Most of the readers of this blog as well as yours truly are into making money at least to some level. I think that’s fair to say and there is certainly nothing wrong with that. Getting out of debt, saving for a first down payment, saving your first 100K or eventually your first million dollars are all very noble achievements. Anthony Robbins explained very clearly though that there is something deeper than money. No one, even the more wealthy is after money only for money. There is a feeling, a meaning or something else associated with money for all of us.
I’ve written about my financial philosophy in the past but have never explained what is behind those and for a long time I maybe didn’t really know.
Personally, there are many things that keep me “hungry” when it comes to building a bigger business, a better and more efficient portfolio and in the end more income. The more obvious reasons are security for myself and my friends, knowing that I could survive for some time if I lost my job, being able to do a grocery without always looking for the cheapest meal, going out with friends, etc. To me, having my house and car is not a luxury either and it’s something that I consider almost necessary.
Once all of those have been achieved, there are some other elements that I truly enjoy and get me motivated such as travelling abroad, a nicer car, being able to have weekends away with my wife, being able to buy nice presents for those I love, etc. I wouldn’t consider that any one of these is necessary and while money might not directly bring happiness, these are all things that bring me a (perhaps superficial) level of joy.
Like all of you I’m certain, I’ve grown a bit afraid of reading about pension plans from governments and companies. Promises are always great but we always find ourselves one bankruptcy away or one government policy change away from a very different level of life during our retirement. One of my biggest motivations is therefore being able to retire at an early age without depending on any institution to provide for me. Obviously I aspire to an active retirement with traveling, a house near a lake or the beach. It is still far away but I believe that early planning makes a world of difference. So yes I am already planning how much I will need to live my retirement!
“Money aside for kids”
I was lucky to always get support from my parents and help for my eduction, travel and giving me the necessary throughout my life. That was priceless and I fully intend on offering a similar level of support to my kids later on. There is a major difference between starting a career with no debt or having a 100k loan to pay back. It’s easy for me to get highly motivated when it comes to helping my family and if that is not enough motivation for someone, I’m not certain what would be.
The Ultimate Motivation: Giving more to charity
Finally, like most of us, I aspire to make a difference in our world, make it a better place even though by myself I have limited resources and time. To me, it is the ultimate motivation and I think the way I set up my finances this year has given me even more motivation. Since the year 2010 started, I have been giving a percentage of my income to charity. It goes directly into an account that has 2 purposes:
-finance all charity donations
-accumulate capital to create my own little “endowment”
Setting a percentage, as little as I could afford was key. While I have been helping out to some level, I can easily see how much more could be done if I could somehow increase that amount. Of course that can be done in two ways:
1-increase the percentage: the easiest way but it obviously has its limits and is not sustainable for very long
2-increase my income: this in my opinion is the best way to get it done and thus make a bigger contribution.
If you want to have added financial motivation, simply start giving to charity and make sure to get information about the impact that money has and how additional money could do even more.
What better motivation?
I recently read an article in Fortune Magazine about an initiative from Warren Buffet, Bill & Melinda Gates to get Billionaires to give away important portions of their fortunes to charity. Warren Buffet has already pledged to give away 99% of his net worth to charity through his life and after he dies. That will have a lifelong impact on countries, will save lives and improve the lives of millions of others. And while I cannot have as big of an impact, I truly believe that making a significant contribution to our society is the best motivation any one of us could ever find.
What motivates you to make and accumulate more money?
I know there are many different reasons and each of us have different backgrounds that define us but also define what we aspire to. Some want to make money because it is what helps them keep count and compare themselves like any other game. Others want to save because they do not want to ever live with debt or be dependant on anyone else. I would love to hear about your motivations!