I'd say that spending money is my favorite thing to do. It’s fun, really easy to do, and it feels amazing! Here’s my conviction: Money buys happiness! I promise that it will not be very hard to convince you of this. Let me start here. How does it feel when you buy a new outfit right before going out? How do you feel at Disneyland? Once there, buying Mickey ears is a must, right? Ordering pizza with extra toppings when friends come over would be nice, right? Picture a family BBQ on a sunny Saturday afternoon, feels good? What would it be like to sing your all-time favorite song a few rows from your favorite band at their sold-out concert? Going to the movies and not getting popcorn just doesn't seem right! And what if everyone wants to hang out at Starbucks after the movie? Also, we need gas money to go to the mall. And personally, I hate window-shopping. Only looking at everything that I can’t buy is just cruel. Isn’t how much money we have an absolute must when calculating our freedoms and limitations? And don't those freedoms and limitations determine how happy we feel?
There are endless experiences that also bring us tremendous happiness that costs absolutely nothing. Like anyone else, I like mellow weekends that are about playing board games or watching movies at home with friends, but once in a while. Would staying home because you have no choice feel good? How about after the third weekend? How much freedom is that? Having the option to choose between experiences that cost nothing and experiences where spending is necessary is an important choice to have. Therefore, money provides opportunities to create experiences that bring us moments of happiness! Right? Sure we can hang out with friends and family at home, but all the time? That can get pretty old, pretty quick. What if the fair is in town? The rides are fun and you might want a turkey leg, right? After long days, do you deserve some entertainment? Even the simple things cost money. Like I said, spending money is my favorite thing to do, but back in the day I was often left with one major problem that did not bring me happiness at all – I was always broke. I learned to manage my time so that I can work and go to school, but I never learned how to save money. It may sound obvious, but making and spending money were the only things on my mind, especially after a long day. I feel lucky because my brother and I have had incredible conversations that led to advice that changed my life, I’m thinking forever.
He’s working on his MBA in finance, which means that he’s a numbers guy. He understands money! He told me that if I liked spending money then I had to learn to save money, no matter what! He talked about two important things. One, the point of having money is to spend it with or on people that are important to me. And second, he said that spending money is all about making money, but most of all learning how to save it! He said that having a fat piggy bank or bank account is just as important as they money that goes in it. Many people make money, but most of them will not know how to save. This is why people who work are often still broke! He emphasized that saving money is not an automatic thing. It’s actually hard. He talked about some research he learned in school that said that people are usually broke because they don't know how to save their money, regardless of how much money they actually make. I’ve read online in many places that most people are in deep credit card debt. That is so true; that used to be me and everybody I knew. Nobody wants to live paycheck to paycheck, but many do. Why? They don't know how to save their money.
This is my takeaway. I want to enjoy life as often as possible, which means that I want to have the choice between staying home and going out with friends. It’s a good thing to be ambitious about making money! It’s not a matter of buying myself stuff, material things, greed, or money itself. It’s about having the funds to create memorable experiences that keep life interesting. Having money in hand means that I can buy something now, which is fine, but less important because I can be broke tomorrow. Those that acquire wealth are not wealthy only because they have money. They are wealthy because they have money, but more importantly they also have much more saved up elsewhere. Having money in hand, and having money saved is far more important because I now have peace of mind and can make plans for my next adventure. Here’s my plan. I going continue working part-time, finish my degree, and once I’m done there I’m aiming for an MBA. And along the way I will get to enjoy life. I want to enjoy life during school, not after. I’ve even developed a formula that I keep close to me so that I can stay focused on my goals everyday. I call it “New Math”. Here’s the formula.
(Time + People Who Matter)
________________________ = Moments of Happiness
(Money Saved + Choices)
In essence, time spent with family and friends, divided by money saved and the choices I can create for us equals to moments of happiness. The division is more about balance, which can be hard but also doable. When I can balance (T + PwM) and (MS +C), it all equals to MoH. I’ll be the first to say that getting there is not easy. Despite that, I can also say that the times that I’ve worked at getting there, I’ve experienced the happiest times in my life. We can’t be happy always. There are bad moments, days filled with hard work and sacrifice, but this formula simply provides a way to seek more control over the moments when I can enjoy life with the people we care about. Perhaps money is just a technicality in my conviction, but isn’t money an important part of the equation? Sometimes I will stay home and relax, but sometimes I will want to go and do fun things that are pricey. Knowing that I have the choice and that I will have extra funds saved up definitely makes me happy. Wouldn't you feel the same?
~ Bobby Santana, 24