live the Life You Love, Want, and Deserve! 😊