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Spending Wisely for Happiness

Last week I came across this older, philosophical blog post from Mr. Money Mustache, and this graphic really jumped out at me. I recently completed certification training to become a Holistic Financial Planning Coach, with Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs threaded as a main theme through the course materials. This graphic really brings home how easy it is to disrupt the lower level of our pyramids by making poor financial decisions in pursuit of higher levels.Buying a $100,000 car to impress your friends and family (4th level of pyramid) may not be worth it if generates constant financial stress on the Security (2nd) level of your pyramid.

I'm all about embracing life to the fullest and making the most of our time on this Earth, but not at the cost of perpetually heightened financial anxiety. My mom, a child of the 1950s, used to say, "You wouldn't want your kids to end up sleeping in the box the color TV came in!" (Back then, color TVs were seen as extravagant luxuries, if you can believe it! ) There's definitely a personal calculus involved when it comes to managing expenses. Personally, I've found that the joy I derive from spending money on experiences like travel often outweighs the stress and consequences of parting with those funds.

On the flip side, if I were contemplating investing in something like a swimming pool, I know that the substantial financial outlay would likely introduce stress into our lives, and for me, a pool wouldn't bring enough happiness to justify that. So, the act of spending, much like life itself, is all about striking a balance and making trade-offs. It's worthwhile to ponder which expenses, in the grand scheme of things, contribute more to your overall happiness and which aren’t worth sacrificing your financial stability for. (Image courtesy of Mr. Money Mustache)

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