9 Ways to be Financially Happier

by ChingFoo Lieu on 05/02/2014

Financial health affects all other areas in our lives because money is related to everything we deal with everyday in adult life. Debt, overdrawn accounts, rising prices of goods and too low income can interfere with the peace of mind we all strive to achieve.

This scenario is all too common. However, over the years I can testify to the original article here – 10 Habits of Financially Happy People (recommended to me by KS Lim) and have discovered how to be financially happier. These isn’t rocket science but it’s on how we perceive things. In most cases, it’s all about adopting smarter financial habits — something anyone can learn. This is my sharing from the original article.

1. I took steps to reach goals.

I agree that “Wanting to find your financial happiness is one thing; taking steps to achieve this is an entirely different story.”

I found it restless to be sitting there doing nothing or doing less than what I am paid to do (during my employment days). Some people tend to feel comfortable waiting for windfall or in local parlance – “durian runtuh”. Ain’t going to happen. From saving for marriage to house renovation, it took time & discipline to achieve that amount. It is still a relatively hefty sum (think big, and you might just end up exceeding expectation) but I set small daily/weekly/monthly financial goals. So it doesn’t look daunting. Setting small goals daily may sound like the antithesis of setting big goals but it gets your started, damnit. It’s simple really because setting large goals without setting small daily goals (which you can crush them with confidence) prevents you from getting started. How many of you experience this?

Pave your own path. Here’s the thing: if all you do is moan and complain about your finances, things may never change. Identify where you need to make improvements, and then create a realistic financial plan that works for you. If you need a little help, get a financial planner, preferably an independent one like me :)   If you lack discipline, he or she will also act as your accountability partner.

2. I am thrifty and have a budget.

I am well aware that there are limits to what I can do — financially speaking. Like anyone, I enjoy instant gratification and going on vacations whenever I like. But this isn’t the reality, damnit. Got to condition that freaking urge inside the mind.

And knowing that running a business requires fixed expenses every month, even though I don’t have to service any business loans. Got to ensure that is covered as well.

3. I pay credit balances and maintain good credit.

Being financially happy starts with being financially responsible. It’s the truth. I am aware the dangers of credit cards to extend my spending limit and the importance of good credit standing. I only use them as method of payment and pay off the balance each month.

4. I plan for unforeseen financial circumstances.

It may look as if financially happy people have zero financial worries. But I know that misfortune can happen at anytime, and I take steps to protect myself and family against unforeseen events, whenever I can.

For example, having a life insurance of half a million is really common nowadays to protect spouse and children in the event of an untimely death. Not to mention a cash reserve as backup in a financial crisis. Result? Better peace of mind.

5. I don’t define success by the size of my investment or bank accounts.

Well, I thought I work pretty hard to care for myself and family, but I realize early that while lack of money will surely affect my happiness – after a certain threshold, happiness and success isn’t necessarily determined by the number of zeros in my bank accounts. Yes, it is a valid form of measurement BUT it is not the sole way of basing success on a dollar amount, as this type of thinking may trigger dissatisfaction. I agree on the statement that - “Financial happiness comes from knowing that you on the right path and making responsible choices with your money.”

financially happy be at peace

6. I am grateful for what they have every single day.

I live within my means and ignore the temptation to keep up with everybody else. Every morning, I just adopt the habit of listing down 3 things I am grateful for – it’s the same routine before I sleep. Keeps you grounded and happier. Income levels vary and I realize that keeping up with the Joneses can bring more pains than joy.

7. I control impulse spending.

I am just everyone – prone to impulse spending. But if we know our weakness, that is a good starting point to improve, yes? Impulsive spending can bust budgets and drain finances. A person who’s financially happy doesn’t shop on a whim and know that this is the faster way “not” to reach financial goals. I typically plan any big purchases.

8. I haven’t avoided retirement planning.

If you’re in your 20s or early 30s, retirement planning may be the farthest thing from your mind. But to be financially happy in later years, I realize need to start now.

Retirement planning isn’t something to avoid until I am in 40′s. Agreed that – “The age that you start preparing dictates your quality of life in retirement.”

I like to think long-term and I know that any financial decisions today have a major impact on my financial well being in the future.

9. I persevere

Even with a good financial plan, setbacks can happen. Life likes to throw us a curve ball. Losing a job, being retrenched, starting a business and living off savings can wipe out everything I’ve stashed away earlier. And unexpected bills or illnesses can delay goals, such as paying off  mortgage and retire early. However, I know that shit happens and with encouragement and support from the ones closest yo you, I should not quickly throw in the towel. I believe in comebacks and will do whatever it takes ethically to reach my long term goals.

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Chong February 7, 2014 at 6:38 pm

Great article. I agree wholeheartedly with everything you’ve said. Additionally, I place health as my measurement of success. Not to mention positive relationships with family and friends.

Reply

ChingFoo Lieu February 10, 2014 at 10:57 pm

Thanks and I agree that it’s just a matter of time before anyone realize what you’ve just said Chong

Reply

Steve Lye February 7, 2014 at 3:58 pm

Another excellent article Lieu. Keep it up. :)

BTW – I practice all 9 of the above. It has been my discipline for a good many years – perhaps even decades.

Cheers.

Reply

ChingFoo Lieu February 10, 2014 at 10:58 pm

Thanks Steve!, always great to have your comments!

Reply

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