The fact that you’re reading a personal finance blog says a lot about your commitment to manage money well. However, I’m curious to know more about your motivations. To use a question frequently asked by our two-year-old: “But why?”
Are you trying to get out of debt? Build savings? Figure out the best way to invest?
That may sound like a silly question, I realize. Those financial goals are inherently worthwhile. But I believe it’s important to know what the accomplishment of any goal we’re pursuing would enable us to do. What’s the real goal – the goal behind the goal? Knowing the answer to that question is hugely helpful in finding the motivation to do the work.
When I was digging my way out of debt, for example, it sometimes felt like a long slog through a muddy field. But when I thought of what getting out of debt could free me up to pursue – marriage, the work I really wanted to do, a life without so much financial stress – it spurred me on.
It Isn’t About Getting Out of Debt
Lately I’ve been thinking about the writing and speaking I’ve done since quitting my corporate job nearly six years ago, and about the writing and speaking I’d like to do in the future. It’s been helpful to think about that question – “But why?”
I love helping people get out of debt, dial down financial stress, and get the most from their money. But those aren’t the goals that get me out of bed in the morning.
The “But why?” for me is about helping young couples use money in ways that’ll strengthen their marriage instead of the more common approach that usually leads to stress and strife and even divorce.
The “But why?” for me is about teaching financial beliefs and behaviors that enable people to build great relationships, pursue their life’s work, and experience a sense of purpose and meaning.
The “But why?” for me isn’t even mostly about money. It’s about using money as a means to far greater ends.
And the goal of being able to do this work one day was the “But why?” that explained so many of the financial decisions we made early in our marriage, like living for five years in an “up and coming” neighborhood that was in the very early stages of that process.
What Are Your Real Goals?
Think about your situation. What financial goal is most on your mind these days? Which one are you pursuing? As you think about where you’re trying to go financially, how would you answer our daughter’s question: “But why?” What’s the bigger story behind your desire to achieve that goal? I’d really like to know, so please leave a comment below.
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