Neil Campbell on May 27th, 2010

The Point Is...
Creative Commons License photo credit: kamshots

A piece of advice from an old man (well not quite THAT old, but getting there!)

A while ago I read a post on a money blog about how it was possible to negotiate a substantial increase in ones income if one knew how to go about it.  It contrasted this with the more limited benefits to be gained by concentrating on cost savings.  This got me thinking, as I had always been slightly wary of the type of advice that gets you spend a lot of time switching utility providers to save a limited amount each year.  Perhaps my time would be better spent trying to increase my income by a larger amount?  Widening this thought process a bit I decided to write a post about what my priorities for life would be if I was starting out again. This is to try and put the whole personal finance “thing” in perspective!

1 – Live Your Life and Make it Full of People

It is a bit of an over-used saying, but money doesn’t make you happy.  It is people and satisfying relationships that make you happy.  Of course money is important and having sufficient can make being happy a lot easier.  However I find it possible to imagine a situation where I was poor at the end of my life but surrounded by loving friends and family.  I would be happy!  Contrast this with a situation where I had spent my life pursuing material wealth and alienated my family.  I could die alone and be very miserable.  Of course the ideal is to have both, but this extreme example makes it clear to me where my priorities would need to be.

So how to achieve this?  Make time for your friends and family.  Do fun things with them.  Keep up with your network of friends from each stage in your life (school, college, different jobs).  be involved in the community through charities, clubs, or religious organizations.  Have financial aims that are not only about enriching yourself, but also giving to others.

“I would rather die a pauper with friends than be like Mr Burns in The Simpsons – rich but reviled by all.”

2. Be Brilliant at What You Do

In your career, find something that you enjoy and/or are good at.  Strive to be the very best that you can be at this and you will reap the rewards of job satisfaction and (very probably) financial advancement.  If you think about it, the rewards from excelling at your profession are more or less unlimited.  If your current job does not offer any prospect of excelling or rewards for doing so then consider something different. Get some training or consider starting a part-time business.

“I would rather be a doctor with a debt problem than a janitor with a high credit score!”

I will cover priorities 3 and 4, and how I measure up in my next post……

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3 Responses to “My 4 Priorities For a Happy Life

  1. I’m going to play devils advocate and say that I might rather be a janitor with a great credit score because a profession does not relate the the happiness or fulfillment of a person… I know some doctors who really don’t enjoy their job or feel fulfillment… You’re right though about working towards something and becoming brilliant :) What would you like to become brilliant at?

  2. @Ryan, I think you’re right – that comparison didn’t really sum up what I was trying to say very well. In fact I know a janitor at my daughter’s school who does a great job and seems very happy!

    My ambition is to make a success of my business ventures (become a brilliant businessman :) ) so that I can have more security for my family and the opportunity to help other people in need.

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